Best Prediabetes Meal Plan with Recipes
In this article:
- You can often control or resolve prediabetes with healthy lifestyle choices, such as losing extra weight, eating healthy foods, and being physically active.
- Foods on the best prediabetes meal plan are filling and nutritious, so they support weight control. They are also linked to lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- This prediabetes meal plan includes a week's worth of suggestions for healthy foods. You can add snacks and tweak it as you want! Check out the healthy recipes, too.
- Lark can help you eat a healthy diet to prevent or delay diabetes. Log your meals with Lark, and keep logging into the app, to get more personalized coaching for weight loss and for forming healthy habits to prevent diabetes.
A diagnosis of prediabetes can be a call to action. It's alarming because it means you are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. But you can use your diagnosis as motivation to make healthier choices. For example, losing extra pounds and improving your diet can lower blood sugar and prevent or delay the onset of diabetes.
The best prediabetes meal plan is high in foods and nutrients that can help you lose weight and lower blood sugar. It's low in components that are linked to weight gain and higher blood sugar. Here is what to include on a meal plan to prevent diabetes, including a sample meal plan for a week.
Prediabetic Diet Foods
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says you can make small changes to lower risk for diabetes. That's what the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) is about, and that's what Lark DPP can help you do!
The CDC and Lark say to eat more of these items to lose weight and lower diabetes risk.
- Vegetables, especially non-starchy ones such as salad greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, eggplant, zucchini, carrots, spinach, broccoli, and mushrooms.
- Lean proteins, such as beans, fish, egg whites, tofu, non-fat yogurt, and skinless chicken.
- Fresh fruit.
- Whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole-wheat sliced bread and other bread products, brown rice, whole-grain pasta, popcorn, and whole-grain cereal.
- Healthy fats, such as nuts, seeds, and olive oil.
Lark and the CDC also suggest limiting these items.
- Processed meats, such as bacon, hot dogs, sausages, and luncheon meat.
- Packaged snack foods, such as chips, cookies, granola bars, and candy.
- Fast food and fried foods, such as French fries, burgers, tacos, fried chicken, and pizza.
- Sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soft drinks, sports drinks, and fruit juice.
- Alcoholic beverages.
The Standards of Care from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) says that people who eat fewer processed foods have a lower risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. In addition, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans say that over 90% of American adults' diets are low in dietary fiber. You can get fiber from foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, or beans, peas, and lentils.
One-Week Prediabetes Meal Plan
Here is a suggested meal plan to put those ideas into practice. Each meal in this plan has about 30 grams of nutritious carbohydrates. This is a moderately low amount. It can help with weight loss and health.
This plan has about 1200 calories per day. Some people may need more than that. If you do, you can add snacks from our Healthy Snack List. No worries if you don't like something in the plan. Just make a Healthy Swap!
Here are a few more points before you start.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Aim for at least 64 ounces.
- The portions in the meal plan are guidelines per person, but you can make bigger batches if you want leftovers or to feed your family.
- Include some physical activity, as long as your healthcare provider supports it. A good goal for most people is at least 150 minutes per week.
Most importantly, talk to your doctor before starting any new meal plan or exercise program, and about any health concerns.
Breakfast 4 scrambled egg whites with ½ cup cooked brown rice, cooked diced vegetables, and 1 ounce of fat-free shredded cheese
Salad with spring or other greens, 3 oz. cooked shrimp, ½ cup of grape tomatoes, ½ cup of bell pepper slices, sliced red onion, ½ cup of raspberries, and dressing with 2 teaspoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, black pepper, pressed garlic, and 1 oz. of grated low-fat parmesan cheese.
3 oz. of skinless chicken breast stewed with ½ cup onion slices, ½ cup artichoke hearts or mushrooms, dijon mustard, white wine, and low-sodium bouillon, served over ½ cup cooked quinoa or other whole grain
¾ cup of grapes
⅓ cup rolled oats cooked in water, mixed with ⅓ cup pumpkin puree, 2 tablespoons chopped nuts, and ½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 low-fat string cheese stick or hard-boiled egg
Burrito bowl with 3 oz. cooked chicken with Mexican seasoning, ½ cup low-sodium black beans, ½ cup diced tomatoes, 1 cup cooked vegetables such as sliced onions, bell peppers, or zucchini, and ⅓ medium avocado, topped with non-fat yogurt and cilantro
Tilapia baked in foil with garlic, cumin, lime juice, and chili powder, topped with black beans, served with Mexican Style Cauliflower Rice (recipe below)
Small whole-grain tortilla or wrap with 2 tablespoons peanut butter and ½ banana, thinly sliced
Small whole-wheat pita spread with 2 tablespoons hummus, stuffed with diced cucumber, shredded carrots, and 3 ounces cooked skinless chicken breast or fish
⅙ serving of Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole (recipe below)
Parfait with 4 ounces of plain non-fat yogurt layered with ⅓ cup of sliced peaches (or other fruit) and ¼ cup of plain Cheerios. Repeat the layers and top with 2 tablespoons of chopped peanuts.
Salad with ⅓ cup cooked quinoa, ½ cup low-sodium canned navy or other beans, ½ 5-ounce can of tuna, ½ cup cooked broccoli florets, 1 cup chopped spinach, diced onion, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of olive oil, and fresh basil
Pizza casserole with ¼ cup cooked diced onions, ½ cup cooked sliced mushrooms, ¼ cup cooked sliced green pepper, ½ cup cooked whole-wheat penne, ½ cup marinara sauce, 2 ounces fat-free mozzarella cheese
1 whole-wheat English muffin with 1 cooked egg, tomato, and 1 ounce low-fat cheese, with 1 small pear.
Chicken noodle soup with 1 ounce of whole-grain spaghetti, 1 cup of vegetables, and 3 ounces of cooked, skinless chicken per serving
½ frozen banana, slightly thawed
3 ounces of salmon brushed with a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and basil, and baked with sliced onions and zucchini, topped with 1 ounce feta cheese, served with ½ cup of brown rice
1 whole-grain waffle with ½ cup fat-free cottage cheese, 2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds, and ½ cup cut fruit
Salad with ½ cup low-sodium garbanzo beans mixed with 1 chopped hard-boiled egg, ½ cup chopped tomato, ½ cup cooked green beans, diced onion, 2 tablespoons sliced olives, 2 tablespoons light vinaigrette
Spiralized zucchini (or carrots or spaghetti squash) tossed with 3 ounces of cooked shrimp or skinless breast, ½ cup of marinara sauce, and 1 ounce of low-fat parmesan cheese, served with 1 to 2 slices of homemade garlic toast with 2 teaspoons of olive oil, garlic, and Italian herbs
⅓ cup of dry rolled oats cooked in water, topped with 1 hard or soft-boiled egg, ⅓ avocado, ½ cup of strawberries, and 1 ounce of feta cheese
1 small baked sweet potato with broccoli florets, fat-free plain yogurt, chives, and sun-dried tomatoes or cooked bell peppers or mushrooms
1 cup cut fresh fruit with 2 tablespoons of chopped nuts
Meatloaf made with lean ground turkey or meatless ground beef substitute, whole-wheat breadcrumbs or oats, onions, mushrooms, and shredded carrots or grated zucchini or eggplant.
Mexican-Style Cauliflower Rice
This is a great swap for high-carb regular rice. You can use it in burritos in whole-grain tortillas, as a side dish with fish or another lean protein, as a base for rice and beans, or in a burrito bowl. It tastes delicious topped with melted shredded low-fat cheese!
You can use bagged fresh or frozen riced cauliflower, or make your own by gently pulsing the florets from a head of cauliflower in a food processor. If you make your own cauliflower rice, add it with the bell pepper and tomatoes, and let it cook for longer before adding the other ingredients.
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 2 10-ounce bags of riced cauliflower
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 3 roma tomatoes, chopped
- Optional jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped, for spicy heat
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons of lime juice
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 cup of low-sodium broth
- 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon of oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
- 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro, for serving
- Lime wedges, for serving
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the garlic, onion, and jalapeno if using, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they start to soften, stirring occasionally.
- Add the tomatoes and bell pepper, and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower rice and tomato paste, and stir well to incorporate the tomato paste into the cauliflower rice. Stir in the broth, lime juice, and spices. Heat until the rice is warm or cooked.
- Serve with cilantro and/or lime wedges, if desired.
Tuna Casserole with Whole-Wheat Penne
Tuna casserole can be healthy when you use whole-grain pasta and add lots of vegetables. You can add whatever you like, such as spinach, asparagus tips, green beans, or broccoli florets. This is a good recipe for using up leftover pasta. You can also change it into chicken, shrimp, or salmon noodle casserole instead of tuna.
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 8 ounces of mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon of thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup of frozen peas, thawed
- 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk
- 3 tablespoons of whole-wheat flour
- 1/2 cup of low-sodium broth
- 2 cups of cooked al dente whole-wheat penne or other whole-wheat pasta
- 2 5-ounce cans of tuna
- 1 cup of shredded low-fat or non-fat cheddar cheese
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the onion and mushrooms, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until they start to soften. Stir in the thyme, salt, and pepper. Remove the onions and mushrooms from the pan and set them aside.
- In the same skillet, heat the milk. Slowly add the flour, whisking away any lumps. Heat the mixture and continue to whisk and heat until the mixture starts to thicken. Add in the broth. Stir in the cheddar cheese, pasta, tuna, and peas.
- Pour the mixture into a pan and bake for 30 minutes.
If you have prediabetes or borderline diabetes, eating healthy foods and losing weight can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. It doesn't need to take big changes. Even small changes can make a big difference.
Lark helps you establish habits to lose weight and eat well. With Lark, you can work towards your health goals by making small changes that fit into your lifestyle. Lark offers tips, tracking, instant feedback, and friendly suggestions. Your personal Lark coach is available 24/7 through your smartphone so you can get expert tips, track meals, physical activity, and weight loss.
The entire program may be available at no cost to you if your health insurer covers it. Click here to find out if you may be eligible for Lark! You could be minutes away from taking the first steps to hitting your weight loss goals and improving health.