Living with diabetes can be a challenge, especially when it comes to what you eat. Maintaining a healthy blood sugar level takes discipline, food portions that are just right, and detailed planning of every breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Meal delivery kits take the guesswork out of all of this. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best diabetic meal delivery services — to make it easier for you to plan a healthy, diabetes-friendly diet without hassle.
What kind of meals can diabetics eat?
Ever hear of the glycemic index (GI)? If you have prediabetes or Type 2 Diabetes, the GI is a great guide to help determine if the food you plan on eating has a high or low risk of raising your blood glucose levels. High-carbohydrate foods like white rice — a food with a high GI rating of 73 — has almost the same effect on your body as eating pure sugar, and will produce a quick, high spike in your blood sugar.
By avoiding high-carb foods that have GI levels of 70+ like white bread, processed cereals, snack foods, potatoes, honey, watermelon, and pineapple (to name a few), you can maintain better control of your blood sugar levels and avoid complications from diabetes such as ketoacidosis, neuropathy, kidney disease, and high blood pressure.
The good news? Those with pre-diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes can load up on veggies and many fruits, as most tend to be low-to-moderate on the GI scale. Here are some more foods diabetics can enjoy with 55 or less GI levels:
- Bulgar, barley
- Pasta, parboiled (converted) rice
- High-fiber bran cereal
- Oatmeal, steel-cut or rolled
- Carrots, non-starchy vegetables, greens
- Apples, oranges, grapefruit, and other fruits like berries
- Most nuts, legumes, and beans
- Milk and yogurt
And if you’re looking for diabetic-friendly food swaps, Harvard Medical School made this handy chart to help you choose foods that won’t spike your blood sugar:
For more information on the foods diabetics can and cannot eat, the American Diabetes Association is a great resource.
What is a good daily menu for a diabetic?
The below diabetes-friendly sample meal plan, courtesy of the Mayo Clinic, has shared a low carb, sample meal plan for diabetics that is low on the glycemic index and accounts for 1200-1600 calories per day.
- Breakfast. Whole-wheat bread (1 medium slice) with 2 teaspoons jelly, 1/2 cup shredded wheat cereal with a cup of 1 percent low-fat milk, a piece of fruit, coffee
- Lunch. Roast beef sandwich on wheat bread with lettuce, low-fat American cheese, tomato and mayonnaise, medium apple, water
- Dinner. Salmon, 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil, small baked potato, 1/2 cup carrots, 1/2 cup green beans, medium white dinner roll, unsweetened iced tea, milk
- Snack. 2 1/2 cups popcorn with 1 1/2 teaspoons margarine
Are diabetic meal kits worth the money?
When you consider how much money and time you invest in grocery shopping, ingredient prep, and cooking each week, pre-packaged and prepared meal kits are well worth it. The cheapest meal delivery services for weight loss (like Nutrisystem) start at around $8 per meal, and allow you to choose from more than 150 pre-packaged meals and snacks, all portioned and packed with the nutrition you need to lose weight in a healthy way.
If you’re worried about cost, one way to save money on meal delivery services is to order more meals — the price-per-meal is generally lower when you order more meals per week. Most services don’t make you commit to more than a week at a time (and a “week” can be as few as four meals), so you can cancel your plan — or restart it — at any time and not lose money.
What to look for in a diabetic meal delivery service:
When choosing a diabetic meal delivery service, you should consider your needs and lifestyle. Here are four questions to ask yourself:
- How frequently do I plan to eat my meals? Some meal delivery services provide frozen meals that you can keep in your freezer for weeks, while others are “fresh,” meaning they are prepared by chefs, refrigerated, and should be eaten within days of receiving. If you’re goal is to get your blood glucose levels under control and lose weight fast, you’ll likely want to eat the meals regularly (at least for the first two weeks), so both frozen and fresh options should work just fine.
- Do I prefer to microwave my meals or cook them myself? If prepared meals aren’t your thing and you’d rather cook yourself, meal delivery services like HelloFresh, Green Chef, and Marley Spoon will provide you with fresh, prepped ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes. Some services, like Sun Basket, allow you to fill your “basket” with both pre-packed meals and meal kits filled with measured ingredients for quick cooking.
- Do I want to supplement my regular meals, or replace them completely? You don’t have to replace everything you eat with foods from meal delivery services. You have the option to choose the number of meals you want shipped each week, so you can gradually work these foods into your lifestyle. Keep in mind, though, that the more meals you buy for the week, the more money you save.
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Which meal delivery service is best for diabetics?
Below, we reviewed the best diabetes-friendly meal delivery services for weight loss and all your healthy lifestyle needs.
- Best meal delivery service for diabetes : Nutrisystem D Diabetes Plan
- Best doctor-approved diabetic meal delivery service : BistroMD Diabetic Program
- Best diabetic meal delivery service for cooks : Sun Basket Diabetic Meal Plan
- Best diabetic meal delivery for weight loss : Diet-to-Go Balance Diabetes Plan
Why we like it:
- Eat 6 times a day!
- Chosen by over 500,000 Americans living with Prediabetes or Type 2 Diabetes
- Meals and snacks every 2-3 hours to help keep your blood sugar levels steady and avoid spikes
- Frozen meals delivered to your door
Those who suffer from diabetes usually don’t get to eat foods like pasta and ice cream, but thanks to Nutrisystem D, you can enjoy diabetic-friendly versions of your favorite foods – and lose weight at the same time. The plan consists of frozen pre-made meals and snacks that are fiber-rich and have low-glycemic carbs, lean proteins, healthy fats and no more than 12 grams of sugar in each meal. You’ll eat every 2-3 hours up to six times a day, ensuring steady blood sugar levels with a healthy balance of nutrients. With more than 500,000 Americans living with pre-diabetes or Type 2 Diabetes choosing Nutrisystem D, the program has proven successful for weight loss and lowering
A1C by an average of 1.02 percent.
- Cost: Starting at $8.93/day for 100+ menu choices
- Specialty plans: Vegetarian, Diabetes, Partner, Men’s
- Sample meals: Chicken paella, white cheddar mac and cheese with a green salad, double chocolate muffin, lasagna with meat sauce, chicken and beans in tangy BBQ sauce
Why we like it:
- Customized, doctor-designed gluten-free weight loss programs
- Physician-designed meals featuring 20+ grams of protein
- Individualized support from a team of registered dietitians
BistroMD is one of the most popular meal delivery services around, and their Diabetic-Friendly Meal Plan offers doctor-approved, pre-made meals designed to lower your blood-glucose levels. Chef-prepared entrees have 25 grams or less of net carbs, and contain the lean proteins your body needs to regulate blood sugar and help you lose weight (and keep it off!). All meals are ready-to-eat in five minutes or less.
- Cost: Starting at $97.46/week for 5 lunches and 5 dinners (10 meals total)
- Special plans: Women, Men, Heart-Healthy, Diabetic-Friendly, Menopause, Gluten-Free
- Sample meals: Salmon with bell pepper coulis, artichoke spinach and roasted red pepper frittata, sliced roast beef with red wine demi, homestyle waffles with scrambled eggs and maple syrup
- Customer success story: “The food options are fantastic! Lots of variety and a nice balance of protein and fiber. Sara, the nutritionist, has been incredible to work with. She gave me a ton of advice and is there for me every step of the way. Customer Service has always been responsive, friendly, and pleasant to deal with. I’m losing weight at a good pace, and I feel I will reach my goal being on this eating plan. I’m very grateful! -Leeann N.
Why we like it:
- Premium, 100% organic and responsibly sourced ingredients
- Freshly made meals and kits
- Choose from prepared or simple-cook meals (or both!)
Love to cook your own healthy meals? Sunbasket’s diabetes-friendly, prepared meal plan sends you organic, high-quality ingredients and easy, step-by-step recipes that are packed with flavor and designed to lower your blood glucose levels. Each dish is 400-700 calories per serving, and have 5 grams of fiber, 10 grams of protein, and 20-70 grams or less of high quality carbs per serving.
- Cost: Starting at $8.99/meal
- Special plans: Chef’s Choice, Fresh & Ready, Paleo, Lean & Clean, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, Mediterranean, and Diabetes-Friendly options.
- Sample Meals: Chilaquiles verdes with soft-scrambled eggs, Tokyo fried rice with togarashi, pappardelle with wilted greens, pinto bean and hominy pozole rojo with warm tortillas
- Customer success story: “I am losing weight, I feel good, and during this pandemic I am thrilled to receive nutritious meals.” -Teresa
Why we like it:
- Personalized menu
- Delivered fresh to your door
- No prep required
Diet-to-Go’s Balance Diabetes is a delicious, diabetic-friendly plan that will help you lose weight the healthy way. Not only will it help you lower you blood glucose levels, but their meals are also considered heart-healthy, designed with a controlled amount of sodium, carbs, fat, and cholesterol. All meals are prepared for you, delivered to your door, and ready-to-heat. Plus, your subscription will get you access to an entire team of health professionals, including a registered dietitian, a nutritionist, and a certified health coach to support you on your weight loss journey. If their mind-blowing success stories are any indication, you’ll start seeing results and learn to make healthy lifestyle changes in just a couple of weeks!
- Cost: Starting at $12.20/meal
- Other diets offered: Keto-Carb30, Balance-D, Vegetarian
- Sample meals: Chicken black bean wrap, baked cinnamon bar, chicken fajita, baked Cajun salmon
- Customer success story: “I found Diet-to-Go online and ordered it for delivery to try it out. For years, I looked for a service that offered low-calorie, prepared food that could be delivered to my home…I have always appreciated the consistency in the balance of the meals. Each has a protein, fruits or vegetables, and a grain. The meals taught me (retaught) about portions. This really helped when eating out or cooking for myself.”