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A man and a woman stand smiling in front of their stove while cooking ground meat and chopping tomatoes.

3 meal planning tips to manage diabetes

Nutrition Concern

Meal planning is a secret weapon for managing diabetes. It can keep you on track when life gets in the way by helping you know what and when you’re going to eat. While it can seem overwhelming, we’ve broken it down into three simple steps.

1. Plan

Start with focusing on your main meals (e.g., dinner). Try only planning a few days at a time when you’re getting started. Brainstorm with your family simple meals you enjoy. If those meals are already balanced, then give yourself a pat on the back. For many meals, simply adding more veggies, frozen or fresh, or a salad can help you reach a goal of ½ of the plate being vegetables.

2. Shop

Use your meal plan to do an inventory of what you already have on hand at home and make a list of the items you’ll need. A well-stocked pantry, freezer, and fridge can simplify the shopping experience so try making use of apps or lists to help keep the basic items you need on hand. When at the store, learning to read labels can help you choose healthy options.

3. Prepare

When you get home from the store, wash and dry any produce and consider prepping it ahead of time. Any meal prep you can do ahead will make busy weeknights easier. When it comes to meal prep, enlist other people in your household and try to make it as enjoyable as possible. Pour yourself a nice glass of sparkling water and put some relaxing music on.

These tips scratch the surface of how to mean plan. Working with a registered dietitian can help you with meal ideas, strategies for your lifestyle challenges, shopping guidance, recipes, and ways to prepare meals you’ll enjoy.

Our dietitians can develop personalized recommendations to help you on your nutrition journey and make managing your diabetes easier.


Article content created based on the 2018 Clinical Practice Guidelines: Nutrition Therapy from Diabetes Canada.

The information provided is for personal use, reference and education only and is not intended to be a substitute for a Physician’s advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your healthcare professional for specific information on personal health matters.

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