The meal plans featured on this page use the diabetic exchange system, which is a food system developed with the American Diabetes Assocation to make diabetic meal planning easier.

A diabetic exchange is a specific portion of food selected from one of six food groups: milk, vegetables, fruit, bread, meat, and fat. There are also “free foods” which contain 20 calories or fewer, which includes mainly condiments, seasonings and flavorings.

A person’s meal plan using diabetic exchanges will specify that he or she can have specific numbers of exchanges.

For example, a typical lunch may allow two bread, two meat, one fat, two vegetable, and one fruit portion. By referring to a list of exchanges, the person can develop their own menu.

Some diabetics find the exchange system convenient and workable. Others, however, find it can be difficult to find specialty foods and ethnic foods on a standard exchange list. Most processed foods will have a number of different exchanges, so keeping track of them is more difficult.

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Some dietitians and diabetes educators stress working with exchanges; others will teach patients how to estimate percentages of carbohydrates, fats and protein in a meal and then tailor portions to fit their overall meal plan.

Regardless of personal preference, diabetic meal plans should be based on a system that the person (or meal preparer) understands. It also should take individual food preferences, culture and lifestyles into account.

Some of the things you will be able to read and print on this page include:

  • 1200 Calorie Sample Meal Plan
  • 1600 Calorie Sample Meal Plan
  • 1-Day Sample 45g Carbs Per Meal Menu Plan
  • 1-Day Sample 60g Carbs Per Meal Menu Plan
  • The Exchange List System for Diabetic Meal Planning
  • Food Exchange Lists
  • Diabetic Exchange List
  • Exchange List for 2400 Calorie Meal Plan
  • Exchange List for Popular African Foods
  • Exchange List for Foods Popular in India
  • Exchange Lists and Meal Planning for Hawaiian Cooking
  • and more…

All Available Printable Meal Plans Using the Exchange System

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