Diabetic Exchange Diet

The diabetic exchange diet helps to control both your weight and the amount of sugar and cholesterol in your blood. You will need to measure your food while on this diet, and you will probably need to eat 3 meals and 1 to 3 snacks daily.

This diet divides the foods you can eat into 6 groups and measures each food by exact serving size. That way you can be sure to eat the right amount from each food group daily.

The plan will give examples of a typical selection from each group. You can exchange any food in a group for any other from the same group, always limiting yourself to the specified serving sizes.

For example, 1 slice of bread can be exchanged for 3/4 cup dry cereal. Or you can exchange 1/2 cup fruit juice for 1/2 of a 9-inch banana. Ask your dietitian for the correct serving size if a food you want is not listed below.

Breads & Starches

--1/2 of a 3-inch bagel
--1 slice bread (4-inch square)
--1/2 cup cooked cereal
--1/2 cup corn or 1 medium corn on the cob
--6 saltine crackers or three graham crackers
--1 small (2-inch square) dinner roll
--1/2 cup cooked dried beans
--1/2 of an English muffin
--1/2 cup cooked green peas
--1/2 of a hamburger or hot dog bun
--1/2 cup cooked lima beans
--1/2 cup cooked pasta
--1/2 of a 6-inch piece of pita bread
--1/2 cup mashed potatoes or a 3-inch baked potato
--1/3 cup cooked rice
--2 rice cakes
--One 6-inch round tortilla
--1/2 cup cooked winter squash


--1 medium (3-inch) apple
--1 small (5-inch) banana or 1/2 of a 9-inch banana
--17 small or 12 large grapes (any kind)
--1 kiwi fruit
--1 cup cubed melon (cantaloupe, honeydew, or others)
--1 small (3-inch) orange
--1 medium (3-inch) peach
--1/2 of a large (4 1/2-inch) pear
--1/2 cup canned pineapple
--2 small plums


You can have 1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked portion of most vegetables. Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, winter squash, peas, and dried beans are on the bread and starch list.

--Green or wax beans
--Collard greens
--Green beans

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