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     Planning meals for a diabetic
       excerpetd from Recipes for Diabetics Copyright 2001 by Billie Little Preface by Selvyn B. Bleifer, M.D.


    The care provider who is planning meals for a diabetic needs to know something about food values. The following tables will help determine measurements for carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Also included are equivalents for most of the measures used in these tables. Be sure to use standard measuring utensils, such as an 8-ounce measuring cup, tablespoon, teaspoon, and the like. (Drug and discount stores also carry a set of measuring spoons covering sizes from 18 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon.) It is also a good idea to remeasure after cooking. There are a few foods that need not be measured; these are noted in the Exchange Lists.


    3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon
    2 tablespoons = 18 cup
    4 tablespoons = 14 cup
    5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon = 13 cup
    8 tablespoons = 12 cup
    12 tablespoons = 34 cup
    16 tablespoons = 1 cup
    2 cups = 1 pint
    2 pints = 1 quart
    4 quarts = 1 gallon
    1 fluid ounce = 12 tablespoons
    16 ounces = 1 pound
    1 pound butter or margarine = 4 sticks, 2 cups, or 64 pats or squares
    1 stick butter = 12 cup (approximate) or 16 pats or squares
    Dash or “few grains” = up to 18 teaspoon


    Liquid Measure

    The metric system is based on units of 10. For liquid measure, the simple metric unit is the liter, which is just a little larger than our quart. One teaspoon is equivalent to 5 milliliters (or 5 cubic centimeters — a unit that drug dispensers prefer).

    Units of Measure

    1 milliliter = 1 cubic centimeter
    1000 milliliters = 1 liter


    1 teaspoon = 5 milliliters
    1 tablespoon = 15milliliters
    1 cup = 0.24 liter
    1 pint = 0.47 liter
    1 quart = 0.946 liter
    1 gallon = 3.8 liters
    1 fluid ounce = 29.57 milliliters

    Dry Measure

    The basic unit of metric weight is the gram; this unit is approximately one-thirtieth of an avoirdupois ounce and is mostly used in pharmaceutical and scientific work. The more convenient unit is the kilogram, weighing approximately 2.2 pounds.

    Units of Measure

    1000 milligrams = 1 gram
    100 centigrams = 1 gram
    1000 grams = 1 kilogram


    1 ounce = 28.35 grams
    1 pound = 0.45 kilograms
    2.2 pounds = 1 kilogram


    1 gram carbohydrate = 4 calories
    1 gram fat = 9 calories
    1 gram protein = 4 calories
    1 cup nondairy whip = 160 calories (approximately)

    Examples: 1 teaspoon sugar is 5 grams carbohydrate (20 calories)

    1 teaspoon margarine or butter is 5 grams fat

    (45 calories)


    Most foods should be measured. You will need a standard 8-ounce measuring cup, measuring teaspoon, and tablespoon, and an ounce or gram scale. All measurements are level. Most foods are measured after cooking.

    Careful measurement is more important for meat and fat quantities than for fruit, juices, and starches. Careful measuring of vegetables is less important as they generally are low in calories and fat.

    It is important to measure foods at the beginning so you become acquainted with real serving sizes. (However, it really isn’t necessary for you to weigh every bean!)


    Meats may be baked, boiled, roasted or broiled (indoors or on an outdoor grill). Do not fry foods except in fat exchanges allowed for that meal. Vegetables may be prepared with the family meals, but the portion for the diabetic should be removed before extra fat exchanges or bread exchanges are added. Fat allowed in your diet may be used to season vegetables. Vegetables may be cooked in bouillon or fat-free meat broth if desired.


    It is not necessary to buy special foods. Select the diet from the same foods purchased for the rest of the family—milk, vegetables, bread, meats, fats, and fruit (fresh, dried, or canned without sugar). “Special dietetic foods” should be used with discretion; always check the labels of these foods for protein, carbohydrate, fat, and calorie content. Be sure additional calories in special diet foods are figured in the diet.

    NOTE: Scientific tests indicate that saccharin may be dangerous to your health and, taken in large quantities, may be cancer causing. Its use is cautioned because of its ability to cause cancer in experimental animals.


    Seasonings: Cinnamon, celery salt, garlic, garlic salt, lemon, mustard, mint, nutmeg, parsley, pepper, sugarless sweeteners, spices, vanilla, and vinegar. Other foods: Coffee or tea (without sugar or cream), fat-free broth, bouillon, unflavored gelatin, sour or dill pickles, cranberries (with nonnutritive sweetener or sugar substitute).


    Beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages.

    Sugar. New research shows that all carbohydrates are digested at about the same speed. Whether the carbohydrate is simple (like sugar) or complex (like bread) doesn’t matter. Both kinds raise your glucose levels at about the same rate.

    For this reason, sugar is no longer a no-no. But you must work it into your food plan in place of other carbohydrates. Ask your dietitian to show you how.

    Also, keep in mind that sugar has calories but no vitamins. Foods with sugar often have fat as well. The American Diabetes Association considers some artificial sweeteners safe in moderate amounts. These include saccharin, aspartame (NutraSweet), and acesulfame potassium (Sweet One).


    SPECIAL NOTE: Negligible (trace) and less than 18 exchanges are not figured in the recipes in this book.

    Calories are rounded off.

    The following pages and the recipes in this book are based on the 1995 version of the Exchange Lists for Meal Planning.

    Your registered dietitian or doctor will select items from the following food groups according to their carbohydrate, fat, and protein content, calorie count, and so on. To ensure good nutrition, your diet should include the same essential foods, sometimes referred to as the “basic six,” recommended for everyone:

    1. Milk
    2. Vegetables
    3. Fruits
    4. Starches (cereals, bread, starchy vegetables)
    5. Meat
    6. Fat

    Foods on the same list have about the same nutritional value. The groupings are called “exchange lists” because one food may be exchanged for another on the same list, but foods on one list may not be exchanged for foods on another list. Each diet plan includes foods from all exchange lists to give variety.

    The diabetic person on a rigid restricted-calorie diet should avoid too many bread, fat, and meat exchanges. The calorie counts and exchanges have been calculated from the diabetic exchange lists found on the next few pages. Different exchange groupings vary slightly. It is imperative that a diabetic follow the calorie prescription given him or her by the doctor and the exchange lists that are included with his or her own diet order. (A strict diabetic should recalculate these recipes if using a different exchange system.) Different methods of recipe preparation, interpretation of ingredients, types of nonnutritive sweeteners (both liquid and granulated), and so on, will vary the volume of the recipe and approximate yield. If the yield is different, the calories of the recipe need to be recalculated, and the exchanges refigured.


    The exchange lists are the basis of a meal planning system designed by a committee of the American Diabetes Association and The American Dietetic Association. While designed primarily for people with diabetes and others who must follow special diets, the exchange lists are based on principles of good nutrition that apply to everyone. Copyright (c) 1986 American Diabetes Association, The American Dietetic Association.

    An “exchange” is a measured portion of food. The size or quantity of each exchange on the list is already developed for you in easy household measurements.

    One of the most important aspects of diabetes management is dietary care. The food exchanges are lists of foods grouped by similar values of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats so that one food can be substituted for another in your daily meal plans. Foods have been divided into six categories—milks, vegetables, fruits, breads, meats, and fats. Foods in any one group can be substituted or exchanged with other foods within the same group.

    We suggest that you consult your physician or nutritionist about your meal plan. You will be told how many exchanges you can have from each of the six lists, taking into account how many calories will be best for you. The number of calories will be based on your health, energy needs, and physical activities.

    Copyright 2001 by Billie Little Preface by Selvyn B. Bleifer, M.D.


    Recipes for Diabetics
    Recipes for Diabetics

    The essential cookbook for people with diabetes -Over 350,000 copies sold.
    Delicious, easy-to-make, and healthful recipes for people who have to watch what they eat

    If you or someone in your family has diabetes, here’s the end of monotonous mealtimes and being ruled by what not to eat. This classic cookbook, fully revised and updated, helps you plan meals the whole family will enjoy.

    From easy favorites to extravagant treats, Recipes for Diabetics offers low-calorie, low-fat dishes, so you don’t have to worry about going off your diet.

    This indispensable resource includes:

    • • The newest exchange lists from the American Diabetes Association and the American Dietetic Association
    • • Daily menus
    • • More than 300 recipes for soups, salads, appetizers, entrées, breads, desserts, and drinks
    • • Recommended Daily Allowance chart for essential nutrients
    • • Exchange-group breakdowns and calorie counts for measuring individual servings
    • • Guides for using nutrition labeling to compute exchanges
    • • Dining-out tips, and much more

    You don’t have to choose between good food and good health. You can have both.


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