Diabetes-Friendly Easy Plate Method Dinners

Use the plate method formula for simple and delicious meal planning to help manage diabetes. Start with a 9-inch-diameter plate, divide your plate into three sections and fill in each section with the appropriate amount of each food group. The plate method lets you eyeball appropriate portions without having to actually pull out a measuring cup or count calories, which makes plating out a balanced, healthy meal simple and easy.

Making the Plate Method Work for You

Follow this formula for plating out a healthy meal, every time.

1. Fill 1/2 of the plate with non-starchy vegetables.

non-starchy vegetable broccolini

• Choose from: asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, greens (lettuce, spinach, kale, arugula), mushrooms, peppers, snap peas, snow peas, squash (spaghetti squash, zucchini), tomatoes and turnips.

 

2. Fill 1/4 of the plate with lean meat (3 ounces cooked) or a plant-based protein.

lean protein chicken breast

• Choose from these animal proteins: chicken, eggs, fish, lean beef, lean pork, shellfish and turkey.
• OR choose from these plant-based proteins: beans, chickpeas, edamame, hummus, lentils, nuts, nut butters and tofu.

 

3. Fill 1/4 of the plate with a starchy vegetable or whole grain.

whole grain rice on plate

• Choose from these starchy vegetables: corn, peas, plantain, potatoes, pumpkin, squash (acorn, butternut) and sweet potatoes.
• OR choose from these whole grains: barley, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, whole-wheat couscous, farro, oatmeal, whole-wheat pasta, quinoa, corn or whole-wheat flour tortillas.

 

4. Include a serving of fruit and/or dairy when your carbohydrate and calorie budgets allow.

 

Plate Method Meals

Try one of these easy meal ideas for dinner this week!

Deconstructed Taco Salad

dinner 1 deconstructed taco salad

1/2 plate: Non-starchy vegetable
• Simple taco salad with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, onion and pickled jalapeño

1/4 plate: Starchy vegetable or grain
• Corn tortillas

1/4 plate: Protein
• Ground beef with fresh cilantro

 

Simple Grilled Salmon with Broccolini & Rice

dinner 2 simple grilled salmon broccolini rice

1/2 plate: Non-starchy vegetable
• Steamed broccolini seasoned red pepper flakes

1/4 plate: Starchy vegetable or grain
• Brown rice with fresh lemon zest

1/4 plate: Protein
• Simple grilled salmon

 

Mediterranean Vegetables with Pita & Hummus

dinner 3 mediterranean vegetables pita hummus

1/2 plate: Non-starchy vegetable
• Sauteed eggplant, peppers & onion

1/4 plate: Starchy vegetable or grain
• Toasted whole-wheat pita bread

1/4 plate: Protein
• Hummus

WATCH: What Does a 1-Day Diabetes Meal Plan Look Like?

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Follow the "plate method" to create healthy balanced diabetes friendly meals—no measuring or calorie counting needed.
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Victoria Seaver
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