Diabetes: Sample Menus and Portions for 1200, 1500, 1800, and 2000 Calorie Diets

The menus offered here are sample menus for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks that you can use to help you follow a daily diet of 1200, 1500, 1800, or 2000 calories. The portion or serving sizes for starch, fruit, milk, fat, vegetables, and meat on each menu, and in the food lists that follow the menus, have similar amounts of calories, protein, carbohydrate, and fat. You can trade or substitute foods from each food list for other foods in the same list because they all have a similar nutritional value. For example, you could trade a piece of toast for 1/2 cup of cereal because they both equal 1 serving of starch.

The menus list the number of servings for each food group for a 1,500-calorie daily diet.

  • The 1500-calorie daily meal plan contains an average of:
    • 7 servings of starch a day
    • 3 servings of fruit a day
    • 2 servings of milk a day
    • 5 to 6 servings of meat a day
    • 4 servings of fat day.
  • To change the menus to fit a 1,200-calorie diet, your daily servings for each food group should be:
    • 5 servings of starch
    • 3 servings of fruit
    • 2 servings of milk
    • 4 to 5 servings of meat
    • 3 servings of fat.
  • To change the menus to fit a 1,800-calorie diet, your daily servings for each food group should be:
    • 8 servings of starch
    • 4 servings of fruit
    • 3 servings of milk
    • 6 servings of meat
    • 4 servings of fat.
  • To change the menus to fit a 2,000-calorie diet, your daily servings for each food group should be:
    • 9 servings of starch
    • 4 servings of fruit
    • 3 servings of milk
    • 7 servings of meat
    • 6 servings of fat.

Remember, as you add starches, fruit, and milk servings to menus, the goal is to not have more than 4 servings of these carbohydrate-based foods at any 1 meal.

Sample menus for 1500-calorie diet



Breakfast Menu 1 



Servings           Amount          Food Item

------------------------------------------------------------------

2 starches          1 cup         whole-grain cereal

1 milk              1 cup         fat-free milk

1 fruit             1/2           banana

Free                Free          water, coffee, tea

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Breakfast Menu 2 



Servings           Amount               Food Item

------------------------------------------------------------------

2 starches         2 slices           whole wheat toast

1 fat              1 tablespoon       light margarine

1 fruit            1/4                cantaloupe

1 meat             1                  egg

                   or 2               egg whites

                   or 1/4 cup         egg substitute

Free               Free               water, coffee, tea

------------------------------------------------------------------





Midmorning Snack 

Note: The need to eat a midmorning snack depends on your preference 

and blood sugar levels. It is usually OK to move a snack into the 

meal preceding it.



Servings            Amount               Food Item

------------------------------------------------------------------

1 milk                 1 cup          100-calorie, fat-free or

                                        low-fat yogurt

2 fat (to be used     12              sliced almonds

with menu 1 only)

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Lunch Menu 1 with Sandwich 



Servings           Amount             Food Item

------------------------------------------------------------------

2 starches         2 slices         whole grain bread

2 to 3 meats       2 to 3 ounces    low-salt turkey breast

1 fat              2 tablespoons    light mayonnaise

1 fruit            1 cup            berries

Free               Free             lettuce and tomato

Free               Free             water, coffee, tea, diet drink

------------------------------------------------------------------





Lunch Menu 2 with Chicken Salad 



Servings          Amount          Food Item

------------------------------------------------------------------

1 starch          10             low-fat croutons

1 starch           1 small        dinner roll

2 to 3 meats       2 to 3 ounces  grilled or baked skinless

                                    chicken slices

2 fats             4 tablespoons  light dressing

1 fruit            1 medium       apple slices for salad

Free               Free           salad greens with tomato

Free               Free           water, coffee, tea, diet drink

------------------------------------------------------------------





Afternoon Snack* 

Note: The need to eat an afternoon snack depends on your preference 

and blood sugar levels. It is usually OK to move a snack into the 

meal preceding it.



Servings          Amount          Food Item

------------------------------------------------------------------

1 fruit           15              grapes

   or              1              orange

------------------------------------------------------------------





Dinner Menus 1 



Servings          Amount          Food Item

------------------------------------------------------------------

2 starches and

  2 meats          1 cup          chili with beans

Free               2 cups         green salad

1 fat              2 tablespoons  light dressing

Free               Free           water, coffee, tea, diet drink

------------------------------------------------------------------





Dinner Menu 2 



Servings          Amount          Food Item

------------------------------------------------------------------

2 starches         2/3 cup        cooked rice

2 to 4 meats       2 to 4 ounces  skinless chicken breast or fish

1 milk             1 cup          fat-free or low-fat milk

1 fat              1 teaspoon     olive or canola oil for cooking

Free               Free           mixed vegetables: broccoli, 

                                    cauliflower, and carrots

Free               Free           water, coffee, tea, or diet drink

-------------------------------------------------------------------





Nighttime Snack* 

Note: The need to eat a nighttime snack depends on your preference 

and blood sugar levels. It is usually OK to move a snack into the 

meal preceding it.



Servings          Amount          Food Item

-----------------------------------------------------------------

1 starch           3 cups or      light popcorn

                   3 squares      graham crackers

-----------------------------------------------------------------


Food lists

Once you get used to the menu provided, add more variety by making substitutions to your menu using these food lists.

STARCHES

Examples of 1-starch portions (servings) are:

  • 1 slice bread
  • 1/2 cup cereal
  • 1 eight-inch tortilla
  • 1/2 hamburger or hot dog bun
  • 1/2 cup pasta or 1/3 cup rice
  • 3 cups fat-free or low-fat popcorn
  • 3 saltine crackers, 3 small graham cracker squares, 6 of most other low-fat crackers
  • 1 five-inch pancake or waffle
  • 15 to 20 fat-free or baked potato or corn chips.

Starchy vegetables also count as starch portions. Examples of 1-starch portions are:

  • 1/2 cup corn kernels or 6-inch cob of corn
  • 1/4 large baked or 1/2 cup mashed white potato
  • 1/2 cup yam or sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • 1 cup winter squash.

FRUITS

Examples of 1-fruit portions are:

  • 1/3 cup grape juice
  • 1/2 cup apple or pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup orange or grapefruit juice
  • 1 small apple
  • 1 orange or peach
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1/3 of small cantaloupe, or 1 cup cubed cantaloupe
  • 1 slice watermelon or 1 and 1/4 cup cubed watermelon

MILK

Examples of 1-milk portions are:

Fat free (0 to 3 grams of fat)

  • 1 cup skim or nonfat milk
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz) flavored fat-free yogurt sweetened with sugar substitute
  • 1 cup fat-free plain yogurt.

Reduced fat (5 grams of fat)

  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz) low-fat flavored yogurt sweetened with sugar substitute
  • 1 cup buttermilk.

Whole milk (8 grams of fat)

  • 1 cup whole milk.

VEGETABLES

One-half cup of cooked vegetables or 1 cup of raw vegetables is a good measure for 1 portion of most vegetables. Nonstarchy vegetables can be eaten without restriction and include, for example, lettuce, spinach, tomato, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, and cucumbers.

MEAT AND MEAT SUBSTITUTES

Meats are divided into very lean meats, lean meats, medium-fat meats, and high-fat meats. You should try to eat more lean and medium-fat meats and stay away from the high-fat choices.

Very lean meat examples (0 to 1 gram of fat per ounce)

  • 1 ounce of white meat chicken or turkey without skin
  • 1 ounce of fresh or frozen fish and shellfish (except mackerel and salmon)
  • 1 ounce of tuna canned in water
  • 1 ounce of fat-free cheese or cottage cheese
  • 2 egg whites.

Lean meat examples (2 to 3 grams of fat per ounce)

  • 1 ounce of dark meat chicken or turkey without skin
  • 1 ounce of lean pork
  • 1 ounce of USDA Select or Choice grades of lean beef
  • 1 ounce of cheese (3 grams of fat per ounce or less).

Medium-fat meat examples (5 grams of fat per ounce

  • 1 ounce of ground beef, most cuts of beef, pork, lamb, or veal
  • 1 ounce of cheese (5 grams of fat or less per ounce)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ounce of fried fish
  • 1 ounce of tuna canned in oil
  • 1 ounce of mackerel or salmon.

High-fat meat examples (8 grams or more per ounce)

  • 1 ounce of pork sausage
  • 2 large spare ribs
  • 1 ounce of regular cheese (American, Swiss, cheddar, etc.)
  • 1 ounce of lunch meat
  • 1 hot dog
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter.

FATS

Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are better for you than saturated or trans fats. Examples of single fat servings are:

Monounsaturated fat

  • 1/8 avocado
  • 6 almonds
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) of oil (olive, peanut, or canola)
  • 2 tsp of peanut butter (look for the natural style to avoid trans fats)

Polyunsaturated fat

  • 1 teaspoon of margarine
  • 1 tablespoon of light margarine
  • 1 tablespoon of light mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon of any vegetable oil except coconut or palm.

Saturated fat

  • 1 teaspoon of butter
  • 1 strip of bacon
  • 2 tablespoon of cream (half and half)
  • 1 tablespoon of cream cheese.

FREE FOODS

Examples of free foods are:

  • calorie-free beverages (for example, diet soft drinks, sugar-free Kool-Aid, Crystal Light, coffee, and tea)
  • mustard
  • sugar-free gelatin.

Written by Terri Murphy, CDE.
Published by RelayHealth.
© 2012 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

References