Helpful Hints for Using the Exchange

  • Cereals, grains, pasta, breads, crackers, snacks, starchy vegetables, and cooked beans, peas, and lentils are on the starch list. In general, one starch exchange is V2 cup cereal, grain, or starchy vegetable; one ounce of a bread product, such as one slice of bread; one-third cup rice or pasta; or three-fourths to one ounce of most snack foods.
  • Fresh, frozen, canned, and dried fruits and fruit juices are on the fruit list. In general, one fruit exchange is: one small to medium fresh fruit, one-half cup of canned or fresh fruit or fruit juice, or one-fourth cup of dried fruit.
  • Different types of milk and milk products, such as yogurt, are on the milk list. One cup (eight fluid ounces) or two-thirds cup (six ounces) of fat-free or low-fat flavored yogurt sweetened with a non-nutritive sweetener are examples of one exchange.
  • Vegetables are included in the Carbohydrate Group and are important components of a healthful diet. However, since three servings of vegetables are the equivalent of one carbohydrate serving, one or two servings per meal need not be counted. This was done to encourage consumption of vegetables and to simplify meal planning.
  • Meat and meat substitutes that contain both protein and fat are on the meat list. In general, one exchange is: one ounce meat, fish, poultry, or cheese; or one-half cup beans, peas, lentils.
  • In general, one fat exchange is: one teaspoon of regular margarine, mayonnaise, or vegetable oil; one tablespoon of regular salad dressings or reduced-fat mayonnaise; or two tablespoons of reduced-fat salad dressings.
  • A free food is any food or drink that contains less than 20 calories or less than five grams of carbohydrate per serving. Foods with approximately 20 calories should be limited to
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