Meal/Diet Planning For Type 2 Diabetes With The Plate Method

One of the things many newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetics struggle with is meal planning.  Logging everything eaten and counting carbs can be a bit overwhelming for the new diabetic.  Since most Type 2 diabetics are able to manage their diabetes without insulin, counting the exact number of carbohydrates they consume is not as important as it is for Type 1 diabetics.  The slightly more relaxed meal planning for Type 2 diabetics allows doctors to start many on the diabetic meal plan known as the plate method.

The plate method is a simple way for Type 2 diabetics to estimate their carb intake by eating certain portion sizes based on a percentage of a regular sized dinner plate.  By not having newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetics follow a strict carb counting diet, doctors are able to ease them into new eating habits and leave them feeling a little less overwhelmed.

The Strategy

  • Breakfast – using a dinner sized plate, fill half the plate with starches and the remaining half with fruit and lean cuts of protein.
  • Lunch – using the same sized plate; fill half the plate with non-starch vegetables and the other half with starches and lean protein.
  • Dinner – follow the same plan as lunch.

During your lunch and dinner meals, you should add low-fat milk and a serving of fruit.  Your doctor will likely advise you to eat at least two snacks, and likely three, throughout the day.  Try to keep your snacks in line with the percentages in the meals above; this will help keep your blood sugar regulated throughout the day.  Naturally, your snacks will not be as large as your primary meals, so the total amount of food should fall significantly short of filling a dinner plate.


  • Bread
  • English muffin or bagel
  • Rice or pasta
  • Oatmeal or unsweetened cereal
  • White and sweet potatoes (baked or mashed)
  • Peas, baked beans, or corn

Non-Starch Vegetables

  • Tomatoes
  • Salad greens
  • Cucumber
  • Carrots
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Green beans

Lean Proteins

  • Skinless chicken or turkey
  • Lean cuts of beef (flank, tenderloin, sirloin, ground round, or round cuts)
  • Pork – lean cuts of pork include ham, center loin chops, or tenderloin
  • Fish – most any fish is a healthy choice, though cod, flounder, halibut, tuna, and salmon are among some of the best.
  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • Cheeses
  • Low-fat peanut butter

As far as your fruit and milk categories, any kind of fruit will suffice and when choosing milk it is always best to choose the lowest fat option available.

The above list is only a sampling of the types of foods you will need to categorize when using the Plate Method as your diabetic meal plan.  If your doctor or dietician recommends using the Plate Method, they will go over a much more thorough categorization of food types.

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