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Avoid the Fast Food Trap: 6 Easy Lunches for People with Type 2 Diabetes

  • author name Gabrielle Nichisti, RD, LDN
Mason jar salad

Breakfast usually takes the spotlight as the most important meal of the day. But what about lunch? Check out these 6 easy, type 2 diabetes-friendly lunch options that are great for everyone. Prepare them at home and avoid the fast food trap. Not only will you eat healthier, you’ll save money!


Salads are a great way to help reach your daily vegetables goals. They are easy to prepare and full of variety depending on your toppings. 

Salad in a jar

It’s easier than ever to prepare salads to-go. Start with a mason jar and put your wet ingredients (like dressing) on the bottom. Follow with a few ingredients that have some crunch and generally won’t absorb the dressing such as celery, radishes, carrots, apples and pears. The next layer could be a protein source like sliced hard boiled eggs, nuts, cheese, or lean meats. Lastly, add your greens to the top to keep them fresh and…voila! You have a salad in a jar. Shake it up when you’re ready to eat it or empty the contents onto a plate or bowl in perfect order. 


Soup is a great option for lunch as it is usually a wonder blend of carbohydrates, protein, and vegetables. However, be sure to note the sodium content. Soup prepared from scratch where you control the sodium is your best bet. Also, try to avoid soups with a cream base as this raises the fat and calorie content a bit too high. Since soup freezes well, take the time to make a big batch and freeze it in individual portions. You will thank yourself for the time saver later, and also feel good about your healthy lunch choice. 


Bread often gets a bad rap among people with diabetes, but it doesn’t have to. When you choose the right bread (one that’s full of whole grains), it’s a great and easy way to contribute to your fiber intake. Your daily fiber intake should be well over 25 grams/day, so look for bread that has at least 3 grams of fiber per slice, and then fill the center with lean proteins and some raw veggies for added crunch.     


If you are already making the effort to prepare a healthy dinner, why not make a little extra for lunch the next day? You can plate up a container before you even put dinner on the table, then you don’t have to think about it again.


Like bread, pasta also gets a bad rap among people with diabetes. However, pasta can be used in a healthy way that won’t negatively affect blood sugars. Try using a whole grain or high protein pasta, but be sure to measure it. Containers have measurements on them (check the bottom or sides), to help control how much pasta you are using. When part of well-balanced meal, limit to ½ - ¾ cup cooked, then add your toppings. Try to always add a vegetable and protein, such as grilled chicken and vegetables, or tomato sauce-Sauce) with meatballs. 

Tuna, Chicken, or Egg Salad

Tuna, chicken and egg salads are great protein options for lunch. Again, the key is to make your own so you can use a low-fat mayo and control the sodium content and additional ingredients. Add chopped celery, onion, peppers, or even fruit for some added bulk and crunch. If making egg salad, try only using one whole egg and 2-3 egg whites to limit the saturated fat content. These “salads” can be added to a sandwich in place of deli meat, be placed atop a bed of greens, or added to a handful of multigrain crackers.

author name

Gabrielle Nichisti, RD, LDN

Gabrielle Nichisti, RD, LDN, is a registered dietitian with the Diabetes and Nutrition Center at Lancaster General Health.

Education: A graduate of the Pennsylvania State University, Nichisti values both education and counseling to connect with her patients. Passionate about leading an enjoyable, healthy lifestyle, Nichisti strives to help others overcome obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Call: 717-544-5923

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.


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