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Meal Planning with Diabetes


Newly expanded and updated meal planning exchange lists have been published by The American Dietetic Association and the American Diabetes Association. The meal planning exchanges are available through your registered dietitian or diabetes educator.

While the basis for meal planning calculations remains the same, lists have been grouped to allow more flexibility in choosing foods. Many foods have been added to this revision, reflecting the interest in reduced fat food products, vegetarian food products, and fast foods. The booklet emphasizes the importance of label reading, and provides valuable label reading tips.

Meal planning highlights

  • A greater variety of commonly consumed foods
  • Carbohydrate counts for each food
  • Portion weights in ounces
  • Reduced fat or fat-free foods
  • Vegetarian alternatives
  • Fast foods
  • Very lean meats
  • Saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fats

Meal planning lists added

Other Carbohydrates - provides meal planning exchange information for cakes, pies, puddings, etc. Foods from this list can be substituted for foods from the Starch, Fruit, or Milk lists. Some foods on the Other Carbohydrate Lists will also count as one or more fat choices.

Very Lean Meat and Meat Substitutes - provides meal planning information for types of poultry, fish, shellfish, game, cheese, and other meats and substitutes that contain 0 - 1 grams of fat and 35 calories per ounce. Cooked dried beans, peas, or lentils count as one very lean meat and one starch exchange.

Meal planning lists grouped

Carbohydrate Group - contains the Starch, Fruit, Milk, Other Carbohydrates, and Vegetable lists. This new grouping will allow for more convenient exchange among these meal planning lists, allowing more flexibility in choosing foods.

Meat and Meat Substitute Group - contains the Very Lean, Lean, Medium-fat, and High-fat meat and substitute lists. A greater variety of substitutes and leaner options are now available.

Fat Group - contains the Monounsaturated, Polyunsaturated, and Saturated Fats lists. The type of fat consumed can now be more carefully planned, and a wider variety of fats are listed.

More information

If you have additional questions about the meal planning exchange lists, call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-232-3472 and select option 3.

For a referral to a registered dietitian in your area, call The American Dietetic Association Hot Line at 1-800-366-1655 from 10 am to 5 pm EST, Monday through Friday.

To give your individualized meal plan a healthy check-up, see your registered dietitian or diabetes educator today.

Source: American Diabetes Association


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