Though a hall mark of the Dr Willey system is the development of individualized menus based on one’s body composition, metabolism, and food preferences; many patients ask how they can modify their menus to maximize variety. Menus are to be used as samples or guides to help you adapt to healthier eating habits.

Many patients achieve weight loss results without having to eat exactly what is on their menus.

Learn to use your menus as templates. Learn to incorporate different foods into your menus while adjusting for quantity and serving sizes, and the best times to eat certain foods. We encourage you to make substitutions on your menus and use various cooking methods to get more variety. The following suggestions or guidelines help individuals make wise food exchanges.

  • If you find there are items on your menus that you don’t particularly enjoy, feel free to trade them for a similar type of food item. Lean Meats can be traded for other lean meats. Egg whites and egg substitutes can be traded for lean meats as well.
  • Starchy carbohydrates like cereals, breads, rice, pasta, and grains can be traded for each other or items of similar carbohydrate content.
  • Trade fruits for the same service size of any other fruit.
  • Free carbs include any of the non-starchy vegetables. They can be eaten in any quantity, anytime, on any menu, including dinner! You don’t really need to measure them unless you want to. Non-starchy vegetables include all green leafy and cruciferous (high fiber, low glycemic) vegetables.
  • Be careful not to confuse free carbs or non-starchy carbs with starchy vegetables such as peas, beans (lentils, navy, pinto), corn, potatoes, and winter squashes. Starchy vegetables are higher in carbohydrate, so they are not interchangeable with free carbs.
  • To make some more complex food substitutions, you may need to compare food labels and become familiar with the carbohydrate, protein, and fat content of the foods you’d like to substitute.


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