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10 Best Prediabetes Meals + Meal Prep Tips

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Prediabetes is when your blood sugar levels are high but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. 
  • Meal prepping may help you implement dietary suggestions that are proven to support healthy blood sugar levels. 
  • We’ve created ten delicious recipes that are simple to follow and align with prediabetes nutrition guidelines. 

Prepping nutritionally balanced meals can make it easier to manage blood sugar levels, which is vital for people with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. 

There are a couple of different approaches to meal prepping, and you should try a method that easily fits into your routine. 

You can prepare several meals at once and enjoy them throughout the week (often called batch cooking).

Or, you can plan your menu and buy groceries so that it’s easy to prepare planned recipes throughout the week. 

Keep reading to learn how to prepare easy, delicious meals that align with your health goals. 

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How to Meal Prep for Prediabetes

It can be helpful to follow the Diabetes Plate method when prepping nutritionally balanced meals.

To follow, have meals that have high-quality carbohydrates, lean protein, healthy fat, and plenty of fiber. 

Together, protein, fat, and fiber delay glucose breakdown, and sugars from food enter your bloodstream more slowly. 

This helps prevent a blood sugar spike and ensures you feel satisfied after eating. 

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to meal prep for prediabetes: 

1. Make a list 

Make a list of nutritionally balanced meals with your dietitian, or follow the Diabetes MyPlate method.

2. Buy Necessary Ingredients 

Create a grocery list that includes all necessary ingredients. You can buy frozen or pre-cut produce to cut down on cooking time.  

3. Schedule It In Your Calendar

Assign a dedicated time to meal prep (one to three hours should be enough).

Pick a day when you’re consistently available so that meal prepping can become a routine event in your schedule. 

4. Get The Right Containers 

Invest in Tupperware and other containers that make it easy to store your cooked foods.

Avoid reheating meals in plastic and opt for glass or porcelain containers if you plan to use a microwave (many of these products are available at your local dollar store).

5. The Freezer is Your Friend

Consider freezing some meals to have nutritious options you can reheat and eat later. This also decreases food waste. 

6. Save Your Favorite Recipes

Save your favorite recipes and make them again in the future. It’s nice to reuse recipes so you don’t feel like you’re “reinventing the wheel” every week (which can be fatiguing).

10 Prediabetes Meals for Busy Weeknights

Many of these dishes are ready to eat in under thirty minutes. 

Some recipes require planning (like using your slow cooker in the morning), but it allows you to come home to an almost fully prepared meal.

If you want more recipe inspiration, ask your dietitian for recommendations. 

1. Roasted Chicken with Vegetables 

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Next, mix a seasoning blend with one teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, half a teaspoon of ground black pepper, and a quarter teaspoon of salt. Work your dry rub onto chicken breasts, and cover them with plastic wrap to marinate in the fridge. 

Next, chop vegetables into equal-sized pieces and store them in an airtight container in the fridge.

You can also use precut vegetables if you don’t like chopping. 

Some delicious veggies you can pair with chicken are:  

  • Green cabbage, onion, and acorn squash. 
  • Tomatoes, onion, and sweet potato. 
  • Red bell pepper, zucchini, and corn on the cob. 
  • Green beans, carrots, and parsnip. 

When the oven is hot, place parchment paper on a sheet pan and add your marinated chicken.

Add vegetables on the side and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 25 minutes or until done.

Serve with a side of whole-grain pita bread and tzatziki. 

2. Baked Salmon and Quinoa Bowl 

Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of healthy fat linked to numerous health benefits, including heart health protection. It’s also protein-rich, which supports satiety and stable blood sugars after eating. 

Here are some seasonings you can try on salmon:

  • Dijon mustard, parsley, with a panko crumb crust. 
  • Fresh or dried dill, lemon zest, and black pepper. 
  • Spicy chili flakes with a small amount of honey (one teaspoon per filet). 
  • Yellow curry, cumin, and ground coriander. 

For this dish, you’ll use Mediterranean-inspired flavors. Preheat your oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Mix your marinade: two tablespoons of olive oil, one tablespoon of fresh dill, the zest of one lemon, a quarter teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of black pepper, and one minced garlic clove.

Place your fish on the sheet and drizzle with the marinade. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until done. 

While baking, boil your quinoa according to the box instructions. Chop fresh vegetables to add to your bowl: mixed salad greens, green bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, purple onion, cucumber, and green and black olives (optional). 

To assemble, spoon quinoa into your bowl and top with salmon filet. Next, add your salad and drizzle with olive oil and fresh lemon juice. 

3. Shrimp Stir-Fry with Brown Rice 

A stir-fry is a quick and easy recipe that can take care of tired-looking vegetables in your fridge.

You can use whatever veggies you have on hand or buy ingredients to try these combinations: 

  • Bok choy, green snap peas, onion, bell peppers. 
  • Onion, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower. 
  • Napa cabbage, onion, carrots, eggplant. 

To make your stir-fry, start assembling the sauce. In a small bowl, whisk two teaspoons of freshly grated ginger, two crushed garlic cloves, two thinly sliced green onions, one tablespoon of soy sauce, one tablespoon of orange juice, and one tablespoon of sesame oil. 

Next, heat oil in a wok. Add your vegetables and stir to avoid burning. Add shrimp and cook until done.

Turn off the heat and pour sauce over the stir-fry, stirring again to coat evenly.

Serve over brown rice and garnish with freshly cut cilantro and sesame seeds for more texture. 

4. Slow Cooker Turkey Chili  

Chili is a nutrient-dense meal that can be repurposed or frozen for future meals.

You can keep the saturated fat levels low by choosing a lean source of protein, like ground chicken or turkey. 

To make turkey chili, add all your ingredients to a slow cooker: one diced onion, one can of diced tomatoes, one small jar of strained tomatoes, one can of drained and rinsed kidney beans, one diced carrot, one diced green bell pepper, two tablespoons of chili seasoning, half a teaspoon of salt, and one small pack of ground turkey. 

Stir thoroughly to break up the meat and fully combine the ingredients. If you prefer a runnier texture, add some water. 

Set your slow cooker to low and cook for four to six hours. Stir halfway to ensure the meat is cooking.

Serve with a whole grain bun, a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, and freshly cut green onion. 

5. Whole Wheat Pasta with Turkey Meatballs and Marinara Sauce 

You can enjoy carbohydrate-rich foods (like pasta) while managing prediabetes.

To balance the meal, add ingredients that will have minimal impact on blood sugar levels, like non-starchy veggies and protein. 

Start by assembling your meatballs. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix lean ground turkey, two eggs, one diced onion, one tablespoon of dried parsley, half a teaspoon of salt, and one-third cup of rolled oats (to tenderize the meat).

Roll the mixture into balls and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until done. 

While the meatballs are baking, boil the whole wheat pasta according to the box instructions. In a separate saucepan, warm the marinara sauce and add extra vegetables, such as onion, red bell pepper, and zucchini (you can also use frozen veggies if you don’t feel like chopping). 

To serve, follow the Diabetes Plate: a quarter of your plate is for pasta, another quarter is for meatballs, and you can add a fresh salad or precut vegetable sticks to fill the remaining half of your plate. 

6. Sheet Pan Tofu and Vegetable Stir-Fry

Tofu is a popular plant-based food made from soybeans. It’s an excellent option for blood sugar control because it’s high in protein and low in carbohydrates.

You can create a crispy texture by pressing the liquid from your tofu and lightly coating it with cornstarch.

Bake it in a hot oven to seal the crust (425°F for 30 minutes). 

For vegetables, add broccoli, cubed squash, and red onion to your pan to bake alongside tofu. Dress with a tablespoon of sesame oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. 

7. Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas

Fajitas are tortillas served with cooked meat (cut into strips) alongside cooked vegetables like peppers and onions. 

When you start your day, add two boneless, skinless chicken breasts and vegetable strips (one yellow bell pepper, one red bell pepper, and one onion) to your slow cooker.

You can add more vegetables, like zucchini and mushrooms, if you want. 

For flavor, add ½ cups of your favorite salsa, ½ cups of diced tomatoes, one package of low-sodium fajita seasoning, and chili flakes for heat (optional). 

Turn on low heat and cook for six to seven hours. Serve on a whole-grain tortilla, topped with freshly sliced avocado and a dollop of low-fat plain Greek yogurt. 

8. Pork Tenderloin with Shredded Kale Salad 

Pork tenderloin is a lean cut of meat that is very easy to prepare. 

Warm the oven to 400°F and lightly grease a small casserole dish.

Pierce the pork with a fork and marinate in olive oil, fresh chopped herbs like parsley and basil, and two crushed garlic cloves. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until cooked. 

While the pork is baking, boil the sweet potatoes until a fork easily slides through them. Drain and set aside. 

Wash and shred fresh kale and add to a salad bowl (or use pre-chopped kale). Incorporate one diced Granny Smith apple, two tablespoons of goat cheese, ⅓ cup toasted sunflower seeds, sliced cucumber, and diced yellow peppers.

Add sweet potatoes to your salad and dress with olive oil and red wine vinaigrette before serving alongside pork.  

You can make this salad in large batches for future lunches, but don’t add the dressing until you’re ready to eat it; otherwise, it will turn soggy overnight. 

9. Curried Tofu Scramble 

This savory spin is inspired by “eggs for dinner” dishes.

Firm tofu can be cut into bite-sized pieces that resemble scrambled eggs. This entire recipe should take 15 minutes at most. 

While sautéing, add one teaspoon of yellow curry powder and half a teaspoon of ground coriander and cumin.

Add your favorite vegetables, such as spinach, tomatoes, red onions, and bell peppers, to your scramble. 

Serve with a slice of whole-grain bread and enjoy warm. 

10. Quick Stuffed Peppers 

You can use any lean ground meat for this recipe, but we’re using extra lean ground beef for variety. 

Mix beef with one diced onion, one cubed carrot, one diced celery stalk, and one cup of finely shredded cabbage.

Add one teaspoon of garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika for flavor. 

Instead of rice, you’ll add canned brown lentils (drained and rinsed).

Use your hands to fully incorporate everything and stuff into large bell peppers. 

Place bell peppers into a deep casserole dish and add a few tablespoons of tomato sauce to each pepper. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 400°F oven for 30 minutes or until cooked. 

You can freeze stuffed peppers for up to four months in an airtight container.

How a Dietitian Can Help

A diabetes dietitian is a nutrition expert and licensed healthcare professional.

They offer comprehensive nutrition counseling to help you optimize your blood sugar levels and decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 

Find a dietitian who accepts insurance through Nourish.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the fastest way to fix prediabetes?

The CDC recommends lifestyle and dietary changes to support stable blood sugar levels. You can start making changes today by completing physical activity and choosing fiber-rich foods low in added sugars. You may also benefit from starting blood sugar-lowering medications.

What can someone with prediabetes eat while dining out?

People with prediabetes can eat the same foods as everyone else but have a particular focus on the macronutrient distribution at meals. Following the Diabetes Plate method is simple and easy to follow while dining out: 

  • A quarter of your plate is for lean protein. 
  • A quarter is for grains and carbohydrates. 
  • Half your plate is for non-starchy vegetables. 

Remember your beverage choices, too. Drink plain water or unsweetened tea to limit your intake of added sugars. 

What foods can someone with diabetes eat freely for dinner?

Many healthcare providers recommend eating generous portions of non-starchy vegetables at meals. These vegetables don’t contain carbohydrates and shouldn’t affect blood sugar levels. 

A few examples are: 

  • Tomatoes. 
  • Cucumber. 
  • Bell peppers. 
  • Zucchini. 
  • Eggplant. 
  • Radishes. 
  • Spinach and other leafy greens. 
  • Cabbages. 

These foods have fiber, and eating more may influence bowel movements.

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Disordered eating
Weight loss medication
Mental Health