1800 Calorie Diabetic Diet Plan

1800 calorie diabetic dietThe 1800 calorie diabetic diet plan is one of several popular diabetes diets. What is it? Who is it for? What is a sample example of the menu? Is it for me? Let’s take each question in turn.

Initially, please note that before beginning any diet, please check with your doctor and/or dietician. The 1800 calorie diet is simply eating no more than 1800 calories a day. To follow the diet, the American Diabetes Association recommends either using the exchange method of eating or carbohydrate counting. Often times this is referred to as an 1800 calorie ADA diet.

The exchange diet is simply a way of categorizing food into a healthy method of eating. Food that has approximately the same nutritional value (calories, carbohydrates, fats, and protein) is grouped together and can be exchanged for one another. The key to the system is based on specific portion or serving sizes for any given food’s nutritional value.

Carbohydrate Counting, on the other hand, is somewhat less restrictive than the exchange diet and focuses primarily on the amount of carbohydrates you eat. Carbs tend to raise blood sugar levels more than other foods, thus controlling their intake is important to controlling your blood sugar.

Both approaches view one serving of carbohydrates as 15 grams, about 1 slice of bread. One serving is approximately 65-80 calories. The 1800 calorie diet recommends that 50% of your calories should be in the form of carbohydrates, or approximately 11 servings of carbohydrates.

More on these approaches are discussed below.


The National Institute of Health lists the following approximate guidelines for people who may want to follow an 1800 calorie diet.

Large woman wanting to lose weight
Small man at a healthy weight
Medium sized man, low exercise habits
Medium to large man who wants to lose weight

Again, each person is different, so consult a doctor to make sure it is right for you.


1800-calorie-planWhile we are happy to provide the example below of a 1800 calorie meal plan, this won’t help you all that much unless you don’t mind eating the same thing every day. You need something more.

If you don’t want to go it alone, check out the 36 week meal plan system put together by NutriDIET Pro (Axxya Inc.). This company is an expert in developing meal plans, not only for consumers, but seasoned Registered Dieticians as well. In fact, NutriDIET has been helping professional dieticians formulate meal plans for over 20 years!

The Axxya 1800 calorie meal plans program has the following advantages:

    Recognized Nutritional Expertise (they are not a fad diet program)
    Different Food styles (Asian, Italian, Spanish, Indian)
    Different Eating Styles (heart healthy, vegetarian, etc.)
    Recipes are designed to use foods you can easily find in your grocery store.


Any given menu will depend on your personal tastes in food and whether you are following an exchange plan or carb counting. Regardless of the plan, the diet is typically 50 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent fat and 20 percent protein.

Here is an example of what this would look like if you were following the exchange diet.


Breakfast Lunch Dinner Snacks (2) Total

Now, the next question is how this would translate into an actual meal plan. Let’s take a look at an actual 1800 calorie diet menu plan.


Breakfast Exchange Lunch Exchange Dinner Exchange
1 Cup Cooked Cereal 2 Starch 1 Cup Romaine LettuceFree 3 oz. Baked Haddock (olive oil brush)3 Meat/1 Fat
1 Cup Skim Milk1 Milk 1/2 Cup Carrots1 Veggie 1 Cup Brown Rice2 Starch
1/4 Cup Cottage Cheese1 Meat 1/4 Cup tomatoes1 Veggie 1 Cup Steamed Broccoli2 Veggie
3/4 Cup Blueberries1 Fruit 2 Tbs. Pinenuts2 Fat 1 1/3 Cup Strawberries1 Fruit
Coffee or TeaFree 2 oz. 95% Fat Free lunchmeat2 Meat 2 Walnuts1 Fat
2 Slices Red. Calorie Bread2 Starch 1/2 Cup Frozen Yogurt, nonfat, sugar free1 Starch


Snack 1 Exchange Snack 2 Exchange
15 Grapes 1 Fruit 8 oz. Nonfat Plain Yogurt1 Milk
2 Rice Cakes1 Starch 3 Gingersnaps1 Starch

With this meal plan the exchanges are appropriate, but the calories are approximate.


If you seem to fit into one of the categories listed above, then the diet probably is right for you. While restrictive in the calorie sense, you certainly have a lot of choices when it comes to which foods you are going to eat.

Also, remember that the diet is not simply a sum of its parts. Meaning, you need to design the meals in such a manner as to spread the various food groups across the day so you do not “spike” your blood sugar. For example, if your diet calls for 11 carb helpings a day, you cannot simply eat all 11 at once. Your blood sugar would spike too much. The servings need to be spread throughout the day.

Hopefully, this article helped you decide if the 1800 calorie diabetic diet plan is right for you.


What I need to know about eating, NIH.gov (accessed May 2013)
By Erich Schultz, Last Reviewed May 2013.