The Basics Of Meal Planning With Type 1 Diabetes | Cornerstones4Care®

Handling Meal Plan Challenges

Healthy eating is a big part of diabetes self-management. Like everything else, it doesn't just happen on its own. You need to make a plan for healthy eating that you can follow.

It may be necessary to make some changes in what is eaten and how much is eaten. This isn't always easy. And trying to change everything at once can be overwhelming. So, take it 1 step at a time.

Here are some steps to take to help make these mealtime changes:

  • Eat regularly, making sure to track the amount of carbs you eat during the day
  • Trim the fat by choosing lower-fat meal options
  • Resize portions—for example, you may find that what restaurants serve is a lot larger than a normal portion. Consider sharing with others, packing up the leftovers to go, or simply leaving the extra food on the plate 
  • Shake off the salt by avoiding salty snacks and leaving the salt shaker alone

Make these changes a regular part of a daily meal plan. Then you will be ready to move on to the next round of changes.

Is it necessary to eat "special" food on a diabetes meal plan? No!

You'll be pleased to learn that the basics of healthy eating are the same for people with type 1 diabetes as they are for everyone. You shouldn't have to eat meals that are different from those eaten by family and close friends. Everybody should get involved in making healthy choices. Changes are usually easier to make when you don't have to go it alone.

Here's more food for thought:

  • Planning your meals ahead of time is important. Use our Cornerstones4Care® Meal Planning Tools to help you plan your meals as you create a shopping list
  • Get expert help. A registered dietitian can also help develop a meal plan that's right for you. A dietitian can give personalized advice and tips on carbohydrate counting and healthy eating. Ask your diabetes care team for a referral. You can also contact the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at 1-800-877-1600, or visit

Think Before You Drink!

Do you ever drink alcohol? Are you considering trying it? Before you raise your glass, please read our tips and information on alcohol use and type 1 diabetes.

Need a Little Coaching?

One of the many resources you can access on Cornerstones4Care® is the Diabetes Health Coach. This powerful online program can help people with type 1 diabetes build the healthy habits and skills they need to manage their diabetes.