Brain Health Meal Plan for Diabetes

Lamb gyros

Photographer / Jennifer Causey, food stylist / Karen Rankin, props stylist / Christine Keely

In the United States, approximately 1 in 10 people live with diabetesand 1 in 9 people report experiencing cognitive decline (feeling that confusion or memory loss is happening more often). While these statistics may be alarming, the good news is that we can take steps to improve both our cognitive health and our diabetes. Best of all, there’s surprisingly some overlap in recommendations for protecting your noggin and improving your blood sugar. The SPIRIT Dietwhich is designed to prevent and slow cognitive decline, is essentially a blend of the ultra-healthy Mediterranean and DASH diets, with particular emphasis on brain boosting foods, such as berries, leafy greens and healthy fats from nuts and fish. Likewise, the mediterranean diet is often recommended for people with diabetes because it is rich in nutrients, such as fiberwhich play an important role in stabilizing blood sugar.

In this plan, we include a lot of foods to boost your brain health while keeping in mind strategies to improve diabetes focusing on fiber-rich whole grains, moderate and consistent carbohydrate intake at every meal, and plenty of protein to stabilize blood sugar and keep you full. Because weight loss plays a role in improving blood sugarwe set this plan at 1,500 calories per day plus included modifications for 1,200 and 2,000 calories per day, depending on your needs.

Read more: 9 things experts do every day for better brain health

Strategies for a sharp brain and healthy blood sugar:

Learn more: The best and worst foods for brain health, according to dietitians

Foods to focus on for diabetes and brain health:

  • Fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens, berries, beets, and high-fiber produce, such as pears and apples

  • Beans and lentils

  • Whole grains (bulgur, quinoa, freekeh, whole wheat, brown rice and more)

  • Fish, especially fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines

  • Nuts and natural nut butters made only with nuts and salt

  • Seeds (chia, pumpkin, flax)

  • Olives and olive oil

  • Lawyer

  • Eggs

  • Lamb

  • Poultry

  • Unsweetened dairy products (plain yogurt and kefir)

How to prepare meals for your Meal Week:

  1. Build Spinach and Strawberry Meal Prep Salad at lunch on days 2 to 5.

  2. Build Berry Chia Pudding to be taken with breakfast on days 3 and 4.

Day 1

Chili-Lime Salmon Sheet with Potatoes &  peppers

Chili-Lime Salmon on a Plate with Potatoes and Peppers

Breakfast (403 calories, 25g carbs)

Morning snack (228 calories, 19g carbs)

Lunch (338 calories, 43g carbs)

PM Snack (142 calories, 19g carbs)

Dinner (405 calories, 26g carbs)

Daily totals: 1,515 calories, 91g protein, 78g fat, 131g carbs, 30g fiber, 1647mg sodium

To make 1200 calories: Replace the morning snack with 1 kiwi and omit the kefir at the evening snack

To make 2,000 calories: Add 30 unsalted dry-roasted almonds to PM snack, plus add 1 serving Chopped salad with guacamole having dinner.

Day 2

Lamb gyros

Lamb gyros

Photographer / Jennifer Causey, food stylist / Karen Rankin, props stylist / Christine Keely

Breakfast (388 calories, 20g carbs)

Morning snack (142 calories, 19g carbs)

  • 1/2 cup edamame, pods

  • 1 kiwi

Lunch (469 calories, 40g carbs)

PM Snack (74 calories, 18g carbs)

  • ½ cup raspberries

  • ½ cup blueberries

Dinner (441 calories, 30g carbs)

Daily totals: 1,514 calories, 92g protein, 75g fat, 127g carbs, 30g fiber, 1387mg sodium

To make 1200 calories: Omit the nuts for breakfast and omit the edamame for the morning snack.

To make 2,000 calories: Add 2 tbsp. natural apple peanut butter for breakfast, increase to 1 cup edamame pods for the morning snack, and add 1/4 cup roasted unsalted pumpkin seeds for the evening snack.

Day 3

Cajun-Spiced Tofu Tostadas with Beet Cream

Cajun-Spiced Tofu Tostadas with Beet Cream

Photographer / Jacob Fox, food stylist / Sue Mitchell, food stylist / Kelsey Bulat

Breakfast (343 calories, 39g carbs)

Morning snack (140 calories, 20g carbs)

Lunch (469 calories, 40g carbs)

PM Snack (116 calories, 4g carbs)

Dinner (432 calories, 41g carbs)

Daily Totals: 1,499 calories, 70g protein, 77g fat, 144g carbs, 37g fiber, 1257mg sodium

To make 1200 calories: Omit the kefir for the morning snack and the apple for lunch, and replace the evening snack with 1 plum.

To make 2,000 calories: Add 15 dried walnut halves to AM snack, add 2 tbsp. natural apple peanut butter at lunch and add 1 serving Pineapple and avocado salad having dinner.

Day 4

Shrimps &  beets

Shrimps and beets on plate

Breakfast (343 calories, 39g carbs)

Morning snack (169 calories, 4g carbs)

Lunch (469 calories, 40g carbs)

PM Snack (62 calories, 15g carbs)

Dinner (432 calories, 44g carbs)

Daily Totals: 1,475 calories, 85g protein, 68g fat, 143g carbs, 38g fiber, 1350mg sodium

To make 1200 calories: Replace morning snack with 1 kiwi and omit quinoa at dinner.

To make 2,000 calories: Add 1 cup plain low-fat kefir to breakfast, add 2 tbsp. natural apple peanut butter at lunch and add 1 serving Cucumber & Avocado Salad having dinner.

Day 5

Quinoa Bowls with Chicken and Pesto

Quinoa Bowls with Chicken and Pesto

Breakfast (388 calories, 20g carbs)

Morning snack (92 calories, 3g carbs)

Lunch (469 calories, 40g carbs)

PM Snack (48 calories, 11g carbs)

Dinner (510 calories, 29g carbs)

Meal prep tip: Reserve 2 servings Quinoa Bowls with Chicken and Pesto lunch on days 6 and 7.

Daily totals: 1,507 calories, 84g protein, 92g fat, 102g carbs, 30g fiber, 1545mg sodium

To make 1200 calories: Omit nuts for breakfast, replace morning snack with 1 plum, and replace evening snack with 3/4 cup sliced ​​cucumber.

To make 2,000 calories: Increase to 30 almonds and add 1 large pear to morning snack, plus add 2 tbsp. natural apple peanut butter for lunch.

Day 6

Vegan nut tacos with avocado cream

Vegan nut tacos with avocado cream

Joy Howard

Breakfast (388 calories, 20g carbs)

Morning snack (131 calories, 35g carbs)

Lunch (327 calories, 15g carbs)

PM Snack (100 calories, 9g carbs)

Dinner (553 calories, 42g carbs)

Daily totals: 1,499 calories, 72g protein, 89g fat, 121g carbs, 30g fiber, 1204mg sodium

To make 1200 calories: Omit the nuts for breakfast and replace the morning snack with 1 kiwi.

To make 2,000 calories: Add 20 unsalted dry-roasted almonds as morning snack, increase to 1 cup edamame pods as evening snack, plus add 1 serving Chopped salad with guacamole having dinner.

Day 7

Sheet of roasted chickpeas with balsamic and parmesan &  Vegetables

Chickpeas and Roasted Vegetables with Balsamic and Parmesan

Breakfast (403 calories, 25g carbs)

Morning snack (208 calories, 19 g carbs)

Lunch (357 calories, 22g carbs)

PM Snack (42 calories, 10g carbs)

Dinner (514 calories, 38g carbs)

Daily totals: 1,524 calories, 77g protein, 89g fat, 113g carbs, 29g fiber, 1929mg sodium

To make 1,200 calories: Replace the morning snack with 1/3 cup of raspberries and omit the salad at dinner.

To make 2000 calories: Add 1/4 cup dry-roasted unsalted almonds to the AM snack, add 1/2 cup edamame pods to the PM snack, and add 1/2 avocado, sliced, to the salad at dinner.

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