Diabetes Diet

Diabetes Exchange Diet: Eating Your Way out of Diabetes

Diabetes occurs primarily because of an increased consumption of sugar in our diet. Hence, the only way of countering diabetes is through a control over our diet. However, this does not mean a drastic alteration in our diet. The diet which doctors usually prescribe for diabetics is an exchange diet in which the individual high-sugar, high-calorie components are exchanged for equally nutritious but low-sugar and low-calorie constituents.

What is exchange diet?
In an exchange diet you are required to eat your 3 meals a day and up to 3 snacks in between. However, you will be required to quantify food that you eat in to 6 different groups having exactly the same serving size. In this way, the diet will ensure that you eat at least a minimum amount of each of the 6 groups everyday.

How the exchange diet would work?
The food in our diet would be grouped into 6 different groups: bread and starch, vegetables, fruits, milk and dairy products, meats and fats. Within each of these groups, you will try to figure out those foods which would help you get less number of calories for the same serving size.

As the serving portions are always fixed, you would need to attempt reducing the amount of sugar, calories, carbohydrates, etc. per portion. For that, you are allowed to exchange individual food items for similar other items from within that group. Their nutritional value will be the same but as you would closely see, some of them might have really low levels of sugar in them. Thus, they will help you to rein in your blood sugar levels.

So what are the choices available to me in these food groups?
Following is a list of foods categorized into their respective food groups. You need to eat to have a fixed portion of almost every group. However, what you need to eat is entirely upon you. All you need to focus on is that the calories and sugar content are not extremely high.

Breads and starches
* Half cup cooked cereal
* 1 slice bread (4-inch square)
* 6 saltine crackers or three 2-Half-inch square graham crackers
* Half cup corn or 1 medium corn on the cob
* Half cup cooked dried beans (such as chick peas, lentils, pinto, and kidney)
* 1 small (2-inch square) dinner roll
* Half cup cooked green peas
* Half-a-piece of an English muffin
* Half cup cooked Lima beans
* Half-a-piece of a hamburger or hot dog bun
* Half-a-piece of a 6-inch piece of pita bread
* Half-a-piece of a 3-inch bagel
* Half cup cooked pasta
* One-third cup of cooked rice
* Half-a-cup of mashed potatoes (or a 3-inch baked potato)
* One 6-inch round tortilla
* Half cup of winter squash (cooked)
* 2 rice cakes

Vegetables
* Asparagus
* Broccoli
* Carrots
* Cabbage
* Celery
* Cauliflower
* Collard greens
* Eggplant
* Green or wax beans
* Cucumber
* Kale
* Green beans
* Mushrooms
* Mustard greens
* Mixed vegetables (without corn or peas)
* Pea pods
* Onions
* Radishes
* Peppers
* Salad vegetables
* Tomatoes
* Summer squash
* Turnips
* Turnip greens
* Zucchini squash

Fruits
* 1 medium (3-inch) apple
* 17 small or 12 large grapes
* 1 small (5-inch) banana or Half of a 9-inch banana
* 1 cup cubed melon (cantaloupe, honeydew, or others)
* 1 kiwi fruit
* 1 medium (3-inch) peach
* 1 small (3-inch) orange
* Half-a-piece of a large (4 Half-inch) pear
* 2 small plums
* Half cup canned pineapple
* 2 Tablespoon raisins (any kind)
* 3 dried prunes
* 1-1/4 cup cubed watermelon
* 1-1/4 cup whole strawberries

Fats
* 1 Tablespoon regular cream cheese or 2 Tablespoon low-fat cream cheese
* 1/8 of a medium avocado
* 1 tsp. regular mayonnaise or 1 Tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise
* 1 tsp. regular margarine or 2 tsp. low-fat margarine
* 1 tsp. oil, such as safflower, canola, corn, or olive
* 6 almond or cashew nuts, 10 peanuts, or 4 pecan halves
* 1 Tablespoon regular salad dressing or 2 Tablespoon low-fat salad dressing
* 2 tsp. peanut butter

Meat and Meat Substitutes
The amounts listed below refer to cooked serving sizes.

* 1 ounce chicken without skin
* 1/4 cup canned tuna or salmon
* 1 ounce lean beef or pork
* 1 large egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute
* 1 ounce fish (not breaded or fried)
* 1 ounce turkey without skin
* 1/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese
* One 1-inch cube or 1 ounce low-fat solid cheese
* Half cup tofu

Milk and Dairy products
* One-third cup of dry nonfat milk
* 1 cup skim, 1-percent, or 2-percent milk
* 1 cup skim or low-fat buttermilk
* 1 cup nonfat plain or sugar-free yogurt