Coming up with diabetic menu ideas can be difficult, that is why many people with diabetes use pre-made diabetic menus. However, if you understand how many carbohydrates should be consumed at each meal, it is not hard to create a diabetic menu of your own. In the long run this is better because it gives you more variety and room for creativity in you diabetic menu.

You should begin by determining, for sure, how many carbohydrates that you need. Typically, this is between 45 to 60 grams at each meal according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). In most diabetic menus each meal calls for 45 grams of carbohydrates with 15 grams of carbohydrates included in each snack. Again, talk to your dietitian or doctor before changing your diet, even if you run across what seems to be the best diabetic diet menu ideas.


Counting Carbohydrates


You can use food labels to know how much carbohydrate is in each food. If you keep general serving sizes in mind, you can use this to determine what you can include in each of your diabetic menu ideas. For example, each of the following items contain 15 grams of carbohydrate: a small piece of fruit, a 1 oz. slice of bread, and 2/3 of cup of plain fat free yogurt total of 45 grams. This combination, therefore, would make a good meal for a diabetic. The following items contain approximately 15 grams of carbohydrates a piece according to the ADA:

  • 1 small piece of fresh fruit (4 oz.)
  • ½ cup of canned or frozen fruit
  • 1 slice of bread (1 oz.)
  • 1 tortilla (6 inch)
  • ½ cup of oatmeal
  • 1/3 cup of pasta or rice
  • 4-6 crackers
  • ½ English muffin or hamburger bun
  • ½ cup of black beans or starchy vegetables
  • ¼ of a large baked potato (3 oz.)
  • 2/3 cup of plain fat-free yogurt or sweetened with sugar substitutes
  • 2 small cookies
  • 2 in. square brownie or cake without frosting
  • ½ cup ice cream or sherbet
  • 1 tbsp. syrup, jam, jelly, sugar, or honey
  • 2 tbsp. light syrup
  • 6 chicken nuggets
  • ½ cup of casserole
  • 1 cup of soup
  • ¼ serving of medium French fry


Any combination of these – making a total of 45 grams – could be used in your diabetic menu ideas. Be sure to keep your meals balance so that you are not lacking in nutrition, particularly at dinner. In creating your diabetic dinner menu ideas, the ADA suggests that you fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables such as spinach, carrots, and broccoli. The other side of your plate should be split into two smaller sections, one containing starchy foods such as whole grain breads, tortillas, or beans, and the other containing meat or meat substitutes, preferably lean cuts of meat or fish.