1200 Calorie Diet Plan For Diabetics

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1200 calorie diet plan for diabetics is designed to help you lose weight while managing your blood sugar levels. Given that diabetes is a chronic disease, diabetics must eliminate some food items from their diet in order to check the blood sugar level and body weight.

Food intake ranging from 1200 to 1500 calories is considered a moderate low-calorie diet for the management of obesity, or weight loss in overweight individuals who are not diabetic. The diet helps to reduce the total number of daily caloric and fat consumed, while still providing a nutritionally balanced diet.

Sample Diabetes 1,200-Calorie Meal Plan

No single diet is right for all people with diabetes. In fact, a plan designed just for you might be best. Whichever meal plan you choose, cutting calories and carbohydrates can help you keep your blood sugar in a healthy range.

Depending on your height, weight, age, and activity level, a 1,200-calorie meal plan may be a good fit. This article explains how to balance carbs, fat, and protein. It also shows you what a day’s worth of food looks like on a 1,200-calorie diet.

sample 1200-calorie meal plan: diabetes
Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin

What to Think About When Meal Planning

Carbohydrates: Carbs are the body’s main source of energy. They impact blood sugar more than other nutrients.1 Some people with diabetes need to track their carb intake. This is especially true if you take insulin at mealtimes.

There are three types of carbs:

  • Starches found in grains, potatoes, and beans or lentils
  • Sugars found in fruits, milk, and processed foods
  • Fiber found in leafy greens and other vegetables

Watch out for white, refined, processed, and sugary foods. These carbs can cause weight gain and sharp spikes in blood sugars. When thinking about carbs, consider portions as well as type.

1200 Calories Meal Plan: How Does it Work?

This meal plan is deficient in calories. It is advisable for people who do not have a lot of strenuous physical activity in their lifestyle. It is also not advised for pregnant, lactating and planning to conceive women. A 1200 calorie meal plan gives you just the right amount of calories your body needs for its basic functioning. If you want to manage diabetes and lose weight efficiently, you might even do some light exercises as a home workout or at the gym under the supervision of a certified trainer.

1200 Calories Meal Plan and Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition also known as the silent epidemic. It plans to slowly and gradually affect your body and its organs. So can you step up your game to control it? How? Read on, and you will get your answer.

In this meal plan, we have written the carbohydrate consumption of each food item in each meal. It will help you track your carbohydrate intake, and if the doctor has prescribed insulin, you can take the dosage accordingly.

Calculation of 1200 Calories Meal Plan

Calculating 1200 calories can be difficult. But don’t you worry, a simple trick will help you do it quickly, and it will be at your fingertips. Before consuming any product:

  1. See its nutritional label. The label will have the calories written, and adjacent to it will be the number of calories per serving size.
  2. Be careful of the serving size, don’t overdo it and don’t cheat yourself.
  3. Take the recommended serving size and add your calories to a calorie tracking app.
  4. Check your calories.

Even before dinner and evening snacks, you can check your calorie intake so that you eat something within the range.

Diabetic-Friendly Meal Plan: Foods to Eat

  • You can have whole grains and millets like wheat, Jowar, Bajra, and ragi. You can also eat high biological value proteins like egg, chicken, and fish.
  • In addition, good fats from plant sources like canola oil and olive oil help. 
  • It will help if you have seeds and nuts like flaxseeds, almonds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
  • Fibre-rich foods like fruits and vegetables with edible peels have soluble fibre. According to a study, a high-fibre diet lowers the risk of diabetes. It is because diets high in soluble fibre help keep blood glucose levels stable. As a result, they aid in the control of blood sugar levels.
  • Probiotics are healthy gut bacteria present in fermented products. Studies display that probiotics might also lessen blood glucose levels and enhance insulin resistance. In addition, they support healthy intestine microbiota and decrease inflammation. Therefore, they save you from infections. Some probiotic meals are yoghurt, kefir, and fermented vegetables. 
  • Chromium and magnesium are essential in carbohydrate metabolism. Thus, the deficiency of those minerals might also cause diabetes. Hence, you must eat sufficient chromium and magnesium-enriched meals for your diet. Meals with chromium include meat, complete grains, and nuts. Some magnesium-rich items are green leafy vegetables, tuna, dark chocolates, and avocados.

7- Day Diabetic-Friendly 1200 Calories Meal Plan

Day 1

Breakfast2 scrambled eggs1 small apple Two-slice whole-wheat bread 1 Jennie-O Lean Turkey Sausage
Mid-morning½ cup raw carrots
Lunch1 slice whole-wheat bread.Almond butter 1 tbsp.4oz low-fat yoghurt 
Snacks3 cups popped popcorn 1 tsp canola oil
Dinner1 cup turkey chilli 1 Tbsp. low-fat sour cream1 corn tortilla wrap ½ cup fresh pear slices 

Day 2

Breakfast2 egg omelette with tomato, onion and 1 tsp grated cheese2 roughly chopped figs2 walnuts 
Mid-morning½ medium banana 
Lunch½ cup tuna salad 2 slices whole wheat bread½ cup berries½ cup celery1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
Snacks½ cup strawberries 2 pieces dark chocolate 
Dinner3oz roasted chicken without skin1 cup baked squash 1 tsp. Olive oil½ cup cauliflower½ cup canned corn 

Day 3

Breakfast½ cup Quaker Instant Oatmeal (low sugar) 1 cup fat-free milk ¼ cup almonds 
Mid-morning1 cup fresh cherries 
Lunch2 slices of whole wheat bread 3oz honey-roasted deli turkey1 slice of reduced-fat provolone cheese1 tbsp. mustard1 medium sized seasonal fruit
Snacks6oz light yoghurt ½ cup blueberries 
Dinner3oz salmon½ large baked potato ½ cup carrots, broccoli, peas

Day 4

Breakfast1 whole-wheat English muffin 1 poached egg1 cup nonfat milk 
Mid-morning1 medium sized seasonal fruit3-4 almonds
Lunch3oz chicken breast½ cup watermelon 1-2 dates
Snacks2 celery sticks with hummus dip 3 whole wheat crackers 
Dinner1 cup spaghetti with meat sauce 1 thick slice of garlic bread1 cup Romaine lettuce¼ cup carrots10 sliced yellow bell peppers1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar

Day 5

Breakfast2 scrambled eggs on toast1 small bowl of Greek Yoghurt with berries
Mid-morning½ small banana
Lunch1 small bowl of lemon-herb rice1 slice of whole wheat bread1 medium orange
Snacks½ banana 1 oz string cheese
Dinner3 oz. grilled chicken breast1 cup mixed vegetables 1 tsp canola oil½ cup brown long-grain rice 

Day 6 

Breakfast2 whole wheat waffles¼ cup walnuts
Mid-morning¾ cup blueberries 
Lunch2 whole-wheat pitas (4” diameter) 2 oz. lean ground turkey 1 tbsp. Of greek yoghurt10 strips red bell pepper1 tbsp. taco sauce1 glass of buttermilk with 1 tbsp of flaxseed powder
Snacks1 cup apple slices 1 tbsp. peanut butter
Dinner3 oz. lasagne with meat and tomato sauce ½ cup steamed asparagus 1 small dinner roll with 1 tsp. Unsalted butter1 cup nonfat milk 

Day 7

Breakfast½ cup cooked oatmeal6 chopped almonds1 cup fat-free milk¾ cup blueberries
Mid-morning1 small apple
Lunch1 whole grain pita bread (6 inches)2 ounces tuna1 tablespoon of reduced-fat mayo1 cup raw baby carrots
Snacks2/3 cup low-fat yoghurt
Dinner3 ounces grilled chicken breast2/3 cup brown rice1 cup sautéed spinach1 tsp olive oilLemon juice with light seasoning of salt and pepper 

Things to Avoid

  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Lack of sleep
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Stress
  • Refined carbohydrates and their food items
  • Sweets treats, baked items, and confectionary

Precautions

  • 1200 calorie diet is significantly fewer calories. It may even be that it is half of what you regularly consume. If you want to reduce weight, a slight and gradual decrease of calories is far better than suddenly decreasing them to 1200 in your diet.
  • This diet needs constant supervision by a qualified dietitian or a nutritionist. You have to stay in touch with the designated person at all times and maintain complete transparency with them concerning your food intake and diet.
  • If you have work, be it office work or household chores, this diet may not suit you as it will lower your productivity with such a low-calorie diet.
  • If you love food and cannot restrict yourself so much, don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. You can eat a little more than the restricted calorie and then work out. For example, if instead of a 1200 calorie diet you consume a 1500 calorie diet, do not worry. You can work out and burn 300 calories. The net result will be 1200. So you are on the safe side.
  • Do consult a certified nutritionist or a dietitian before following a low-calorie diet.

7 Ways to Eat Healthy on a Diabetes Diet

Choose carbs that are rich in fiber, such as:

  • Whole grains
  • Starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes
  • Low-fat dairy such as Greek yogurt
  • Low-glycemic index fruits such as berries.

Most people do well with 30 to 45 grams of carbs per meal and 15 to 20 grams per snack. The amount you need will depend on your:

  • Blood sugar control
  • Physical activity
  • Weight
  • Other health factors

A registered dietitian or certified diabetes educator can help you decide how many carbs are right for you. Keep in mind that every gram of carbs has about four calories. If you eat 45 grams of carbs per meal and 30 grams per snack, that’s 660 calories from carbs per day.2

Protein: Protein is a macronutrient and another form of energy for the body. It boosts immunity, wound healing, and muscle recovery. It can also help you feel full longer. With a calorie-controlled diet, it’s important to choose lean protein. It has fewer calories and less fat.

Lean protein sources include:

  • White meat chicken
  • Pork
  • Turkey
  • Lean beef (95% lean)
  • Egg whites
  • Low-fat dairy

For vegans and vegetarians, beans and soy-based protein such as edamame and tofu are also sources of protein. They also contain carbs.

Protein has four calories per gram. Some studies show that a higher-fat, higher-protein breakfast can reduce hemoglobin A1C in people with diabetes.3 

Fat: Fat is another macronutrient. It helps your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins. Essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6, can reduce inflammation. They are the building blocks of hair, skin, and nails. These fatty acids also help support brain health.4

When choosing fats, look for unsaturated fats such as:

  • Oils
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Avocado
  • Fish like sardines and salmon

Limit saturated fat and trans fat as often as possible, including:

  • Full fat cheese
  • Fried foods
  • High-fat meats like sausage and bacon
  • Butter
  • Cream
  • Sweets such as cookies and cakes

Keep an eye on the fats you eat, even healthy ones. Fat calories can add up quickly. One gram of fat has nine calories. 

Recap

No matter how many daily calories your meal plan has, be sure you’re getting enough lean protein and fiber-rich vegetables. For many people with diabetes, limiting carbs and saturated fats can make it easier to keep blood sugar in a healthy zone.

1,200 Calories Is Not Right for Everyone

A word of warning: A 1,200-calorie diet is not a good option for every person with diabetes. For example, this calorie level may be low enough to disrupt your metabolism. This number of calories may not give you enough carbs for your medication dosage. And it may not prevent hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.

However, 1200 calories will meet the energy needs of some people with diabetes. It’s probably best for those who are:

  • Small in weight and stature
  • Older than 65
  • Less active

If you have a prescription for a 1,200-calorie diet, your diabetes care team will have planned with these factors in mind. If you’ve been prescribed a different diet, there are many meal plans to choose from.

What a Daily Menu Looks Like

This meal plan provides around 1,200 calories a day, with 30 to 45 grams of carbs per meal and 15 to 30 grams per snack.

Day 1

Breakfast

  • An omelet made with 2 egg whites, one egg, and 1 slice (1 ounce) low-fat cheese
  • 1 slice whole wheat toast with 1 teaspoon nut butter
  • 1 small orange or 2 small kiwi
  • Coffee with 1 tablespoon half & half

Total carbs per meal: 30 grams

Lunch

  • 2 cups chopped greens with 4 ounces (size of the palm of your hand) grilled chicken and 1 tablespoon oil-based dressing
  • One small 4-ounce apple
  • One 6-ounce low-fat yogurt
  • 8 to 12 ounces of water or a sugar-free beverage

Total carbs per meal: 40 grams

Snack

  • 3 cups air-popped popcorn

Total carbs per snack:  15 grams

Dinner

Turkey broccoli wrap:

  • 4 ounces lean white meat ground turkey cooked in 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 low-carb whole grain wrap (about 20 grams of carbs)
  • 1 cup steamed broccoli topped with 1 teaspoon olive oil (top with hot sauce)
  • 8 to 12 ounces of water or a sugar-free beverage
  • 1 cup of raspberries

Total carbs per meal: 45 grams 

Day 2

Breakfast

  • 1 container of low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon chopped unsalted almonds
  • 1 cup coffee with 1 tablespoon half and half

Total carbs per meal: 25 grams

Lunch

Open-faced turkey sandwich:

  • 4 thin slices of roast turkey
  • 1 slice whole grain bread
  • Lettuce, tomato, 1/4 avocado chopped, dollop of mustard
  • 15 baby carrots with 1 tablespoon hummus

Total carbs per meal: 35 grams

Snack

  • 1 1/4 cup strawberries with 1 tablespoon nut butter

Total carbs per snack: 18 grams

Dinner

Grilled shrimp quinoa bowl:

  • 4 ounces grilled shrimp
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa in water or low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped peppers
  • 1/4 cup shredded low-fat cheese
  • 1 tablespoon salsa

Total carbs per meal: 40 grams

Day 3

Breakfast

  • Sweet potato strawberry toast

Total carbs per meal: 17 grams

Lunch

  • 5 chopped veggies and greens egg salad
  • Top on 1 whole grain brown rice cake
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 8 to 12 ounces water or seltzer

Total carbs per meal: 40 grams

Dinner

  • 5 ounces baked fish with lemon, garlic powder, salt, pepper, 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small baked sweet potato topped with cinnamon and 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1.5 cups steamed spinach
  • 8 to 12 ounces water or seltzer 

Total carbs per meal: 30 grams 

Create Your Own Meal Plan

This menu is a three-day example of delicious foods you can fit into one day with a 1,200-calorie diet. If you need more variety, there are many nutritious foods you can enjoy. A simple online search will help you calculate their nutritional value.

You can use a recipe nutrition calculator to take the guesswork out of meal prep. Just input the recipe you’d like to make and read the nutrition label. You can also use it for side dishes, snacks, and drinks.

If the results for your recipe show it has too many calories, you can edit each ingredient. The calculator will show you healthier options.

The calculator is a useful tool when making out your shopping list. You’ll have a clearer idea of which foods are lower in calories, fat, and sugar. Having a little knowledge before you hit the store can help you make better decisions.

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