The Diabetes Plate Method (Plus Bonus Recipes!)

The “Plate Method” is excellent practice for people who want to exercise more portion control—which is particularly important for people with diabetes.

Today we’re going to take a look at the Plate Method. And there’s some bonus recipes, too!

The Plate Method

First, grab a plate. Not too big, though: the size of our plate triggers a response in our brains that makes us want to fill it, thus increasing our portion sizes. An ideal-sized plate should be about 9 inches across.

If your dinner plates are too big and beg for copious foodstuffs, try using a smaller salad or dessert plate.

Now: imagine two lines drawn on your plate breaking it up into three sections, like so:

Fill half your plate with nonstarchy vegetables

Nonstarchy vegetables are lower in carbohydrates, so they do not raise blood sugar very much. They are also high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, making them an important part of a healthy diet. Filling half your plate with nonstarchy vegetables means you will get plenty of servings of these superfoods.

Examples of nonstarchy veggies

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli or Cauliflower
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage (green, red, napa, bok choy, chinese)
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Leafy greens such as kale, collards, mustard greens, or Swiss Chard
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Green beans, pea pods, snow peas, and sugar snap peas
  • Peppers such as bell peppers and hot peppers
  • Salad greens such as lettuce, spinach, arugula, endive, and other salad mixes
  • Squash such as zucchini, yellow squash, chayote, spaghetti squash
  • Tomatoes

Bonus nonstarchy veggie recipe

Stuffed Brussels Sprouts Bites

Prep Time: 20 minutes Servings: 12

Stuffed Brussels Sprouts Bites

Image and recipe courtesy American Diabetes Association


  • 12 Large Brussels sprouts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 slices lean turkey bacon (diced)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 3 oz soft goat cheese
  • 2 tbsp skim milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese (grated)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Trim the ends of the Brussels sprouts and cut them in half, lengthwise. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and blanch the sprouts for 2 minutes, drain and set aside.
  3. Using a melon baller or Tsp. measure, core the sprouts, set aside the shells and roughly chop the scooped cores.
  4. Add olive oil to a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add bacon and sauté until almost crisp. Add the chopped sprouts and garlic and sauté for a 3-4 more minutes until the sprouts have softened.
  5. In a bowl, mix together the goat cheese, milk, salt (optional), black pepper and parmesan cheese. Add the sautéed bacon and sprouts and mix thoroughly.
  6. Divide the filling mixture evenly among each sprout core (about a rounded Tsp.). Lay sprouts on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until the filled sprouts are a golden brown. Serve warm.

Fill one quarter of your plate with lean protein foods

Foods high in protein such as fish, chicken, lean beef, soy products, and cheese are all considered “protein foods.”

Proteins foods (especially those from animal sources) usually contain saturated fat, which may increase your risk of heart disease. Lean proteins are lower in fat and saturated fat, making them a healthier choice.

Keep in mind that some plant-based protein foods (like beans and legumes) are also high in carbohydrates.

Examples of lean protein foods

  • Chicken, turkey, and eggs
  • Fish like salmon, cod, tuna, tilapia, or swordfish
  • Shellfish like shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels, or lobster
  • Lean beef cuts such as chuck, round, sirloin, flank, or tenderloin
  • Lean pork cuts such as center loin chop or tenderloin
  • Lean deli meats
  • Cheese and cottage cheese
  • Beans, lentils, hummus, and falafel
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Edamame
  • Tofu and tempeh
  • Plant-based meat substitutes

Bonus lean protein recipe

Apple Mustard Pork Chops

Prep Time: 6 hours Servings: 4 Cook Time: 20 minutes

Apple Mustard Pork Chops

Image and recipe courtesy American Diabetes Association


  • 4 pork chops (bone-in, about 1/2 inch thick)
  • 1 shallots (finely minced)
  • 2 clove garlic (finely minced)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp coarse Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup apple juice (no sugar added)
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme (finely minced)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp salt


  1. Trim the pork chops of excess fat.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients to a large bowl or zip-top bag. Add the pork chops and turn to coat. Let the pork chops marinate for 6 to 8 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. Remove the pork chops from the marinade, and add the excess marinade to a small saucepan. Set the marinade aside.
  4. Coat a grill rack from an outdoor gas grill with cooking spray and set it 6 inches from the heat source. Preheat the grill to medium heat.
  5. Add the pork chops to the grill, and sear on each side for about 3 minutes. Then cover the grill and cook for about 15 minutes until the chops register 145 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Remove the chops from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes (to retain the juices) before serving.
  6. Heat the excess marinade on medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Serve the heated marinade over the pork chops.

Fill one quarter of your plate with carbohydrate foods

Foods that are higher in carbohydrate include grains, starchy vegetables, beans and legumes, fruit, yogurt, and milk. These foods have the greatest effect on blood sugar.

Limiting your portion of carbohydrate foods to one quarter of your plate can help keep blood sugars from rising too high after meals.

Examples of carbohydrate foods

  • Brown rice
  • Bulgur
  • Oats/oatmeal
  • Polenta
  • Popcorn
  • Quinoa
  • Whole grain products such as bread, pasta, tortillas
  • Acorn squash
  • Butternut squash
  • Green peas
  • Parsnips
  • Plantain
  • Potato and sweet potato/yam
  • Beans and legumes such as black, kidney, pinto, and garbanzo beans
  • Fruits and dried fruit
  • Dairy products like milk, yogurt, and milk substitutes (i.e. soy milk)

Bonus carbohydrate recipe

Slow-Cooker Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

Prep Time: 15 minutes Servings: 4 Cook Time: 6 hours

Slow-Cooker Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

Image and recipe courtesy American Diabetes Association


  • 1 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 lbs large sweet potatoes (peeled and sliced into large rounds)
  • 1 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp Splenda Brown Sugar blend
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 bay leaves
  • 4 cups fresh or frozen broccoli and cauliflower florets (steamed)


  1. Place chicken in a slow cooker. Top chicken with onions and sweet potatoes.
  2. Add the chicken broth, brown sugar blend, thyme, mustard, and bay leaf. Cook on low for 5-6 hours or until chicken is done.
  3. Remove bay leaf and serve with broccoli and cauliflower.
  • Ann C
    Posted at 18:00h, 21 November

    Excellent info!

  • William jacobs
    Posted at 10:21h, 21 November


  • Jennifer Price
    Posted at 19:16h, 20 November

    Thank you for providing the information.

  • Jennifer Price
    Posted at 19:14h, 20 November

    Good advice

  • Jennifer Price
    Posted at 19:14h, 20 November

    Will try out these receipes, thank you.

  • Jennifer Price
    Posted at 19:13h, 20 November

    Thank you.

  • Katherine J Crawford
    Posted at 09:10h, 19 November

    Thank you .

  • Michelle Baker
    Posted at 14:43h, 18 November

    Need to try some of these recipes.

  • Paula jernigan
    Posted at 13:18h, 18 November


  • LaChelle Rininger
    Posted at 13:09h, 18 November

    Do they know what is going on here?

  • Kelli Blanks
    Posted at 10:03h, 18 November


  • Tee
    Posted at 06:45h, 18 November

    Good information

  • June Rhyne
    Posted at 23:07h, 17 November

    The plate method is good. Recipe I’m going to do! Thank you

  • Brenda Watkins
    Posted at 15:55h, 17 November

    Thank you

  • Harold T McNeil
    Posted at 13:36h, 17 November

    I like the information presented.

  • Alicia Green
    Posted at 11:04h, 17 November

    Never heard of cucumber peas before. Great recipes. Thanks!!

  • Mandy Burkhalter
    Posted at 09:35h, 17 November

    I’m not a big veggie eater that’s another downfall for me

  • Deborah Beaty
    Posted at 06:19h, 17 November

    Good advice

  • Joseph C Keller
    Posted at 23:25h, 16 November

    Absolutely thanks

  • Trevor D Gamble
    Posted at 19:37h, 16 November


  • Brittany Arthur
    Posted at 15:01h, 16 November

    Thanks for the info

    Posted at 11:03h, 16 November


1 32 33 34