June 23, 2024

7-Day No-Sugar Vegetarian Meal Plan for Diabetes

Table of Contents

In this seven-day no-sugar-added vegetarian meal plan for diabetes, we map out a week of plant-forward meals tailored to promote stable blood sugars. To help, we skipped added sugars while focusing on more nutrient-dense options, like whole fruits, vegetables and legumes. The average American consumes about 17 teaspoons of added sugars each day, significantly above the American Heart Association’s recommended daily max of 9 teaspoons for men and 6 teaspoons for women. Added sugars can certainly be included in moderation in a healthy diet, but with so many of us eating more than we realize, they can be a low-hanging fruit to tackle if we’re looking to improve blood sugar levels. When grocery shopping, double-check the nutrition label and ingredient list to see where added sugars may be making their way into your foods.

Why This Meal Plan Is Great for You

To further support healthy blood sugar levels, we aimed for a moderate carbohydrate level. In this plan, about 40% of total daily calories are from carbohydrates, which is below the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans’ recommendation of 45% to 65% of calories from carbohydrates. In this plan, the seven-day average carbohydrate intake is 152 grams per day, which equals about 40% of total daily calories. It’s important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all recommended amount of carbohydrates to eat per day, and an individual’s total needs depends on factors such as activity level.

In addition, we also paid close attention to fiber intake. The seven-day average of fiber intake amounts to 38 grams per day. Fiber is a type of indigestible carbohydrate that doesn’t raise blood sugars but is included in the total carbohydrate count. Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. This important nutrient has a ton of health benefits and plays an important role in promoting more stable blood sugar levels.

Because weight loss can help improve blood sugar levels for some people, we set this plan at 1,500 calories, which is a level at which many people will lose weight. For those with other calorie needs, we also included modifications for 1,200 and 2,000 calories per day. As with all meal plans, this is meant to serve as a template for a diabetes-friendly eating plan. Make adjustments to fit your lifestyle and taste preferences, if desired. Check out all of our Diabetes-Friendly Vegetarian Recipes for more inspiration.

Frequently Asked Questions


  • Is it okay to mix and match meals if there is one I do not like?

    Yes, absolutely! Feel free to change out meals if there’s an option you prefer. Meals are meant to be enjoyed and we have many vegetarian diabetes-friendly meals to choose from. In this plan, we set the calories at 1,500 calories per day and aimed for about 150 grams of carbohydrates per day, spread throughout the day, to promote stable blood sugar levels. We also included at least 64 grams of protein per day to help support healthy blood sugar levels and made sure to stay below the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans max salt recommendation of 2,300 mg per day. The real star of this meal plan is the fiber. Thanks to an abundance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and vegetarian proteins, this meal plan provides an average of 38 grams of fiber each day, an important nutrient for healthy blood sugar levels.


  • Can I eat the same breakfast or lunch every day?

    Definitely, each breakfast and lunch option is relatively similar in calories. If you prefer to eat the same breakfast or lunch daily, go for it. Each breakfast is 319 – 368 calories while each lunch offers a broader range of 244 calories to 512 calories. On the days lunch is a little lower in calories, you’ll notice we included more substantial snacks, particularly in the afternoon. If you’re closely tracking calories and looking to swap a lunch option, choosing one that is similar in calories is a safe bet.


  • What is the difference between vegetarian, vegan and plant-based?

    A vegetarian diet omits meat and fish but often includes dairy and eggs while a vegan diet omits all animal products, including meat, fish, eggs, honey and dairy. Plant-based is a border term that describes an eating routine that focuses on more fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. It doesn’t necessarily mean vegetarian or vegan, it simply describes an eating pattern that is more focused on plants versus animal proteins. 

Is the Vegetarian Diet Good for People with Diabetes?

Many people follow a vegetarian diet for an array of reasons, such as trying to reduce their impact on the environment, supporting animal rights or simple personal preference. We can add improved blood sugar levels to the list of reasons why someone may go vegetarian. Following a plant-based vegetarian diet is associated with a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, improved blood sugar levels and improved blood lipid (cholesterol) levels.

Whether you’ve been vegetarian for years, are looking to try something new or are just aiming to cut back on animal proteins, this meal plan can help provide some inspiration. And if you’re not interested in being fully vegetarian but want to reap the health benefits, don’t fret. The flexitarian diet may be a better fit and you can enjoy more plant-based meals while still having the occasional animal protein. 

Vegetarian Foods to Focus On 

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Soy (tofu, edamame, tempeh)
  • Seitan
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Whole grains (such as oats, bulgur, brown rice and more)
  • Eggs
  • Dairy (yogurt, kefir, milk, cheese)
  • Oils (such as olive oil and avocado oil)
  • Herbs and spices

How to Meal-Prep Your Week of Meals:

Day 1

Breakfast (319 calories, 38g carbohydrate)

A.M. Snack (42 calories, 11g carbohydrate)

Lunch (512 calories, 41g carbohydrate)

P.M. Snack (208 calories, 35g carbohydrate)

  • ¼ cup unsalted dry-roasted shelled pistachios
  • ½ cup raspberries

Dinner (427 calories, 36g carbohydrate)

Daily Total: 1,508 calories, 82g fat, 66g protein, 141g carbohydrate, 35g fiber, 1,723mg sodium

Make it 1,200 calories: Omit apple at breakfast, reduce to ½ cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt at lunch and omit pistachios at P.M. snack.

Make it 2,000 calories: Add ¾ cup low-fat plain kefir to breakfast, 1 serving Cottage Cheese Snack Jar with Fruit to A.M. snack and 1 serving Caprese Salad with Cherry Tomatoes to dinner.

Day 2

Breakfast (368 calories, 26g carbohydrate)

A.M. Snack (59 calories, 14g carbohydrate)

Lunch (332 calories, 48g carbohydrate)

P.M. Snack (215 calories, 12g carbohydrate)

Dinner (521 calories, 42g carbohydrate)

Daily Totals: 1,494 calories, 73g fat, 82g protein, 143g carbohydrate, 37g fiber, 1,579mg sodium

Make it 1,200 calories: Omit orange at breakfast and cucumber with hummus at lunch and change P.M. snack to 1 clementine.

Make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 cup low-fat plain kefir to breakfast, ¼ cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds to A.M. snack and 1 serving Apple with Cinnamon Almond Butter as an evening snack.

Day 3

Breakfast (319 calories, 38g carbohydrate)

A.M. Snack (215 calories, 12g carbohydrate)

Lunch (332 calories, 48g carbohydrate)

P.M. Snack (234 calories, 23g carbohydrate)

  • ¼ cup unsalted dry-roasted shelled pistachios
  • 1 medium peach

Dinner (406 calories, 38g carbohydrate)

Daily Totals: 1,507 calories, 73g fat, 70g protein, 159g carbohydrate, 33g fiber, 1,449mg sodium

Make it 1,200 calories: Omit apple at breakfast and change P.M. snack to 1 plum.

Make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 cup low-fat plain kefir to breakfast, ¼ cup guacamole to dinner and 1 medium banana with 2 Tbsp. almond butter as an evening snack.

Day 4

Photographer: Fred Hardy, Food Stylist: Jennifer Wendorf, Prop Stylist: Lydia Pursell


Breakfast (368 calories, 26g carbohydrate)

A.M. Snack (142 calories, 13g carbohydrate)

  • 1 (5.3-oz.) container low-fat plain strained (Greek-style) yogurt
  • ½ cup raspberries

Lunch (332 calories, 48g carbohydrate)

P.M. Snack (136 calories, 15g carbohydrate)

  • 1 large hard-boiled egg
  • 1 medium peach

Dinner (536 calories, 54g carbohydrates)

Daily Totals: 1,513 calories, 65g fat, 89g protein, 157g carbohydrate, 37g fiber, 1,751mg sodium

Make it 1,200 calories: Omit orange at breakfast, yogurt at P.M. snack, hummus at lunch and hard-boiled egg at P.M. snack.

Make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 cup low-fat plain kefir to breakfast, ¼ cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds to P.M. snack and 1 serving of Grilled Eggplant Salad to dinner.

Day 5

Breakfast (319 calories, 38g carbohydrate)

A.M. Snack (215 calories, 12g carbohydrate)

Lunch (332 calories, 48g carbohydrate)

P.M. Snack (234 calories, 23g carbohydrate)

  • ¼ cup unsalted dry-roasted shelled pistachios
  • 1 medium peach

Dinner (492 calories, 55g carbohydrate)

Make-Ahead Tip: Reserve 2 servings Vegetarian Butternut Squash Chili with Black Beans to have for lunch on Days 6 and 7.

Daily Totals: 1,493 calories, 70g fat, 64g protein, 166g carbohydrate, 41g fiber, 1,533mg sodium

Make it 1,200 calories: Omit apple at breakfast and change A.M. snack to 1 plum.

Make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 plum to lunch, add ½ an avocado (sliced) to the salad at dinner and add 1 medium banana with 2 Tbsp. almond butter as an evening snack.

Day 6

Breakfast (368 calories, 26g carbohydrate)

A.M. Snack (163 calories, 19g carbohydrate)

  • 1 (5.3-oz.) container low-fat plain strained (Greek-style) yogurt
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries

Lunch (244 calories, 41g carbohydrate)

P.M. Snack (210 calories, 30g carbohydrate)

  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 Tbsp. natural peanut butter

Dinner (517 calories, 38g carbohydrate)

Daily Totals: 1,501 calories, 70g fat, 83g protein, 154g carbohydrate, 43g fiber, 1,608mg sodium

Make it 1,200 calories: Omit orange at breakfast, yogurt at A.M. snack and peanut butter at P.M. snack.

Make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 cup low-fat plain kefir to breakfast, 1⁄4 cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds to A.M. snack and a medium apple to lunch. Increase to 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter at P.M. snack.

Day 7

Greg DuPree

Breakfast (319 calories, 38g carbohydrate)

A.M. Snack (215 calories, 12g carbohydrate)

Lunch (244 calories, 41g carbohydrate)

P.M. Snack (223 calories, 8g carbohydrate)

  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter

Dinner (488 calories, 41g carbohydrate)

Daily Totals: 1,489 calories, 80g fat, 65g protein, 141g carbohydrate, 38g fiber, 1,459mg sodium

Make it 1,200 calories: Omit apple at breakfast and peanut butter at P.M. snack.

Make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 (5.3-oz.) container of low-fat plain Greek-style yogurt to lunch, ½ an avocado (sliced) to the salad at dinner and ¼ cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds and 1 plum as an evening snack.