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Think big, start small

chopping strawberries

Some tweaks here and there can help you improve your diabetes meal planning and reach your healthy eating goals.

For many of us, one of the biggest challenges with diabetes is changing the way we eat. Our foods are a part of our history and culture. Our tastes are part of what makes us unique.

So when you make lifestyle changes, remember that you can still eat many foods that you love. You may just need to adjust how much or how often you eat them based on their effect on your blood glucoseBlood glucoseThe main sugar found in the blood, and the body’s main source of energy..

But I hate dieting!

Meal planning is very different from dieting. Dieting is short-term. Meal planning is a way of life with a long-term goal—managing your diabetes.

The goals of a healthy meal plan are:

weight scale
  • Keeping your blood glucose within your goal range
  • Managing your weight
  • Reducing your risk of diabetes-related health problems

Your family can help out

Focus on 1 or 2 small changes at a time. For example, if you eat fast food at lunch because you're in a hurry, try bringing a healthier meal from home. Maybe you can walk in place during the commercial break when you watch TV.

Healthy eating is good for everyone, not just people who are living with diabetes. So, it can be helpful to ask your family or others you live with to eat better with you. When everyone is following a healthy meal plan, you can support each other.

If you slip, get back on track

If you go off your plan, don’t sweat it. Just get back on track as quickly as you can with more determination! Talk to your diabetes care teamDiabetes care teamYour diabetes care team may include a primary care doctor, a diabetes and hormone doctor (endocrinologist), a registered nurse, a diabetes educator, a dietitian, a heart doctor (cardiologist), a foot doctor (podiatrist), an eye doctor (ophthalmologist/optometrist), a kidney doctor (nephrologist), a dentist, a pharmacist, and a mental health professional. if you are concerned about sticking to your meal plan.

Overcoming other healthy eating challenges

piggy bank
packages of nuts
restaurant menu
  • Save money by adding whole grains, fresh fruits, and fresh vegetables to your plan instead of food labeled “low fat.” Also, cut down on meats, processed or prepared foods, and sugary or salty snacks—not just for your health, but also because they often cost more. Be sure to read those food labels too!
  • Eat smaller portions of the foods you love or swap ingredients with a low-fat, low-sugar substitute.
  • Plan when you’re going to be eating away from home. You may need to eat a snack before you leave home. If you take insulin, you may need to adjust the time of your injections. Look for healthy menu options or ask for a substitute. Share a meal with a friend to help you get the right portion size.

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