Mayo Clinic Health Library

Exchange list: Starches

Updated: 09-13-2012

One serving (exchange) of a starchy food contains about 15 grams of carbohydrate, up to 3 grams of protein, up to 1 gram of fat and 80 calories. Starches in the amounts listed below equal one carbohydrate exchange. Choose whole-grain and low-fat starches as often as you can.

Type Food Serving size
Bread    
  Bagel, large (4 ounces) 1/4 (1 ounce)
Bread: pumpernickel, rye, unfrosted raisin, white, whole-grain 1 slice (1 ounce)
Bread, reduced-calorie 2 slices (1 1/2 ounces)
Chapati, small (6 inches across) 1
English muffin 1/2
Hamburger bun 1/2 (1 ounce)
Hot dog bun 1/2 (1 ounce)
Pancake (4 inches across, 1/4-inch thick) 1
Pita (6 inches across) 1/2
Tortilla, flour or corn (6 inches across) 1
Cereals and grains    
  Barley, cooked 1/3 cup
Bulgur wheat, cooked 1/2 cup
Cereal: bran, oats, spoon-size shredded wheat, frosted cereals 1/2 cup
Cereal, puffed, unfrosted 1 1/2 cups
Cereal, unsweetened, ready-to-eat 3/4 cup
Couscous 1/3 cup
Granola, low-fat or regular 1/4 cup
Grits, cooked 1/2 cup
Pasta, cooked 1/3 cup
Quinoa, cooked 1/3 cup
Rice, cooked: white, brown 1/3 cup
Tabbouleh, prepared 1/2 cup
Wheat germ, dry 3 tablespoons
Wild rice, cooked 1/2 cup
Starchy vegetables    
  Corn 1/2 cup
Corn on the cob, large 1/2 cob (5 ounces)
Mixed vegetables with corn, peas or pasta 1 cup
Parsnips 1/2 cup
Plantain, ripe 1/3 cup
Potato, large, baked with skin 1/4 (3 ounces)
Potato, mashed 1/2 cup
Pumpkin, canned 1 cup
Spaghetti or pasta sauce 1/2 cup
Squash: acorn, butternut 1 cup
Succotash 1/2 cup
Yam or sweet potato, plain 1/2 cup
Crackers and snacks    
  Animal crackers 8
Graham crackers (2 1/2-inch squares) 3
Matzo 3/4 ounce
Melba toast (2 inches by 4 inches) 4 pieces
Oyster crackers 20
Popcorn, low-fat microwave or popped with no added fat 3 cups
Pretzels 3/4 ounce
Rice cakes (4 inches across) 2
Saltine crackers 6
Snack chips, fat-free or baked: tortilla, potato 15 to 20 (3/4 ounce)

Modified with permission from "Choose Your Foods: Exchange Lists for Diabetes." American Diabetes Association and American Dietetic Association; 2008. While designed primarily for people who have diabetes and others who must follow special diets, the exchange lists are based on principles of good nutrition that apply to everyone.

Beans, peas and lentils count as one carbohydrate exchange and one lean meat exchange, as beans are a good source of protein.

Type Food Serving size
Beans, peas and lentils    
  Baked beans 1/3 cup
  Beans, cooked: black, garbanzo, kidney, lima, navy, pinto, white 1/2 cup
  Lentils, cooked: brown, green, yellow 1/2 cup
  Peas, cooked: black-eyed, split, green 1/2 cup
  Refried beans, canned 1/2 cup

Modified with permission from "Choose Your Foods: Exchange Lists for Diabetes." American Diabetes Association and American Dietetic Association; 2008. While designed primarily for people who have diabetes and others who must follow special diets, the exchange lists are based on principles of good nutrition that apply to everyone.

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