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How to make a simple plan for managing type 2 diabetes

Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can feel like a setback at first. But identifying the problem brings you closer to the solution. Knowing what you’re up against means you can make a plan to get your health back under control and set a course for improved health.

Here are some tips to help you get started.

1. Consult your doctor regularly

This should always be your first step. Doctors and specialists can assess your state of health, recommend optimal treatment, and provide professional advice on your next steps.

When you first get diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you may not be prescribed medication immediately. Depending on your state of health, your doctor may recommend that you start off by modifying lifestyle factors, namely diet and exercise1.

When you are prescribed treatment, it’s important to stick to the plan as closely as possible2. Medication works best when taken as intended, giving your body the best chance to respond accordingly. Some medications may also come with side-effects like nausea, which will also need to be managed3. However, everyone’s physiology and reaction to medications may vary.

Download our question guide here.

2. Make a meal plan

Nutrition is a crucial step, whether you’re already on medication or not. By planning your meals, and testing your blood sugar afterwards, you reduce the variables, making diabetes management a much simpler process.
High blood sugar is toxic for your arteries4,5. Therefore, the more effectively you can balance your blood sugar levels, the less stress you put on your body, thus improving your long-term health4.

For some people, it may be possible to manage type 2 diabetes through lifestyle factors alone. If nutrition is managed effectively early on, sometimes it can take years before medicinal intervention is required1,6.

Your doctor may be able to put you in touch with a qualified nutritionist. While you’re at it, why not check out the Novo Nordisk Cookbook? It’s full of healthy recipes and free to download.

Learn more about how to eat to better manage your diabetes.

3. Write things down

By keeping track of what you eat, as well as your blood sugar readings, it becomes much easier to review your progress each time you visit the doctor. It can also be empowering to increase your accountability and get a clear idea of how certain foods are impacting your health goals.

It may seem like a chore at first to keep a record of these details, but will soon become automatic to jot down a few quick notes at meal time.

4. Set sustainable goals

The key to staying motivated with any plan – whether it be fitness, a new diet, or even learning a new language – is to set achievable goals and maintain a sense of progress.

Reward yourself for the wins and be determined to bounce back from your setbacks. It won’t always go smoothly – diabetes is a progressive disease7 so it will keep throwing new challenges at you from time to time.

If you’re meeting your goals in the areas you can control, you know you’re doing everything you can. If your body isn’t responding to these methods, it may be time to change the approach. Your doctor will be able to recommend the best path forward.

5. Get comfortable with your routine

New habits can take a while to establish, but they become easier over time. When you first start actively managing your diabetes, it’s likely to feel like an adjustment and it’s possible you’ll forget a few things along the way. That’s okay. The key is to keep going. Even if you don’t see immediately results, trust in the plans put in place by your doctors and don’t punish yourself for minor setbacks.

6. Be prepared for ‘non-routine’ events

It’s one thing to be able to control the variables in your day-to-day life at home or at work. But life is full of adventures, not to mention obligatory events that disrupt your usual day-to-day routine. Things like dining out, parties, transit delays, and holidays can all pose new challenges to how you manage your diabetes.

It’s a good idea to carry a small pack of emergency snacks wherever you go, as well as any prescribed medication and a means of testing your blood sugar throughout the day8.

7. Don’t do it alone

Managing your health can feel overwhelming at times, so it helps to have people around you who can lighten the load. If family and friends can help you with meal preparation, driving you to the doctor, or simply carrying extra snacks in the event of a hypo (low blood sugar)3,7, every little bit of support helps you stay healthy and in control of managing your diabetes for years to come.

Of course, you should also keep professional help close at hand. Stay in regular contact with your doctor, nutritionist, and diabetes nurse.


Speak to your doctor to get a type 2 diabetes management plan that works for you. Not sure where to start? Download our doctor question guide.



  1. Committee ADAPP. 9. Pharmacologic Approaches to Glycemic Treatment: Standards of Care in Diabetes—2024. Diabetes Care. 2023;47:S158-S178. doi: 10.2337/dc24-S00
  2. Peyrot M, Barnett AH, Meneghini LF, et al. Insulin adherence behaviours and barriers in the multinational Global Attitudes of Patients and Physicians in Insulin Therapy study. Diabet Med. 2012; 29:682–689.
  3. Davies MJ, Aroda VR, Collins BS, et al. Management of hyperglycaemia in type 2 diabetes, 2022. A consensus report by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD). Diabetologia. 2022;65:1925-1966. doi: 10.1007/s00125-022-05787-2
  4. International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas (10th edition). Available at: https://diabetesatlas.org/ Last accessed: March 2024. 
  5. Beckman JA, Creager MA, Libby P. Diabetes and Atherosclerosis Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, and Management. JAMA. 2002;287:2570-2581. doi: 10.1001/jama.287.19.2570
  6. Committee ADAPP. 8. Obesity and Weight Management for the Prevention and Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes: Standards of Care in Diabetes–2024. Diabetes Care. 2023;47:S145-S157. doi: 10.2337/dc24-S008
  7. Committee ADAPP. 2. Diagnosis and Classification of Diabetes: Standards of Care in Diabetes—2024. Diabetes Care. 2023;47:S20-S42. doi: 10.2337/dc24-S002
  8. NIH. Low Blood Glucose (Hypoglycemia). Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/low-blood-glucose-hypoglycemia. Last accessed: March 2024. 

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