Meal Planning for Health

Susan Feliciano


The most important concept in losing weight and having a healthy heart is to EAT LESS and MOVE MORE. Impossible though it seems, it can be done, as evidenced by Chef Walter of Knoxville, Tennessee, who has lost over 100 pounds, got his diabetes under control, and still hosts a cooking show on local television.
Portion control is key - so learning how much is a "serving" will help anyone wanting to limit their calories or carbohydrates. This is not a no-carb or even a low-carb diet, but rather a CONTROLLED carbohydrate eating plan that will do your heart good.

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9-inch dinner plate
measuring cups
carbohydrate exchange list


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1The amount of food you eat will depend on your nutrition goals and how your body responds to carbohydrates. There is not one meal plan that fits everyone's needs. Your individual meal plan should be based on your personal lifestyle.

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2The following chart provides some basic meal-planning guidelines that may work for many people with diabetes. The American Diabetes Association guidelines and the American Heart Association guidelines are very similar. Controlling carbohydrate and fat intake are key to weight loss, clear arteries, and overall health.

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WOMEN: 2 to 3 carb choices per MEAL (equal to 30-45 grams of carbohydrate); and 1 carb choice per SNACK (15 grams carbohydrate)
MEN: 3 to 4 carb choices per MEAL (equal to 45-60 grams of carbohydrate); and 1 carb choice per SNACK (15 grams carbohydrate)

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Add 1 carb choice per MEAL (15 grams carbohydrate)

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1 slice bread, 1 small biscuit, 1/2 small bagel or hamburger bun, small tortilla, 1/2 small pita, 1 small waffle or pancake.

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Pasta, rice, couscous, barley, quinoa = 1/3 cup
Grits, plain oatmeal, cereal = 1/2 cup
Potatoes or sweet potatoes = 3 oz. or 1/2 cup
Winter squash = 1 cup
Baked beans = 1/3 cup
Plain cooked dried beans, peas, lentils - 1/2 cup
Corn, green peas, or parsnips = 1/2 cup

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7Remember that fruit and milk also contain measurable carbohydrates.
Detailed information and carbohydrate lists can be found on the ADA website at:

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8So what does this style of eating look like? Here is just one example. Use your imagination within the guidelines for many different meals.

About this Recipe

Main Ingredient: Non-Edible or Other
Regional Style: American
Dietary Needs: Diabetic, Low Fat, Low Carb
Other Tag: Healthy