The diabetes plate method is a simple way to plan meals and manage the amount of carbohydrate you eat. Put non-starchy vegetables on half your plate. Add protein foods, like meat or meat substitutes, on a fourth of the plate. Put carbohydrate foods, like grains, starchy vegetables, beans, fruit, and milk and yogurt, on the final fourth of the plate. Choose water or another low-calorie beverage to drink with your meal.
How to use a plate format
Here is a simple way to manage the amount of carbohydrate you eat at meals.
Sample lunch or dinner plate
Follow these guidelines for lunch and dinner. Use a plate that measures 9 inches (23 cm) across.
- Half the plate is non-starchy vegetables. Some examples are broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, mushrooms, peppers, and salad greens.
- A fourth of the plate is protein foods. These include chicken, turkey, lean beef and pork, fish, tofu, nuts, eggs, and cheese.
- A fourth of the plate is carbohydrate foods. These include grains, fruit, yogurt and milk, and starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, and beans.
- Choose water or another low-calorie drink. Water is a good choice with meals. Other examples of low-calorie drinks include sparkling water or unsweetened tea or coffee.
Sample breakfast plate
For breakfast, the concept is similar.
- Half the plate is non-starchy vegetables. You can leave this section of your plate empty if you don't usually eat vegetables at breakfast.
- A fourth of the plate is protein foods.
- A fourth of the plate is carbohydrate foods.
- Choose water or another low-calorie drink.
Current as of: February 28, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board: All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.