Diabetic Exchange Lists

imagesOur massive diabetic exchange lists make following your diet easy! Don’t guess at exchange values or waste time calculating them yourself. Our food exchange lists are easy to follow include the most popular foods around.

As you know, there are six categories of foods in the traditional diabetes food pyramid. We have organized our list to mirror these six categories.

Everyone also wants to know about free foods, such as coffee and tea. We will deal with each one of these categories in turn.

Please Note: All of the exchange values provided below are for illustration purposes only. Any given food item may be more or less depending upon the individual ingredients. The values provided are to help you plan your meals, but you should always review individual food labels to confirm exchange values.

To see how this all comes together you can check out an example such as the 1,800 calorie diabetic diet plan or the 1,500 calorie diabetic diet plan.

STARCHES AND BREADS DIABETIC EXCHANGE LISTS

One Exchange Value serving typically should conform to the following:

Calories: 80
Protien: 3 grams
Carbohydrates: 15 grams
Fat: minimal to none

When at all possible choose whole grain bread, pasta and cereal. Also, when evaluating breakfast cereals, make sure there is less than 5g of sugar per serving, otherwise you get “bumped up” into a higher number of exchange points.

You should also note that “starches” don’t just include the standard breads, pastas, and grains. They include high starch vegetables, such as potatoes, corn and some beans.

COMMON BREADS, ROLLS, PASTA, CEREAL LISTS

ItemServingItemServing
Bread (white, wheat, etc.)1 SliceEnglish Muffin1/2 Med.
Bread, Red. Cal. (40c per slice)2 SlicesBagel1/2 Med.
Bread, French/Italian1 SliceRoll, Dinner1 Small
Bread Crumbs3 Tbs. Roll, Hambuger1/2 Medium
Taco Shell1 Fat, 1 Starch Roll, Hot Dog1/2 Roll
Corn Tortilla1 Fat, 1 StarchCereal, cooked1/2 Cup
Bran, Concentrated1/3 CupPasta, cooked1/2 Cup

COMMON STARCHY VEGETABLES LISTS

ItemServingItemServing
Corn, kernals1/2 CupBeans, Lima1/2 Cup
Corn, cob (5 x 1 inch)1 Beans, split peas, lentils1/3 Cup cooked
Potato, mashed1/2 CupRoll, Dinner1 Small
Potato, baked1/2 MediumPumpkin3/4 Cup
Sweet Potato, mashed1/2 cup
Squash, Acorn3/4 Cup
Sweet Potato, baked1/2 MediumSquash, Winter3/4 Cup
Peas2/3 CupSquash, Butternut3/4 Cup

COMMON GRAINS DIABETIC EXCHANGE LISTS

ItemServingItem Serving
Rice, white, brown1/3 Cup cooked Barley, cooked1/4 Cup
Rice, arborio1/3 CupCornstarch2 Tbs.
Rice, basmati, wild1/3 Cup cookedCornmeal, uncooked2.5 Tbs.
Couscous1/2 Cup cookedFlour3 Tbs.
Kaska, cooked1/3 Cup Quinona, uncooked2 Tbs.

COMMON CRACKERS AND MISCELLANEOUS LISTS

ItemServingItemServing
Popcorn, popped, no fat3 CupsGinger Snaps3
Popcorn, popped, light3 Cups, 1 bread, 1 fatGraham Crackers3
Matzo, whole wheat7Melba Toast, rectangles5
Matzo, regular1Melba Toast, rounds5
Rice Cakes, whole2Saltines6
Rice Cakes, mini8Pretzels 3/4 oz.

FRUIT EXCHANGE LISTS

One Exchange Value serving typically should conform to the following:

Calories: 60
Protein: 0 grams
Carbohydrates: 15 grams
Fat: 0 grams

As expected fresh fruit is the optimal choice. If you must eat other types (canned, frozen, etc.), make sure there is no sugar added.

ItemServingItemServing
Apple1 smallApricots4 Medium
Applesauce, unsweet. 1/2 CupBanana, 9 inch1/2
Blackberries3/4 CupCantaloupe, sectioned1/3 melon
Blueberries3/4 CupCantaloupe, cubed1 cup
Boysenberries1 CupCherries, fresh12
Grapefruit, 4 inch1/2Dates3
Grapes15Figs2 small
Guava1.5 smallHoneydew Melon 6.5 inch1/8 Melon
Mango, whole1/2Honeydew Melon, cubed1 cup
Mango, cubed1/2 CupKiwifruit1 large
Lemon1 largePeach, 2.5 inch1
Orange, 3 inch1Pear1 small
Nectarine, 2.5 inch1 CupPapaya, 3.5 inch1/2
Pineapple, diced3/4 CupPapaya, cubed1 cup
Pineapple, canned1/3 CupPlum, 2 inch2
Pomegranate, 3.5 inch1/2Prunes, medium3
Rasberries1 CupRaisins2 Tbs.
Strawberries1 1/3 CupRhubarb, cubed3 cups
Tangerine, 2.5 inch2Watermelon, diced1 1/4 cup

COMMON FRUIT JUICES

ItemItemItemServing
Apple Juice, unsweet.4 oz. Lemon Juice, unsweet.6 oz.
Cranberry Juice, Low Cal.10 oz.Orange Juice, unsweet.4 oz.
Grape Juice, unsweet.4 oz.Pineapple, Juice, unsweet.4 oz.
Grapefruit Juice, unsweet.5 oz.Prune Juice, unsweet.3 oz.

VEGETABLE EXCHANGE LISTS

One Exchange Value serving typically should conform to the following:

Calories: 28
Protein: 2 grams
Carbohydrates 5 grams
Fat: 0 grams

Raw vegetables are considered the best choice, particularly dark leaf vegetables, such as spinach. Steaming vegetables is the next best preparation choice.

ItemServingItem Serving
Artichoke1/2Okra1/2 Cup
Asparagus, chopped1 CupOnion1/2 Cup
Bamboo Shoots1/2 CupPea Pods, snow1/2 Cup
Bean Sprouts1/2 Cup Pepper, green, red, yellow1 Cup
Beets1/2 CupRadishes1 Cup
Broccoli1/2 CupRutabagas1/2 Cup
Broccoli Rabe1/2 CupSauerkraut1/2 Cup
Brussels Sprouts1/2 CupScallions1/2 Cup
Cabbage1 CupSpinach, cooked1/2 Cup
Carrots1/2 CupSquash, Summer1 Cup
Cauliflower1 CupSquash, Zucchini1 Cup
Celery1 CupTomato1 medium
Collard Greens1 CupTomato, paste1.5 Tbs.
Egg Plant1/2 CupTomato, sauce, can1/3 Cup
Fennel, bulb1/2 CupTomato, juice1/2 Cup
Garlic5 clovesTurnips1/2 Cup
Green Beans1 Cupvegetables, mixed1/4 Cup
Kale1/2 CupVegetable, juice1/2 Cup
Leeks1/2 CupWax Beans1 Cup
Mushrooms, Fresh1 CupWater Chestnuts5 Whole
Mustard Greens, cooked1 CupChili Pepper5 small

LOW CARB AND LOW CAL VEGETABLE

Some vegetables have very little carbohydrates or calories. They are not technically “free” foods as outlined below, but if eaten raw they may be eaten in greater quantity. This does not mean you can eat 12 lettuce heads in one sitting, but generally you do not have to stress over the serving size like other foods.

Alfalfa SproutsLettuce
ChicoryParsley
Chinese CabbagePickes, unsweet.
CucumberPimiento
EndiveSpinach
EscaroleWatercress

MEAT AND MEAT SUBSTITUTES EXCHANGE LISTS

Meat and Meat Substitutes are a little more involved for determining One Exchange Value of any given serving. The conventional wisdom is that meat exchange values are determined based on their fat content as follows:

 NonfatLow FatMedium Fat Higher Fat
Calories 40-455575100
Protein7g7g7g7g
Carbohydrates0g0g0g0g
Fat0g3g5g8g

High fat meat choices should be rare occasions. If at all possible stick with low fat options. Also, avoid frying meat and try to bake, barbeque or broil when cooking.

If eating hamburger, you may also want to rinse the meat after you cook it. This will remove a tremendous amount of the fat. Lastly, trim any excess fat before cooking.

NO FAT MEAT AND MEAT SUBSTITUTES

ItemServing
Cheese, fat free1 oz.
Cottage Cheese, fat free1/4 Cup
Ricotta, 100% Skim1 oz.

The above diabetic exchange lists should get you started toward implementing your exchange diet. However, as you may have determined, many of the foods we eat come already prepared.

Initially, it will take some time to figure the appropriate exchange value, but the reward will be well worth it. Great health and feeling great!

LOW FAT MEAT AND MEAT SUBSTITUTES EXCHANGE LISTS

Item ServingItem Serving
Cottage Cheese, 1% Fat1/4 CupPork, tenderloin, trimmed1 oz.
Cheese, low fat1 oz.Poultry, chicken, no skin1 oz.
Beans, dried, cooked1/2 Cup (1 meat, 1 starch)Poultry, turkey, no skin1 oz.
Egg, substitute, raw 1/4 Cup (55 cal.)Ground Chicken1 oz.
Fish and Shellfish1 oz.Ground Turkey1 oz.
Tuna, water packed1/4 Cup Canadian Bacon1 oz.
Lunch Meat, 95% fat free1 oz.Tofu3 oz.

MEDIUM FAT MEAT AND MEAT SUBSTITUTES EXCHANGE LISTS

ItemServingItemServing
Beef, chipped1 oz.Veal, no breast1 oz.
Beef, flank steak1 oz.Cheese, mozzarella part skim1 oz.
Beef, hamburger 15% fat1 oz.Cheese, ricotta part skim1 oz.
Beef, rin eye1 oz.Cheese, processed lite1 oz.
Beef, sirloin1 oz.Cheese, lite1 oz.
Beef, tederloin1 oz. Parmesan3 Tbs.
Beef, top round1 oz.Romano3 Tbs.
Beef, bottom round1 oz.Egg1
Lamb, non breast1 oz.Egg, substitute (56-80 cal.)1/4 cup, raw
Pork, ground1 oz.Lunch Meat, 86% lean1 oz.
pork, sparerib1 oz. Turkey Bacon2 slices
pork, tenderloin1 oz. Peanut Butter1 Tbs., 1 meat, 1 fat

HIGHER FAT MEAT AND MEAT SUBSTITUTES

Eat these meats only infrequently. The saturated fat content is not good for you.

ItemServingItemServing
Beef, brisket1 oz. Cheese, blue1 oz.
Beef, rib steak1 oz.Cheese, brie1 oz.
Beef, corned beef1 oz.Cheese, cheddar1 oz.
Beef, hamburger 80% lean1 oz.cheese, colby1 oz.
Beef, rib roast1 oz.cheese, colby1 oz.
Lamb, breast1 oz.Cheese, monterey jack1 oz.
Pork, ground1 oz.Cheese, provolone1 oz.
Pork, spareribs1 oz.Cheese, swiss1 oz.
Pork, sausage (link, patty)1 oz. Cheese, processed1 oz.
Veal, breast1 oz.Cheese, low fat goat1 oz.
Poultry, duck1 oz.Organ Meat, liver, kidney, heart1 oz.
Poultry, goose1 oz.Fried Fish1 oz.

DIARY DIABETIC EXCHANGE LISTS

Dairy Exchange Value per serving is split into nonfat, low fat and medium to high fat categories.

Dairy choices are best if nonfat or low fat. The key is also to avoid as much, or all saturated fat in this category. If you are not a big dairy consumer, make sure you take a calcium supplement. Amongst other things, this will help with avoiding or minimizing diabetes and osteoporosis.

One Exchange Value serving typically should conform to the following:

 NonfatLow FatMed. - High Fat
Calories80107125-150
Protein8g8g8g
Carbohydrates12g12g12g
Fat035-8

NONFAT DAIRY

ItemServingItemServing
Skim Milk8 oz.Low-Fat Milk, 0.5%8 oz.
Nonfat Yogurt, Plain8 oz.Lactaid Milk, skim8 oz.
Canned Evaporated Milk4 oz.

LOW FAT DAIRY

ItemServing
Low Fat Milk, 1%8 oz.
Yogurt, plain8 oz.
Lactaid Milk, 1%8 oz.

MEDIUM TO HIGH FAT DAIRY

ItemServing
Low Fat Milk, 2%8 oz.
Whole Milk8 oz.

Fats

One Exchange Value serving typically should conform to the following:

Calories: 45
Protein: 0
Carbohydrates: 0
Fat: 5

Try and choose unsaturated or low saturated fat choices. Better cooking oil choices including safflower, olive, canola, etc.

LOWER OR SATURATED FAT LISTS

ItemServingItemServing
Avocado, 4 inch1/8Nuts, Pecans2 whole
Margarine1 Tsp.Nuts, Pine Nuts1 Tbs.
Mayo1 Tsp.Nuts, Pistachio12 whole
Mayo, Reduced Calorie1 Tbs.Nuts, Walnuts2 whole
Nondairy Creamer2 Tbs.Oils, olive, safflower, canola1 Tsp.
Nondairy Creamer, lite5 Tbs.Oil, corn sunflower1 Tsp.
Nuts, Almonds6 wholeOlives, green5 small
Nuts, Brazil2 med.Olives, black2 large
Nuts, cashews5-8 wholeDressing, Italian1Tbs.
Nuts, Hazelnuts5 wholeDressing, mayo based2 Tsp.
Nuts, Macadamia3 wholeSeeds, sunflower1 Tbs.
Nuts, peanuts, Spanish20 wholeSeeds, Pumpkin2 Tsp.
Nuts, peanuts, Virginia10 wholeSeeds, Sesame1 Tbs.

MEDIUM OR HIGHER SATURATED FAT LISTS

ItemServingItemServing
Butter1 Tsp.Cream, light1.5 Tbs.
Bacon, crisp1 stripCream, sour2 Tbs.
Coconut, shredded2 Tbs.Cream, whipped, can1/3 cup
Nondairy Whipped Topping3 Tbs.Cream Cheese1 Tbs.
Cream, half and half2 Tbs.Margarine1 Tsp.
Cream, Heavy1 Tbs.Oil, palm, coconut1 Tsp.

FREE FOODS LIST

Finally, if you have read this far, you are now rewarded with some free food items!! Wahoo!! They may not seem like much, but let’s take what we can get. If the item has an * next to it, it has high sodium, so be careful.

The following items have very few calories and are considered free!.

Bouillon CubesBroth, ClearSoda, no calorie
CoffeeCranberries, unsweet.Most Extracts
Most HerbsHorseradishLime Juice
Most MustardsSugar SubstitutesPickles, unsweet.
Soy SauceSteak Sauce, mostTabasco Sauce
Taco SauceTeaVinegar, most

SUMMARY

The above diabetic exchange lists should get you started toward implementing your exchange diet. However, as you may have determined, many of the foods we eat come already prepared.

Initially, it will take some time to figure the appropriate exchange value, but the reward will be well worth it. Great health and feeling great!

SOURCES:

Joslin Diabetes Gourmet Cookbook, Polin, Bonnie Sanders, Towner, Frances, Bantam Books, 1993.

Mayoclinic.com (accessed August 2012).

Nutrition.gov (accessed August 2012).

By Erich Schultz – Last Reviewed May 2013.