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Adjusting the Meal Plan

Our meal plans are developed based on the American Diabetes Association's general nutrition guidelines. These guidelines are a great starting point, however, your should still talk to your healthcare team about setting up a meal plan that fits your individual needs. Our One Day Meal Plan may not exactly fit those needs, so we've provided some tips to adjust carbohydrates and calories below.

A Larger Lunch and a Lighter Dinner

You probably noticed in this month's meal plan that the lunch meal is somewhat larger and heavier than dinner. This is typical of Mediterranean cuisine. If you would like to, you can switch these meals to have the Salmon entrée and sides during dinner time and the Mozzarella, Tomato, and Chickpea salad for a lighter lunch.

Lowering the Amount of Carbohydrates

Your healthcare provider may ask you to limit carbohydrates more than our meal plan suggests. This means you may need to take out some carbohydrate foods completely. You can also substitute lean protein or healthy fats for some of the carbohydrate foods in the meal plan.

To lower carbohydrate intake and keep total calories for the day about the same (make carbohydrate closer to 40% of calories), make the following adjustments to our original meal plan:

  • Substitute your bowl of cereal and milk at breakfast for an omelet made with:
    • 1 whole egg plus one egg white
    • ¼ cup chopped tomatoes
    • ¼ cup chopped onions
    • ½ garlic clove
    • 1 ounce part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • Decrease portion size of steamed sugar snap peas at lunch from 1 cup to ½ cup
  • Omit the carrots from your afternoon snack
  • Omit the whole wheat pita bread and tzatziki sauce at dinner and replace with 1 cup of cooked cauliflower
  • Top Mozzarella, Tomato, and Chickpea Salad with 2 ounces of grilled chicken breast strips

Cutting and Adding Calories

Depending on whether you are trying to lose, gain, or maintain your weight, you may have different calorie needs as well. Here are some ideas for adjusting our One Day Meal Plan. It may be easier than you think!

To cut 200 calories:

  • Omit the peach in during lunch time. (This saves about 60 calories)
  • Skip the hummus in your afternoon snack. (This saves about 140 calories)

To add 200 calories:

  • At lunch, increase your portion size of Herb and Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes to ¾ cup. (This adds about 60 calories)
  • At dinner, add 3 ounces of grilled chicken breast to the Mozzarella, Tomato, and Chickpea Salad. (This adds about 140 calories)

How Many Calories?

Calculate the number of calories you should eat each day to maintain your present body weight:

Please select an option before you continue.
Calculate My Calories

I don't do any physical activity other than what I need to do for my usual activities, such as going to work or school, grocery shopping, or doing chores around the house.

I do some moderate exercise every day in addition to doing my usual activities. For example, I walk about 1.5 to 3 miles a day at about 3 to 4 miles an hour. Or I do something else that's moderately active.

I am very active every day in addition to doing my usual activities. For example, I walk more than 3 miles a day at about 3 to 4 miles an hour. Or I do something else that's very active.

How Many Calories?

This number estimates how many calories you should eat per day to keep your body weight where it is now.

If you want to lose weight, you may need fewer calories. You should talk with your health care team for more personalized recommendations, but this calculator can help to get you started.

Calculate My Calories

*Estimates are rounded to the nearest 200 calories. An individual's calorie needs may be higher or lower than these average estimates. Developed from the 2010 US Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

A Mediterranean Meal Plan

September's meal plan features traditional foods from the Mediterranean region that are heart-healthy and delicious.

See Meal Plan

About Our Meal Plans

Learn about the nutrition guidelines we follow to create our one-day meal plans.

Read More