If you've been diagnosed with diabetes, your dietitian may recommend a diabetic exchange plan. Learn how to use a diabetic exchange menu for your diabetic meal planning.
A diabetic exchange diet is meant to ensure that you get just the right balance of carbohydrates, fats and proteins throughout the day to keep your blood sugar under control. Your dietitian will determine your specific nutritional and caloric requirements and create a unique diabetic exchange plan for you.
In a diabetic exchange plan, all foods belong to one of six food groups:
All exchange diets follow a diabetic exchange menu based on these six categories. Foods are grouped, and serving sizes determined according to calories, carbohydrate content, fat content and protein content.
When following a diabetic exchange plan, diabetics are allowed a certain number of exchange choices from each list, for each meal and snack daily.
In all lists except fruits, you may be able to double or triple choices to create a serving. For example, if you are allowed three meat exchanges at dinner, and one meat exchange is an ounce of meat, you'd be allowed a 3-ounce hamburger.
Some foods are considered "free foods" because the amount of calories and carbohydrate is so small. You can have as much of these foods as you'd like.
You can substitute foods within an exchange list, but never between exchange lists, even if they have the same calorie count. For example, you could have yogurt instead of milk for your milk requirement, because they are both on the milk list. However, you can't have chicken instead of milk, because chicken is on the meat exchange list.
The exact number of exchanges allowed in your diabetic meal planning each day will be determined by health factors like activity level, medications and weight.
HealthCentral Network. (2010). How to use exchange lists. Retrieved June 8, 2010, from http://www.healthcentral.com/diabetes/diet-000042_6-145.html.
Mayo Clinic. (2010). Your diabetes diet: Exchange lists. Retrieved June 8, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetes-diet/da00077.
information on health-related topics, not medical advice, diagnosis or
treatment recommendations. Please consult your physician if you have questions