Diabetes-Friendly Meal Plan for High Blood Pressure

Chickpea Pasta with Mushrooms & Kale

Greg DuPree

If you’re one of the 37 million people in the United States with type 2 diabetes, you’ve likely been told to keep an eye on both your blood sugars and your heart health. But why? As it turns out, people with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to be diagnosed with heart disease compared to their counterparts. Plus, 2 out of 3 people with diabetes are diagnosed with high blood pressure.

Though the stats can be alarming, there are steps we can take to lower our risk. First, aim to follow a healthy and balanced diet that includes plenty of heart-healthy potassium and fiber, while limiting foods with excess sodium, simple carbs and added sugars. Aim for good blood sugar control and incorporate regular exercise with the ultimate goal of at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise.

Related: Best and Worst Foods for Healthy Blood Pressure

Lastly, if you’re overweight, losing weight can help improve your blood sugars and protect your heart. We set this plan at 1,500 calories per day, which is a level where most people will lose weight, plus included modifications for 1,200 and 2,000 calories per day, depending on your calorie needs.

How Does Diabetes Impact Blood Pressure?

Untreated or unmanaged diabetes leads to chronically high blood sugars. When excess sugar is circulating through our blood, eventually our small blood vessels are damaged. When our blood vessels are injured, they stiffen and narrow, which eventually leads to high blood pressure. Because both diabetes and high blood pressure can be present without obvious symptoms, it’s best to seek regular and preventive medical care with your primary care provider. Of course, living a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and a nutritious diet is a great prevention strategy too!

Diabetes-Friendly Foods to Focus on for High Blood Pressure:

  • Fish and shellfish

  • Poultry

  • Eggs

  • Beans and lentils

  • Leafy greens

  • Tomatoes

  • Broccoli and cauliflower

  • Oranges

  • Berries

  • Avocado

  • Potato and sweet potato

  • Winter squash (such as butternut, acorn, delicata)

  • Nuts and seeds, including natural nut butters

  • Yogurt and kefir

  • Olives and olive oil

  • Whole grains (oats, quinoa, barley)

How to Meal-Prep Your Week of Meals:

  1. Prepare Spinach & Strawberry Meal-Prep Salad to have for lunch on Days 2 through 5.

Day 1

chicken apple kale wraps

Breakfast (439 calories, 32g carbohydrate)

A.M. Snack (116 calories, 4g carbohydrate)

Lunch (400 calories, 41g carbohydrate)

P.M. Snack (62 calories, 14g carbohydrate)

  • 1 cup blackberries

Dinner (477 calories, 45g carbohydrate)

Daily Totals: 1,494 calories, 88g protein, 136g carbohydrate, 33g fiber, 71g fat, 1,161mg sodium

To make it 1,200 calories: Change A.M. snack to 1/4 cup sliced cucumbers and omit the quinoa at dinner.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 20 dried walnut halves to P.M. snack and add 1 serving Guacamole Chopped Salad to dinner.

Day 2

Sheet-Pan Poblano-&-Corn Chicken Fajitas

Photographer / Antonis Achilleos, Prop Stylist / Christine Kelly, Food Stylist / Karen Rankin

Breakfast (344 calories, 50g carbohydrate)

A.M. Snack (206 calories, 7g carbohydrate)

Lunch (417 calories, 25g carbohydrate)

P.M. Snack (30 calories, 8g carbohydrate)

Dinner (500 calories, 38g carbohydrate)

Daily Totals: 1,498 calories, 83g protein, 128g carbohydrate, 30g fiber, 80g fat, 1,626mg sodium

To make it 1,200 calories: Omit kefir at breakfast and change A.M. snack to 1/4 cup blackberries.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 medium peach to A.M. snack, add 1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup chopped walnuts to P.M. snack, and add 1/4 cup guacamole to dinner.

Day 3

Chickpea Pasta with Mushrooms & Kale

Greg DuPree

Breakfast (368 calories, 26g carbohydrate)

A.M. Snack (200 calories, 28g carbohydrate)

Lunch (417 calories, 25g carbohydrate)

P.M. Snack (32 calories, 7g carbohydrate)

  • ½ cup raspberries

Dinner (488 calories, 41g carbohydrate)

Daily Totals: 1,504 calories, 77g protein, 128g carbohydrate, 32g fiber, 84g fat, 1,245mg sodium

To make it 1,200 calories: Change A.M. snack to 1 plum and omit the side salad at dinner.

To make it 2,000 calories: Increase to 3 Tbsp. natural peanut butter at A.M. snack and add 1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds to P.M. snack.

Day 4

spinach and strawberry meal-prep salad

Carolyn Hodges, M.S., RDN

Breakfast (344 calories, 50g carbohydrate)

A.M. Snack (62 calories, 14g carbohydrate)

  • 1 cup blackberries

Lunch (417 calories, 25g carbohydrate)

P.M. Snack (206 calories, 7g carbohydrate)

Dinner (458 calories, 45g carbohydrate)

Daily Totals: 1,487 calories, 87g protein, 141g carbohydrate, 33g fiber, 69g fat, 1,368mg sodium

To make it 1,200 calories: Omit kefir at breakfast and change P.M. snack to 1/4 cup sliced cucumber.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 20 dried walnut halves to A.M. snack and add 1 serving Guacamole Chopped Salad to dinner.

Day 5

Zucchini-Chickpea Veggie Burgers with Tahini-Ranch Sauce

Jamie Vespa, M.S., RD

Breakfast (368 calories, 26g carbohydrate)

A.M. Snack (62 calories, 14g carbohydrate)

  • 1 cup blackberries

Lunch (417 calories, 25g carbohydrate)

P.M. Snack (116 calories, 4g carbohydrate)

Dinner (529 calories, 51g carbohydrate)

Daily Totals: 1,491 calories, 75g protein, 120g carbohydrate, 30g fiber, 85g fat, 1,359mg sodium

To make it 1,200 calories: Omit walnuts at breakfast, reduce to 1/2 cup blackberries at A.M. snack, and change P.M. snack to 1/4 cup sliced cucumber.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 15 dried walnut halves to A.M. snack and add 1 avocado, sliced, to dinner.

Day 6

Chicken Hummus Bowls

Breakfast (344 calories, 50g carbohydrate)

A.M. Snack (196 calories, 4g carbohydrate)

  • 15 dried walnut halves

Lunch (343 calories, 29g carbohydrate)

P.M. Snack (145 calories, 12g carbohydrate)

Dinner (485 calories, 27g carbohydrate)

Daily Totals: 1,513 calories, 92g protein, 122g carbohydrate, 34g fiber, 82g fat, 1,450mg sodium

To make it 1,200 calories: Omit kefir at breakfast, change A.M. snack to 1 plum, and reduce yogurt to 1/2 cup at P.M. snack.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 serving Everything Bagel Avocado Toast to lunch, add 20 unsalted dry-roasted almonds to P.M. snack, and add 2 cups mixed greens and 1 serving Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette to dinner.

Day 7

green salad with edamame and beets

Katie Webster

Breakfast (439 calories, 32g carbohydrate)

A.M. Snack (154 calories, 5g carbohydrate)

Lunch (343 calories, 29g carbohydrate)

P.M. Snack (76 calories, 11g carbohydrate)

Dinner (478 calories, 44g carbohydrate)

Daily Totals: 1,490 calories, 92g protein, 121g carbohydrate, 32g fiber, 75g fat, 1,342mg sodium

To make it 1,200 calories: Omit apple at breakfast, change A.M. snack to 1/4 cup blueberries, and omit kefir at P.M. snack.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter to breakfast, add 1 serving Everything Bagel Avocado Toast to lunch, and add 10 dried walnut halves to P.M. snack.