How This Helps

Type 2 Diabetes is a disease of insulin resistance. This means that insulin, the key that allows sugar to enter the cells for energy use, no longer functions properly. The number one culprit in this dysfunction is fat, mainly from animal products. Fat in the muscle cells blocks the lock-and-key action of insulin so sugar cannot enter the cell. This leads to elevated blood sugar levels. Research shows that by decreasing the amount of fat in the diet, insulin begins to function optimally once again.1

Science and Research

All available research points to the best possible diet for type 2 diabetes being a whole food, plant based diet and meal plan with minimal added fats. This means focusing more on whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds in your meal plan and less on animal foods such as meat, dairy, fish and eggs. You could also look at this as a low-fat, high fiber meal plan for diabetes type 2. When compared head-to-head with the standard diet recommended by the American Diabetes Association, a whole food, plant based diet led to three times greater improvements in blood sugar control.2

Note: The benefits of this way of eating do not require counting carbohydrates or calories. For that reason, this meal plan is not set for a particular calorie count. With the exception of limiting peanut butter and olive oil to less than 2 tablespoons, you are encouraged to eat until satisfied.

Sample Type 2 Diabetes Meal Plan ideas are listed below.

Breakfast: Southwest Tofu Scramble

This is a great way to start the day strong with a good dose of vegetables. By using tofu instead of eggs, you decrease the fat and cholesterol content of your meal and help to improve insulin function (make sure to go light on the olive oil, too!). Research has found that individuals who eat fewer eggs are at less of a risk for developing type 2 diabetes. 

Serving size: 1/2 recipe, Calories: 252, Fat: 19g, Saturated fat: 3g, Carbohydrates: 12.7g Sugar: 2.5g, Sodium: 516mg, Fiber: 3g Protein: 12g

Snack: Dried Apricots

Apricots are a powerhouse of nutrients and also happen to be very high in fiber. They’re a great option for diabetics. If you have uncontrolled diabetes, be sure to combine the apricots with a handful of nuts to prevent unwanted blood sugar spikes in planning your meals. 

Calories 10, Fat 0g , Saturated Fat 0g , Cholesterol 0g, Protein 1g , Carbohydrate 23g , Sugar 21g , Fiber 3g , Sodium 15mg 

Lunch: Bean Salad

Legumes are probably the most important food for a diabetic to eat due to the protein-fiber combination. In one study, a group of participants were given beans for dinner while the comparison group was not. Both were given sugar water the next morning. Those who had beans for dinner showed a smaller blood sugar spike than those who did not eat beans for dinner. The effect of eating beans was significant, even 12 hours after eating them! 4 I would highly suggest that you include beans on weekly basis for type 2 diabetes meal plan.

Per serving (2-cups): 166 calories; 6 g fat; 1 g saturated fat; 29.2% calories from fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 18.8 g protein; 62 g carbohydrate; 5.8 g sugar; 16 g fiber; 1078 mg sodium

Snack: Apples and Peanut Butter

This is a great go-to snack. Apples are full of fiber and phytonutrients. By adding peanut butter to them, you also get a great source of protein and fat which slow the rate that sugar is absorbed into your blood.  

Calories 220, Fat 16g , Saturated fat 2.5g, Cholesterol 0g, Protein 8g , Carbohydrate 25, Sugar 12g, Fiber 6g, Sodium 65mg 

Dinner: Lentil Artichoke Stew

This is a hardy and satisfying low-fat dish. Lentils and Artichokes are both great sources of fiber and the tomatoes provide a great boost of vitamin C. Serve this over a bed of brown rice, quinoa or whole grain pasta. 

Serving Size: 1/3rd of recipe - 352 calories, 2 g fat, 0.2 g saturated fat, 10% calories from fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 23.4 g protein, 68.6 g carbohydrate, 15 g sugar, 20 g fiber, 1020 mg sodium

1. Hinsworth HP. J Physiol (Lond). 1934;81(1):29-48. 

2. Barnard ND, Cohen J, Jenkins DJ, et al. Diabetes Care. 2006;29(8):1777-83. 

3. Djoussé L, Gaziano JM, Buring JE, Lee I. 

4. R. C. Mollard, C. L. Wong, B. L. Luhovyy, G. H. Anderson.  Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 2011 36(5):634 - 642

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