Sample meal plans

Breakfast

Breakfast examples with four carbohydrate choices:

  • 1 slice toast = 1 carbohydrate choice
  • 1/2 cup hot cereal = 1 carbohydrate choice
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1/2 medium banana = 1 carbohydrate
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) skim milk = 1 carbohydrate choice
  • coffee or tea
  • 1 (4-inch) pancake = 1 carbohydrate choice
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of light syrup = 1 carbohydrate choice
  • 1 cup melon or berries = 1 carbohydrate choice
  • 1 cup skim milk = 1 carbohydrate choice
  • 1 teaspoon margarine
  • coffee or tea
  • 1 1/2 cups dry, unsweetened cereal with 1 cup skim milk = 3 carbohydrate choices
  • 1/2 cup orange juice = 1 carbohydrate choice
  • coffee or tea

Lunch

Lunch examples with four carbohydrate choices.

  • 1 hamburger bun = 2 carbohydrate choices
  • 1 small hamburger
  • 1 teaspoon mayonnaise
  • green salad
  • 1 tablespoon salad dressing
  • 1 apple = 1 carbohydrate choice
  • 1 cup skim milk = 1 carbohydrate choice
  • 1 cup soup (broth-based with rice, noodles or navy beans) = 1 carbohydrate choice
  • 1 sandwich (2 slices of bread, 2 oz. low-fat meat, 1 tablespoon light mayonnaise) = 2 carbohydrate choices
  • 1 cup cantaloupe cubes = 1 carbohydrate choice
  • coffee, tea or diet soda (pop)
  • 3 slices thin crust medium-sized cheese pizza = 3 carbohydrate choices
  • lettuce salad with 2 tablespoon low calorie salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup frozen yogurt = 1 carbohydrate choice
  • coffee, tea or diet soda (pop)

Dinner

Dinner examples with four carbohydrate choices.

  • 1 pork chop
  • 1 small baked potato = 2 carbohydrate choices
  • 1 teaspoon margarine
  • 1/2 cup coleslaw = 1 carbohydrate choice
  • 1 cup watermelon cubes = 1 carbohydrate choice
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) skim milk = 1 carbohydrate choice
  • 3 meatballs with 1/2 cup sauce = 1 carbohydrate choice
  • 2/3 cup pasta = 2 carbohydrate choices
  • green salad with 1 tablespoon dressing
  • 1 cup strawberries = 1 carbohydrate choice
  • coffee, tea or diet soda (pop)
  • 1 cup stir fry (meat, sauce and vegetables) = 1 carbohydrate choice
  • 2/3 cup steamed rice = 2 carbohydrate choices
  • 1/2 cup low-fat ice cream = 1 carbohydrate choice
  • coffee, tea or diet soda (pop)

Snack examples

These examples of snack options have 1 to 2 carbohydrate choices.

  • 1 piece fresh fruit = 1 to 2 carbohydrate choices
  • 1 cup skim milk and 3 graham crackers = 2 carbohydrate choices
  • 6 ounces artificially sweetened yogurt = 1 carbohydrate choice
  • 1 (3-inch) cookie = 1 carbohydrate choice
  • 3 cups bag microwave light popcorn = 1 carbohydrate choice
  • 1 granola bar (15 to 20 carbohydrate grams) = 1 carbohydrate choice
  • 15 mini pretzel twists = 1 carbohydrate choice

Meal plan: What to remember

  • Enjoy your favorite foods in moderation.
  • Eat some carbohydrates at each meal.
  • Eat your regular meals at about the same time each day.
  • Do not skip meals.
  • Have a meal or snack every 4 to 6 hours while you are awake.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Basic Skills for Living with Diabetes, sixth edition
First Published: 11/27/2006
Last Reviewed: 01/09/2015