Bethany Baptist Church
3417 Rolesville Road
Wendell, NC 27591
(919) 266-3273
  Pastor: Phillip Brantley
Youth Pastor: Christian M. Bonham
Music Minister: Mrs Serena Pearce
Pianist: Mrs Marsha Duke
food plan  |  meat  |  bread  |  vegetable  |  fruit  |  milk  |  fat  |  free

The "Food Exchange System"

The "Food Exchange System" will be used by our class and is recommended for its healthy eating guidelines. It was developed several years ago by the American Dietetic Association and the American Diabetes Association.
**   Members should always follow the nutritional advice of their personal physician.

When using "The Exchange System", we are told to eat so many servings (or exchanges) from the various food groups in a given day (similar to what we see in the well know food pyramid which is taught in the schools in health class). It's the stuff we've been taught our whole lives -- meats, milks, breads, fruit, vegetables and fats. Then, based on how many servings we're allowed from each group, we can "exchange" foods in the foodgroup with any other from the same foodgroup.. as long as what we substitute is an equal number of exchanges.

The exchanges are grouped together in the various foodgroups because they have similar amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fats, and therefore similar calorie counts. If you use this system you won't have to bother counting calories -- rather just eat the appropriate amount of exchanges/servings from each foodgroup each day!

So -- we have to determine the following:
1) How many exchanges are allowed from the various groups?
2) What exactly makes up a single exchange?
3) How can I calculate the number of exchanges I'm eating?
4) What about journaling?

How Many Exchanges Are Allowed In Each Foodgroup?

1st, you have to figure out how many calories you're allowed in a day based on your gender & current weight. The following tables can be used to estimate a calorie level for healthy weight loss

Recommended Calorie Ranges for Women
Age:      Weight:   100-119     120-139     140-159     160-179     180+  
20-39 1400 1400 1500 1600 1600
40-59 1200 1400 1400 1500 1500
60+ 1200 1200 1400 1400 1400
Note: To maintain weight, add 300-500 calories to the numbers shown
NOTE FOR TEENS: USDA guidelines for age 14-18 moderately active females to "maintain" healthy weight is 2000 calories. For teens wanting to "lose" weight, please start no lower than the 1800 calorie range.
Look here at Table 3 near the bottom for USDA recommended calories levels to MAINTAIN weight:

Recommended Calorie Ranges for Men
Age:      Weight:   140-159     160-179     180-199     200-219     220+  
20-39 1800 1800 2000 2200 2400
40-59 1600 1800 1800 2000 2200
60+ 1500 1600 1800 1800 2000
Note: To maintain weight, add 400-600 calories

2nd, based on how many calories you're allowed, determine how many exchanges that translates into using the following table:

Daily Exchange Plan
Calories     Meat     Bread/Starch     Vegetable     Fruit     Milk     Fat  
1200 4-5 5-6 3 2-3 2-3 3-4
1400 5-6 6-7 3-4 3-4 2-3 3-4
1500 5-6 7-8 3-4 3-4 2-3 3-4
1600 6-7 8-9 3-4 3-4 2-3 3-4
1800 6-7 10-11 3-4 3-4 2-3 4-5
2000 6-7 11-12 4-5 4-5 2-3 5-6
2200 7-8 12-13 4-5 4-5 2-3 6-7
2400 8-9 13-14 4-5 4-5 2-3 7-8
2600 9-10 14-15 5 5 2-3 7-8
2800 9-10 15-16 5 5 2-3 9-10
Note: The food exchanges break down to ~ 50-55% carbs, 15-20% protein and 25-30% fat

What's In An Exchange

OK, I know how many exchanges I'm allowed to have; but what exactly constitutes an "exchange" of meat, vegetables, or etc? The following chart shows the nutrients that are in a single exchange from the various foodgroups.

Food Groups:  Calories     Fat     Carbs     Protein  
Meat (M)
   Medium Fat  (add .5F)
   High Fat  (add 1F)
Bread (B) 80 0 15 3
Vegetable (V)      25 0 5 2
Fruit (Fr) 60 0 15 0
Milk (Mi)
   Fat Free
   Very Low Fat, 1%  (add .5F)   
   Low Fat, 2%  (add 1F)
   Whole  (add 2F)
Fat (F) 45 5 0 0

That's too hard (you might say)! I agree... Sometimes we don't know or care how many grams of carbs, protein or fat is in a given food. In that case, we can use "guidelines" by looking at examples of exchanges in the given foodgroups..
To see examples of "an exchange" in the various foodgroups, look in the table above, and click on the foodgroups which are in bold/blue print - or you can click on a foodgroup here:
meat,   bread,   vegetable,   fruit,   milk,   fat.

How To Calculate & Track Your Exchanges?

So, now you know how many exchanges you're allowed, the nutrients in a given exchange, and some examples of a single exchange from the various foodgroups. Given this, calculating the number of exchanges you're eating is easy "AS LONG AS" you're eating simple foods where a single item is from a single foodgroup (ie, just a piece of meat, just a vegetable, etc). But what if we're eating a frozen dinner, or a recipe for a casserole with many ingredients? Luckily, those frozen dinners and "many" recipes give the nutrient contents; so we can use the table above which shows What's In An Exchange" to figure out how many exchanges are in the meal or recipe.

To make calculating exchanges based on nutrients easier, there is a spreadsheet you can use. We'll call it "The Exchange Calculator" and it's available at ExchCalc.xls.
(Please open and "save as" to your own harddrive & use from there).


In order to make sure you're staying within your exchange guidelines for a given day/week, you'll need to plan & journal (at least for awhile until you get used to how much is within your guidelines).

To help with your menu planning and grocery shopping, you can print the "Weekly Menu Planner and Shopping List" here: MenuPlanner.xls

A weekly commitment report that you can complete online (for recording what you actually ate along with your other First Place Commitments) is here: FoodJournal.xls
or if you'd prefer to print/write your foods: CR.xls

On the online FoodJournal; for each meal, record what you ate, and figure out the exchanges and put the numbers in the appropriate columns beside each food. The total number of exchanges will be calculated for you and added to the totals on the right-most column on the form. The totals will also tell you if you are under or over your goals.

As indicated on the journal, don't forget your bible study, exercise, and encouraging others each day!!