- Prediabetes is a sign that your blood sugars are rising, which can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.
- You can take steps to lower your blood sugars by making nutritious and balanced meals that include carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and fiber.
- Our seven-day meal plan for prediabetes can help get you started, but if you want more support, consider working with a registered dietitian.
Prediabetes is when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. The symptoms can be difficult (if not impossible) to identify, so completing regular blood work is one of the best ways to assess trends in your blood sugar health.
You can take action if your numbers come back higher than you hoped. Research shows that making diet and lifestyle changes can improve blood sugar levels and delay or decrease the risk of developing diabetes later on.
Keep reading to learn more about the critical link between diet and blood sugar control, and try delicious recipes from our seven-day sample prediabetes meal plan.
Nourish offers online nutrition counseling services that are covered by insurance. Book an appointment with a registered dietitian specializing in prediabetes.
Prediabetes Basics: Getting Started
Cells, tissues, vital organs, and muscles function on simple sugars (called glucose) from the diet.
If you have prediabetes, your body has difficulty accessing this fuel, possibly due to insulin resistance.
This causes the sugars to accumulate in the bloodstream.
Being more selective about the types of carbs you eat, how much, and the foods you pair them with can influence your blood sugar levels.
The USDA MyPlate model demonstrates an easy system to help build balanced meals.
- Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables: kale, lettuce, cucumber, bell peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, etc.
- Fill a quarter of your plate with lean proteins: chicken, pork, steak, eggs, salmon, and tofu.
- Fill a quarter of your plate with carbohydrate-rich foods: whole grain bread and pasta, starchy vegetables such as sweet potato, squash, and pumpkin.
- Some plant-based proteins are starchy and could affect your blood sugars, including black beans, chickpeas, etc.
If you need help finding a way to include all your favorite foods, consider booking an appointment with a registered dietitian specializing in prediabetes.
Who Is at Risk for Prediabetes?
Per the CDC, some people are at a higher risk for developing prediabetes.
- Anyone with a parent or sibling who has diabetes.
- Women who experienced gestational diabetes during their pregnancy.
- People above the age of 45.
- People who are active less than three times per week.
- Anybody who lives with obesity or is overweight.
- People who are African American, Hispanic, or American Indian.
Just because you are at high risk for prediabetes does not mean you will develop the condition. Taking proactive steps can greatly impact your future health, but if you have any concerns, contact your healthcare team for more information.
What to Eat with Prediabetes
High-fiber foods include:
- All vegetables and fruits.
- Nuts and seeds - cashews, pumpkin seeds, etc.
- Whole grains - crackers, bread, air-popped popcorn, quinoa, etc.
- Beans and legumes - lentils, black beans, chickpeas, etc.
If you want more food inspiration, check out our ultimate grocery list for diabetes (which is also appropriate for prediabetes).
Meal Plan for Prediabetes
Below is an example of a seven-day meal plan you can follow if you have prediabetes. Talk to your registered dietitian for serving size recommendations.
- Breakfast: Whole grain toast with sliced avocado, tomato, egg, chili flakes, lime juice, and cilantro.
- Lunch: Hearty shredded salad with kale, brussels sprouts, chicken breast, fresh raspberries, slivered almonds, and goat cheese. Dress with olive oil and vinegar.
- Dinner: Vegetarian chili with quinoa, bean medley, carrots, onion, celery, canned tomato, and chili seasoning. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and cheese.
- Snacks: Whole grain crackers with sliced cheese; fresh cut vegetables with hummus and sliced apple.
- Breakfast: Overnight oats made with milk, diced apple, cinnamon, a dollop of honey, chia seeds, and crumbled nuts.
- Lunch: Whole grain tuna wraps with mayo, shredded lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, fresh dill, and capers. Serve with a side of fresh fruit if desired.
- Dinner: Sheet pan dinner with chicken thighs, squash, asparagus, and broccoli. Drizzle with mixed olive oil and garlic before serving, and sprinkle parmesan on the vegetables.
- Snacks: Plain Greek yogurt with nuts and fruits; fresh-cut vegetables with hummus and orange slices.
- Breakfast: Whole grain English muffin with cream cheese, smoked salmon, sliced onion, tomato, and cucumber.
- Lunch: Mediterranean chickpea salad with cucumber, red onion, pepper, olives, and feta cheese. Serve over baby arugula and dress with oil, lemon, salt, and pepper.
- Dinner: BBQ salmon and pineapple served over brown rice. Pair with a fresh green salad with your favorite vegetables and dressing.
- Snacks: Plain yogurt with fruits and nuts; fresh-cut vegetables with hummus and fresh blueberries.
- Breakfast: Egg omelet with spinach, sundried tomato, red peppers, onions, a spoonful of feta, and fresh basil. Serve with whole-grain toast.
- Lunch: Chicken noodle soup with a side salad.
- Dinner: Ground turkey meatballs served over whole grain pasta with red sauce. Add onion, kale, peppers, zucchini, and eggplant to your sauce.
- Snacks: trail mix with fresh fruits; fresh-cut vegetables with hummus.
- Breakfast: Hot skillet with black beans, sweet potato, avocado, tomato, salsa, and onion. Garnish with a squeeze of lemon and fresh cilantro.
- Lunch: Individual pizza on a whole grain pita. Dress with pesto, cheese, leek, spinach, tomato, and chicken breast.
- Dinner: Stir-fried cabbage, peppers, mushrooms, and garlic with shrimp. Serve over brown rice crumble peanuts on top. Dress with homemade sauce: soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, fresh garlic and ginger.
- Snacks: Plain cottage cheese with blackberries and nuts; fresh-cut vegetables with hummus and sliced pear.
- Breakfast: Whole grain toast with almond butter, slices of fresh peach, and sprinkle with cinnamon and hemp hearts.
- Lunch: A brown rice bowl with edamame, shredded carrots, sliced cucumber, seaweed, and cherry tomatoes. Garnish with ginger-sesame dressing.
- Dinner: Spicy pan-fried tofu cubes served with roasted cauliflower, broccoli, beets, and squash. Garnish with toasted cashews and lime juice.
- Snacks: Whole grain crackers with cheese; fresh cut vegetables with avocado dip.
- Breakfast: Whole grain English muffin with poached egg, turkey bacon, sliced tomato, mayo, and mustard. Add a serving of fresh fruit on the side.
- Lunch: Minestrone soup with mixed beans, carrots, celery, onion, and shell pasta. Serve with fresh-cut vegetables on the side with your favorite dip.
- Dinner: Leafy greens mixed with fennel, orange slices, cubed sweet potato, almonds, dill, basil, and chives. Serve with sliced steak and dress with olive oil and lemon juice blend.
- Snacks: Whole grain crackers with cream cheese and sliced cucumber; plain cottage cheese with fruits and nuts.
Tips for Meal Preparation
Learning that your once-healthy blood sugars are starting to rise can cause anxiety, but dietary changes can effectively normalize your levels.
Here are simple tips to make life easier for you in the kitchen:
- Have high-fiber ingredients readily available so it's easy to add them to your meals and snacks.
- Keep a running grocery list so you remember to restock finished products.
- Pick one day of the week to prepare meals and snacks.
- Freeze meals and leftover ingredients to prevent food waste.
- Use coupons and flyers to build a shopping list that fits your budget.
- If you hate cutting vegetables, invest in pre-chopped items to reduce the time spent on tasks you don’t enjoy.
No single food causes prediabetes, and your body needs sources of carbohydrates to function.
You can improve your blood sugars by eating balanced meals that contain carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and fiber.
Follow our simple prediabetes meal plan to implement these nutrition recommendations.
Work With a Registered Dietitian Specializing in Diabetes
You can book your first nutrition appointment with a Nourish registered dietitian specializing in prediabetes and blood sugar health.
Frequently Asked Questions
See a Registered Dietitian with Nourish
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