Meal Timing for Diabetes Management


Diabetes is a hugely common condition in the United States. Each year sees about 1.5 million new cases. In 2015, 9.4 percent of our population had diabetes according to the American Diabetes Association. Most of these cases are type 2.

Insulin may be required in some cases of diabetes.

If you have just been diagnosed with the condition, then you’re likely trying to figure out how to find balance with it in your life. There is a lot about diabetes that is important for you to learn. Some things you should remember while trying to manage your life with diabetes are as follows:

  • Your doctor may prescribe medication.
  • Talk to your doctor about symptoms and treatment of hypoglycemia (too little glucose in the blood) and hyperglycemia (too much glucose in the blood).
  • Don’t keep it to yourself. You may need help from others like your friends, coworkers, spouse, etc. – especially if you get low blood sugar.

Meal timing is something else that you should consider in order to effectively manage your diabetes. The idea is to divide your daily caloric intake up into small meals or meals with small snacks in between, so that you don’t become hypoglycemic. It’s suggested that you don’t go over five hours without eating. Eating small meals or adding snacks in between meals to your diet would be beneficial to you especially if you’re on a regular work schedule and eat lunch around noon, but don’t leave work until after five.

The following is a simplified example of a day in which you eat three meals with snacks in between::

  • Breakfast (7:00 AM): Whole-grain English muffin with low-fat cheese, fresh fruit, skim milk and coffee or tea with artificial sweetener. 
  • Lunch (11:30 AM): Turkey sandwich on whole grain bread with light mayo and lettuce, carrot sticks and fresh fruit.
  • Afternoon snack (2:30 PM): Light yogurt. 
  • Dinner (6:00 PM): Baked chicken, one small baked potato with light margarine, a green vegetable, a glass of skim milk and a small side salad with light or fat-free dressing.
  • Nighttime snack (9:00 PM): Whole-grain crackers with a tablespoon of peanut butter.

Implementing these plans into your everyday diet may help you regulate your blood sugar so that you don’t experience hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia. Always consult your doctor for a specialized meal plan that is unique to you and your specific needs. Your doctor may also refer you to a registered dietitian.