The DPP Diet and Coaching for Prediabetes

The DPP Diet and Coaching for Prediabetes

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, have developed a program with diet and lifestyle changes that has been shown among prediabetes patients to reduce the risk of developing diabetes by over 50%. This program is the Diabetes Prevention Program, or DPP.

Each DPP program includes a year-long lifestyle change curriculum delivered via lessons put together by the CDC. Lesson topics include nutrition, physical activity, managing stress, and fitting your healthy choices into your and your family’s lifestyle.

You can find an in-person DPP program to attend, or see whether you are eligible for a digital program. Lark Health Coach, for example, is a CDC DPP program that delivers the program via your smartphone, on your time. Lark also helps with tracking weight, food, and exercise, and customizes the program according to preferences such as low-carb, gluten-free, or vegan.

Lark’s prediabetes diet recommendations are consistent with the DPP and include recommendations based off evidence from diets such as the DASH diet and Mediterranean patterns. Your Lark coach, for example, might suggest:

·      Choosing fruit instead of dessert.

·      Steaming, baking, or grilling instead of frying.

·      Using olive oil instead of butter or shortening.

·      Trying plant-based proteins or fish sometimes instead of red meat.

·      Enjoying your meals and having them in a pleasant environment.


Balanced DPP Healthy Diet for Prediabetes

Foods to Emphasize


·  Vegetables

·  Fish and shellfish

·  Plant-based proteins, such as beans, peas, lentils, tofu, and nuts

·  Whole grains and whole-grain products

·  Healthy fats such as olive oil and avocado

·  Fresh fruit

·  Spices and herbs

(In Moderation)

·  Starchy vegetables (e.g., peas, winter squash, corn, and sweet potatoes)

·  Lean animal proteins, such as skinless poultry and eggs.

·  Reduced-fat dairy products, such as low-fat cheese and fat-free cottage cheese and plain yogurt.

·  Water and other low-calorie, hydrating beverages such as decaffeinated green tea.

·  Has been shown to lower insulin resistance and blood glucose levels (A1c) among individuals with diabetes and prediabetes.

·  Based on eating patterns shown to have health benefits such as lowering blood pressure, improving cholesterol levels, and

·  Can aid in weight loss due to:

o   Reminding you to weigh in.

o   Calorie reduction by swapping low-calorie foods such as lean proteins and vegetables, and having smaller portions

o   Swapping empty calories for high-fiber choices such as fruit and whole grains.

· Simplifies your diet with reminders, tracking, and suggestions for small changes.

· Better potential for long-term success due to allowances for special occasions and cravings.

Foods to Limit or Avoid


·  Processed meats

·  Fried foods

·  Fatty red meat and poultry with skin

·  Solid fats (e.g., lard and butter)

·  Refined grains (e.g., white bread, pasta, rice, and crackers, and refined cereals)

·  Sweets (e.g., candy, cake, ice cream, pie, pastries, and cookies)

·  Sugar-sweetened beverages, (e.g., soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, and sugar-sweetened coffee and tea beverages)

·  Alcoholic beverages and mixed drinks

·  Sugar-sweetened foods, such as flavored yogurt and oatmeal, and sugary condiments

·  Dried fruit and fruit juice

·      Is less focused on counting calories and grams of carbohydrate, fat, and protein grams – some people prefer to count.

·  Is not a prescriptive meal plan, so users must decide what to eat rather than expecting to be told what to have at each meal and snack (but you can use the meal plan on this page as a model!).



Sample Diet Plans for Prediabetes

The prediabetes diet plans below are designed to help you lose weight, improve your blood sugar control and overall health, and be easy to follow. Each plan has about 1,200 to 1,400 calories per day. If you need more, you can add in one or more of the healthy snack options listed below the menus. There is are one-week menus for a low-carb ketogenic diet and for a balanced, DPP-based prediabetes diet, and snacks listed for both types of diets.

Be sure to:

·      Drink plenty of water.

·      Check with your doctor before starting the plan.

·      Modify the plan to meet your dietary needs and preferences.

Low-Carb Ketogenic Prediabetes Menu











½ recipe of Egg Bake with 2 eggs and 4 egg whites, 1 cup cooked, spinach, 4 oz. blue cheese, 2 oz. all-natural turkey bacon, and Italian seasoning.

Tofu scramble with ½ diced bell pepper and onion cooked in 2 tsp. olive oil. Add cumin, paprika, and pepper, plus ½ block firm tofu, pressed. Serve with ½ avocado.

Omelet with 1 egg and 2 egg whites, 2 oz. swiss cheese, 2 oz. natural turkey, ½ cup kale, and 1 sliced Roma tomato.

½ cup of cottage cheese with 1 oz. sunflower seeds and ½ cup of sliced strawberries.

Cauliflower Turkey Hash (Recipe)

Crustless Fritatta (Recipe)

Scrambled eggs with 4 egg whites, 2 T. milk, 2 tsp. olive oil, 1 cup mushrooms, 2 oz. feta cheese, and ¼ cup sliced olives.


Hummus Chicken Salad with 3 ounces baked chicken breast, ¼ cup of hummus, diced celery, bell pepper, and green onion, black pepper, and lemon juice, in a lettuce wrap.

1 oz. nuts

Chopped salad with 2 cups lettuce, 1 sliced hard-boiled egg, 3 oz. cooked ground turkey, 1 oz. cheddar cheese cubes, ½ cup diced cucumber, 2 tsp. olive oil, balsamic vinegar.

Portabello Tuna Melts with 2 portabello mushrooms for bread, topped with ½ cup of tuna, ½ cup sliced red peppers, and 2 oz. (1 oz. per mushroom) of cheese.

Chicken salad with 3 oz. of cooked chicken breast, 3 cups of spinach or romaine lettuce, ½ cup sliced mushrooms, 1 oz. sliced almonds, and 2 T. low-carb dressing.

Avocado Soup: ½ recipe made by blending 2 avocados with 2 cups of chicken broth and ¼ cup lime juice. Add 1 diced tomato, red pepper flakes, cilantro, and pepper to taste, and top each serving with 1 oz. shredded cheddar.

1 cup of celery sticks with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter; 1 hard-boiled egg; ½ cup of strawberries

4 oz. of cooked, shredded chicken breast mixed with ¼ cup fat-free yogurt, 2 tablespoons sliced celery, 1 oz. shredded cheddar, and 1 cup of cooked, cubed cauliflower.


“Naked” burger with 4 oz. ground turkey, 1 oz. swiss cheese, lettuce, sliced tomato, and ¼ sliced avocado.

1 cup baked zucchini “fries” with drizzle of olive oil.

4 oz. baked salmon topped with a mixture of 1 oz. parmesan cheese, 2 tsp. olive oil, and 2 tablespoons ground almonds.

1 cup broccoli florets.

Chicken Chili


Meatballs with Zoodles

Spiralize or grate a large zucchini. Cook in a pan. Toss with ½ cup tomato sauce, mix with 3 ounces cooked ground turkey formed into meatballs, and top with 1 oz. parmesan cheese.

Chicken Stir Fry

½ recipe of 8 ounces skinless chicken breast strips stir fried in 1 T. sesame oil with sliced ginger and low-sodium soy sauce, 1 cup bell pepper strips, ½ cup each sliced carrots, bean sprouts, and bok choy, and 2 oz. of cashews

1 cup cooked broccoli florets mixed with 1 egg, 2 ounces of natural turkey, and 2 ounces of cheddar cheese, all baked until the egg is set.


½ recipe of eggplant lasagna with 1 sliced eggplant layered with tomatoes, basil leaves, Italian spices, 2 ounces of mozzarella cheese, and 6 ounces of ground turkey.

Add snacks as needed

Low-Carb Ketogenic Recipes

Cauliflower Turkey Hash

(Serves 4)


1 lb. cooked fresh or frozen cauliflower, chopped

1 lb. lean ground turkey

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

½ teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon pepper

4 eggs


Heat the oil in a pan. Add the onion and ground turkey; stir until the turkey is browned. Add the spices and cauliflower. Add the eggs and stir until the eggs are cooked.

Spinach Cheddar Frittata

(Serves 4)


1 tablespoon of olive oil

10 oz. frozen cooked or fresh spinach

8 oz. sliced zucchini

4 eggs plus 8 egg whites

4 oz. cheddar cheese


Cook the vegetables in a hot pan with oil. Mix with the eggs and cheese. Pour into a greased pan, and bake at 400 degrees until the eggs are set, or about 25 minutes.

Chicken Chili

(Serves 4)


1 lb. chicken breast, cubed or shredded

1 T. olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup low-sodium canned white beans

½ teaspoon cumin

½ cup fresh cilantro

2 oz. shredded cheese

1 avocado, sliced


Heat the oil in a pan and add the chicken, garlic, onion, and jalapeno. Cook. Add the broth, beans, and cumin, bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the cilantro. Serve, topped with cheese and avocado.

Low-Carb Ketogenic Snacks

¼ cup cantaloupe and 1 string cheese stick

1 cup cucumber sticks and ½ cup plain Greek yogurt

1 oz. almonds

1 cup bell pepper strips and 2 tablespoons hummus

1 string cheese stick or 1 oz. other cheese

1 hard-boiled egg

1 cup cooked broccoli florets with 1 oz. cheese melted on top

1 oz. unsweetened 100% dark chocolate

Caprese salad with 1 oz. mozzarella cheese in small cubes, plus ½ cup cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and 1 teaspoon of olive oil

½ can tuna mixed with 2 tablespoons of yogurt and 1 tablespoon of diced celery, spread on hollowed-out cucumber halves or hard-boiled egg white halves.

1 small avocado

Mini skewers with 2 oz. of skinless cooked chicken breast and 1 oz. of mozzarella cheese, both cubed, and button mushrooms.

Balanced DPP Prediabetes Menu











½ cup oatmeal made with skim milk, topped with ½ cup strawberries and ½ oz. walnuts

1 whole grain English muffin with 2 tablespoons peanut butter and ¾ cup blueberries

Breakfast bowl with 1 cup cubed cantaloupe, ½ cup non-fat cottage cheese, 2 T. sunflower seeds, and ½ cup low-sugar whole-grain cereal, such as Cheerios

4 egg whites scrambled with milk, 1 cup spinach leaves, ½ cup tomatoes, and 1 oz. shredded cheddar cheese.

1 slice whole-wheat toast

¾ cup unsweetened whole-grain cereal (such as shredded wheat) with 1 cup milk and 1 sliced banana

1 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt with 1 cup fresh or frozen peaches and ½ oz. of walnuts or pecans and 1/3 cup of oats

Oatmeal Pancakes


Plus 1 poached egg and ½ cup berries


Quinoa Salad


Tuna Melt (1/2 recipe)

Mix a 5-oz. can of tuna with 2 T. fat-free plain yogurt, 1 T. each lemon juice and diced chives and celery. Divide between 2 slices of whole-grain toast. Add sliced tomatoes and 1 oz cheese (per slice). Toast or broil until cheese is melted. Serve with 1 orange.

Greek Salad

2 cups of chopped Romaine lettuce, plus 2 oz. feta, 1 T. diced red onion, 1 each chopped tomato and cucumber, ½ cup cooked whole-grain pasta shells, dash of dried oregano, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 2 tsp. olive oil, and squeeze of lemon juice.


1 hard-boiled egg, 1 cup of baby carrots or carrot sticks with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, 3 cups of air-popped popcorn, 2 tangerines

Pita Hummus Pocket

1 small whole-wheat pita in halves spread with 2 T.  hummus and stuffed with 3 oz. cooked chicken or fish and 1 cup of vegetables such as lettuce, bell pepper, mushrooms, tomatoes, or sprouts.


1 medium whole-grain tortilla with ½ cup fat-free refried beans, 1 oz. low-fat cheddar or jack cheese, 2 T. salsa, 2 T. fat-free yogurt or sour cream, shredded lettuce and diced tomato and ¼ cup sliced avocado.

1 whole-grain mini bagel spread with ¼ cup avocado, with 2 oz. of natural turkey, lettuce, tomato, and mustard; ½ cup non-fat cottage cheese; 1 cup of cut fruit.


Meatless Monday – Shepherd’s Pie (Recipe)


3 oz. chicken breast stewed with 2 T. broth, ½ cup carrots, 1 cup mushrooms. Serve with ½ baked acorn squash.

1 large pear.

Soft Tacos

2 small whole-wheat tortillas stuffed with: 3 oz. lean ground turkey with Mexican or taco seasoning, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and 1 oz. of shredded Cheddar cheese.


3 oz. baked salmon with 1 cup green beans topped with ½ oz. slivered almonds and ½ cup cooked brown rice.

1 cup watermelon cubes

Chicken and Pasta

½ cup cooked whole-grain pasta tossed with 3 oz. cooked chicken, 2 tsp. olive oil, ¼ cup parmesan cheese, ½ oz. walnuts, and 1 cup spinach.


Turkey Burger

3 oz. lean ground turkey patty on a whole-grain bun, lettuce, mustard, tomato, and ¼ avocado.

1 cup baked asparagus spears


1 whole-grain English muffin or small (2 oz.) bagel in halves, topped with tomato or pizza sauce, 2 oz. mozzarella cheese, and as many vegetables as you can pack on!

1 apple

Add snacks as needed