Skip to Main Content

Food & Fitness

Donate Today!

FREE Diabetes Support

Enroll in Living With Type 2 Diabetes On Your Cell Phone

Receive info, recipes,
tips and reminders from Care4life when you enroll in the Living With Type 2 Diabetes program for free.

Create Your Plate


Often, when people are diagnosed with diabetes, they don't know where to begin. One way is to change the amount of food you are already eating. Focus on filling your plate with non-starchy vegetables and having smaller portions of starchy foods and meats.

Creating your plate is an easy way to get started with managing blood glucose levels.

You don't need any special tools or have to do any counting. It's simple and effective—draw an imaginary line on your plate, select your foods, and enjoy your meal!

Once you've changed your portion sizes, you can work on making healthier food choices from each food group.


Six Easy Steps to Create Your Plate

It's simple and effective for both managing diabetes and losing weight. Creating your plate lets you still choose the foods you want, but changes the portion sizes so you are getting larger portions of non-starchy vegetables and a smaller portion of starchy foods. When you are ready, you can try new foods within each food category.

Try these six simple steps to get started:

  1. Using your dinner plate, put a line down the middle of the plate. Then on one side, cut it again so you will have 3 sections on your plate.
  2. Fill the largest section with non-starchy vegetables such as:
    • spinach, carrots, lettuce, greens, cabbage, bok choy
    • green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes,
    • vegetable juice, salsa, onion, cucumber, beets, okra,
    • mushrooms, peppers, turnip
  3. Now in one of the small sections, put starchy foods such as:
    • whole grain breads, such as whole wheat or rye
    • whole grain, high-fiber cereal
    • cooked cereal such as oatmeal, grits, hominy or cream of wheat
    • rice, pasta, dal, tortillas
    • cooked beans and peas, such as pinto beans or black-eyed peas
    • potatoes, green peas, corn, lima beans, sweet potatoes, winter squash
    • low-fat crackers and snack chips, pretzels and fat-free popcorn
  4. And then on the other small section, put your protein such as:
    • chicken or turkey without the skin
    • fish such as tuna, salmon, cod or catfish
    • other seafood such as shrimp, clams, oysters, crab or mussels
    • lean cuts of beef and pork such as sirloin or pork loin
    • tofu, eggs, low-fat cheese
  5. Add an 8 oz glass of non-fat or low-fat milk. If you don't drink milk, you can add another small serving of carb such as a 6 oz. container of light yogurt or a small roll.
  6. Add a piece of fruit or a 1/2 cup fruit salad and you have your meal planned. Examples are fresh, frozen, or canned in juice or frozen in light syrup or fresh fruit.

Want to learn even more? Check out the special meal planning bundle available at shopdiabetes.org.



Last Reviewed: August 1, 2013
Last Edited: August 9, 2013

Click to Chat With an Online Representative


Stay in Touch with Us

Sign up for the latest news on diabetes research, food and fitness, and opportunities to support the American Diabetes Association.

Hassle-Free Recipes

Book - Smart Shopper 72x72

Over 150 recipes to get you out of the store in a snap!

Income Dev Evergreen 250x250

Ask a Dietitian

Forecast - Eating Expersts

How a nutrition expert can jump-start your healthy-eating plan.

Powered by Convio
nonprofit software