Therefore, any of those foods can be “exchanged” or traded for another food on the same list. For example, a slice of bread for breakfast could be traded for 1/2 cup of cooked cereal if you preferred. Either would be equal to 1 starch.
However, some foods may not seem to belong to the exchange group to which they have been assigned. The following are some examples:
- Many non-meat foods appear as meat exchanges because of their protein and fat levels. Cheese and peanut butter are two common examples.
- Vegetable exchanges do not include all vegetables. For example, vegetables such as lima beans, peas and corn are listed as bread/starch exchanges because of their carbohydrate and protein content.
- To add to the confusion, not all bread/starch exchanges are breads. This group also includes starchy vegetables, cereals, pasta and other grain products.
Here’s an example of the equivalent of one bread/starch exchange: 1 slice of bread = 1/2 English muffin = 1 (6-inch) corn tortilla = 1/2 cup cooked pasta = 1/2 cup unsweetened ready-to-eat cereal.
Remember, protein can be found in many foods—beans, cheese and even a small amount in noodles and vegetables. One meat exchange is 7 grams of protein or the equivalent of just 1 ounce of meat.
Getting back to your original question about the Meatless Spaghetti Sauce… even though there is a higher percentage of carbohydrate to protein in the starch (noodles) and vegetable (tomato sauce) exchanges, there is also some protein in these groups—enough to list 1 lean meat.