12 Easy Lunch Ideas for Type 2 Diabetes


1. Green Salad With Quinoa and Low-Sugar Dressing


It doesn’t get much easier — or healthier — than a lunchtime salad.

Start with 1 cup of greens, such as spinach, kale, or romaine lettuce. Add in another cup of nonstarchy veggies, like carrots, tomatoes, or sweet peppers. “Anything crunchy and in season makes a good addition,” says New York City–based Sandra Arévalo, MPH, RDN, a spokesperson for the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists (ADCES). Then add 2/3 cup of cooked quinoa, which will provide 5 g of protein, per the USDA. Finally, drizzle 1 tbsp of your salad dressing of choice (Arévalo suggests balsamic vinaigrette) over everything. However, be sure you steer clear of dressings high in sugar. Check the nutrition label, and choose one with no more than 5 g of sugar per serving, Arévalo says.

Calories 257.5

Carbs 40.7 g


2. Lean Meat and Cheese Sandwich on Whole-Grain Bread


Sandwiches can be a quick, diabetes-friendly lunch option as long as you’re smart about your choice of bread.

Choose a bread that’s flat. “Bagels and rolls have too many calories and carbs,” Arévalo explains. Also, check that it’s 100 percent whole grain with roughly 30 g or fewer of carbs per serving, says Swift.

If you need condiments, avoid butter, mayo, and ketchup, which tend to add unnecessary calories and fat; opt for mustard instead, Arévalo says. Top your bread with two slices of lean meat, like turkey or chicken breast, and 1 ounce (oz) of low-fat mozzarella or Swiss cheese (these are naturally low in sodium, the Cleveland Clinic notes). Keep in mind that lunch meat can be high in sodium and fat, Swift warns. “Aim for lunch meats that have less than 250 milligrams (mg) of sodium and less than 3 g of fat per serving,” she says. Swift recommends Dietz & Watson No Salt Added Turkey Breast and Simple Truth Organic Smoked Turkey Breast.

Don’t forget to add some crunch — not to mention vitamins, minerals, and fiber — with a few slices of romaine lettuce and tomato.

Calories 292.6

Carbs 35.3 g