Glycemic Index Diet Guidelines: Low Glycemic Recipes and Foods

 

A glycemic index diet involves using a specific rating system predicting how fast carbohydrates will increase a person’s blood sugar levels following consumption.


Carbohydrates that feature low on the glycemic index will cause your blood sugar levels to raise at a slower rate, leading to you feeling fuller for longer.

According to the Mayo Clinic, this is the main reason why a low glycemic index diet helps to control your appetite and thus, can help you manage a healthy weight.

If you take the time to compile a list of low glycemic foods, as well as make note of your favorite low glycemic recipes, you will only need to make a few simple lifestyle changes.


Simple Low Glycemic Lifestyle Changes

1) Ditch the White Bread

Eliminate white bread from your low glycemic diet menu completely.If refined cereals, white bread and bagels are an integral part of your diet, you will need to replace these with low glycemic index diet alternatives.

Anything that ranks at 70 or above is considered high, whereas foods below 55 are considered low.

White bread and rolls, puffed wheat and chocolate-covered cereals are among the worse offenders, as they rate well above 70 on the glycemic index chart.

You should therefore consider replacing these with items that register below 55 such as, porridge oats, bran cereal, wholegrain bread and rolled oats.


2) Bring on Those Beautiful Beans

All beans are great low glycemic foods with lots of healthy protein.Beans are high in iron and protein, and therefore make a healthy addition to your low glycemic index diet.

It doesn’t matter what type of beans you prefer, as all of them register at less than 55 on the index.

As well as making a tasty ingredient in your low glycemic recipes, beans are also a great source of soluble fiber.

This means that they help lower blood cholesterol too, says the American Heart Association.


3) Stock up on Fruit and Greens

Broccoli, mushrooms, bell pepper, apples, citrus fruits, plums, spinach and cauliflower are just a selection of the fruit and vegetables you should stock up on if you are planning on following a low glycemic index diet.

As well as registering low on the glycemic index, these fruits and vegetables are an unrivalled natural source of countless minerals and vitamins.

Best of all, fruit and vegetables make ideal snacks, meaning you can keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day without ruining your appetite or increasing your daily calorie count significantly.

White potatoes register high on the glycemic index chart and therefore, when possible, you should opt for sweet potato or yams as an alternative.

Low GI vegetables and fruit picture: beans, oranges, plums, apples, peppers, cauliflower, mushrooms, spinach, broccoli and tomato.


4) Be Good When Eating Out

It doesn’t matter how good you are at sticking to your diet at home, if you are going to throw it all out of the window when you eat out.

Sticking to a low glycemic index diet requires consistency, meaning you should avoid the same foods when eating out, as when you eat at home – especially if you eat at restaurants frequently.

To make life easier for yourself, you can take a list of low glycemic foods out with you – this will help you choose an appropriate dish for your diet.

Alternatively, you could invest in “The Shopper’s Guide to GI Values”.

This book gives you a comprehensive list of where a multitude of food sit on the glycemic index.

This handy book is updated every year and contains tips on how to stay honest to your low glycemic index diet while eating away from home.

The book also contains popular low glycemic recipes, making choosing a relevant dish in a restaurant much easier for you.


5) Get the Right Drinks in

Orange juice has a relatively low GI but it is higher than fresh orange fruits.Too often people make the mistake of concentrating on the food when on a glycemic index diet.

This is despite the fact that many beverages can contain ingredients that register high on the index.

Natural, sugar-free fruit juices, in particular orange, apple, carrot and grapefruit, all register under the golden 55 on the glycemic index.

Remember, if you are trying to lose weight, you will need to watch how many calories are in the food you choose to eat, as well as where it registers on the glycemic index.

For example, some chocolate bars and chocolate milk have a low glycemic index count but are full of empty calories.


6) Choosing the Right Kinds of Tasty Snacks

When it comes to some of your favorite snacks, it is safe to assume that many of them will probably be off limits on the low glycemic index diet.

However, the glycemic index of some snacks, compared to others, may be a shock to you.

For example, the ever popular chocolate “Snickers” bar registers a mere 43 on the glycemic index, while half-a-cup of pretzels registers a staggering 84. One of the reasons for the surprisingly low Snickers score is the fact that it contains a low glycemic food, peanuts, which ‘combat’ the higher glycemic index ingredients.

Other snacks that you may think are in the lower numbers of the glycemic index are saltines, vanilla wafers and doughnuts – all of which register between 78 and 81 on the glycemic index.

The American Heart Association recommends erring on the side of caution when it comes to food that you are unsure of.

If you have no idea where it rates on the glycemic index, it is better to leave it out of your low glycemic index diet and opt for something you know is definitely more suitable.


Lovely Low Glycemic Recipes

If, like most people, you like to eat a varied diet, you will need to keep the food you eat on your low glycemic index diet varied and interesting. Otherwise, like with everything else, you’ll just lose interest 😉

When sorting out your favorite low glycemic recipes, it is important you find ones that fit into everyday living.

For example, over-the-top dishes are fine for a treat or a special meal but you really need to find recipes that will make easy breakfast, dinner and teas, with the choice of a snack or two depending on how hungry you are.


Quiche Is an Excellent Choice

Quiche is easy to make and makes out a great meal for those who are trying to control their blood sugar levels. Quiche has to be one of the most popular low glycemic recipes for a number of reasons. Not only is it tasty and filling, the ingredients of your favorite recipe can easily be switched out to make the dish more fitting for your low glycemic index diet.

Rather than using white or whole-wheat flour for your quiche, try grinding up oatmeal in a food processor instead.

You can choose whatever flavor quiche you want, as long as you aware of the glycemic index count of the ingredients.

One of the tastiest low glycemic recipes for quiche involves using low-fat cheese, scallions, sweet potato and basil.

All of these ingredients combined make a tasty dish, that won’t ruin your low glycemic diet.


A Spicy Pasta Kick

If you are partial to the odd spicy takeaway, such as curry, kebab or fried Mexican chicken, you will be pleased to know that you can make your own alternative at home, saving you money, calories and glycemic index diet points! 🙂

Sauté a little garlic with some chicken pieces in some oil in a pan before adding chopped tomatoes, parsley and Cajun spice – to your own taste.

As this cooks off, make some thin Vermicelli pasta and add it to the pan ensuring the pasta is evenly covered.

In 15 minutes you have a tasty dish with a spicy kick that will complement your low glycemic index diet nicely.

Because it is fresh it will taste 100 times better than any takeaway you may have had in the past.


Lettuce Leaves Sandwich – Easy, Peasy and Tasty Too

Eating a snack in between lunch and your evening meal will ensure your sugar level is kept at a stable level.

This will prevent a sugar crash, which will result in you feeling hungry and looking to pig out on whatever you can get your hands on, says the Mayo Clinic.

Easy to prepare snacks that are tasty too and can be lifesavers to those who may get peckish on their low glycemic index diet.

Simply cover two lettuce leaves with a thin layer of low-fat cream cheese, a slice of lean ham and a couple of pieces of bell pepper and then roll up.

This snack literally takes minutes to prepare and will fill you up nicely until your evening meal. You can even prepare some to take to work with you or pre-prepare so you have a nice snack waiting for you when you get home.

Easy low glycemic recipes also include homemade chicken soup and shrimp salad – both can be made beforehand and both register low on the glycemic index as well as on calories.


Sticking to Your Low Glycemic Index Diet

According to the Mayo Clinic, only two in five people who lose weight following a low glycemic index diet will manage to keep the weight off over a period of longer than six months.

Like pretty much any diet, the end result is dictated by how well you perform.

Unfortunately, many people view the low glycemic index diet as a temporary lifestyle change, usually switching back to their former eating habits once the weight has been lost.

If you are looking to lose weight and then maintain that weight loss effectively, it is important that the low glycemic index diet you follow becomes a way of life.

As well as making a list of your favorite low glycemic foods, it may also pay off to make a list of the foods that rate highly on the index.

This will help you, especially in the early days, spot at-a-glance whether you can add something to your diet menu or not.


Be careful with watermelon as it has a surprinsingly high glycemic index: Picture of man eating watermelon.

Tricky High Glycemic Index Foods to Be Aware of

Naughty Fruits … Watermelon, Cantaloupe and Pineapple

Although, as mentioned above, most fruits make an ideal addition to a low glycemic diet

However, not all fruits register low on the glycemic index.

For example, watermelon, cantaloupe and pineapple all score over 70.

Dates are one of the worse fruits to have while on a low glycemic index diet, as they register an unbelievable 103 on the glycemic index.


Naughty Vegetables … White Potato and Parsnip

Potatoes are bad enough for your blood sugar levels. French fries are even worse as they are processed foods. Fortunately, the already-mentioned white potatoes are the only real vegetables you should be looking to avoid, as these do sit well up on the index.

That is, unless you are a parsnip fan!

The seemingly innocent looking parsnip registers a shocking 97 on the glycemic index. And the parsnip registers even higher if it is mashed, so it is best to keep it out of your low glycemic index diet altogether.


Get Used to Reading That Label

If you are serious about following a low glycemic index diet, it is important you check the labels on the foods you buy for your low glycemic recipes.

The exact glycemic index rating is gained through a thoroughly scientific experimentation, which you won’t be able to complete every time you do a shop. Therefore, you have to rely on the ballpark figure that manufacturers print on food labels to give you a rough idea of the glycemic index rating.

You will need to find the total carbohydrates section on the food label, this is usually situated alongside the cholesterol, sodium and sugar counts.

Underneath the total carbohydrates you will find sugar carbohydrates and it is these two figures you will need to divide to achieve the glycemic index rating.

Thankfully, thanks to the raising popularity of the low glycemic index diet, such as the South Beach diet, most manufacturers have made it easier for people to spot the index rating – usually displayed in a green box on the front or back of the food packaging.

Of course, if you cannot find the glycemic index rating on certain foods and you don’t feel capable of working it our correctly, having a list of low glycemic foods on you when you go shopping will be a real help.

If you plan on trying new low glycemic index recipes, you can always use the Internet to check the exact index rating and ensure it is suitable for your low glycemic index diet before you go shopping.

Other Pages on This Site, You Might Want to Visit

Guide to a Low Glycemic Diet: Identifying Foods Low in the Glycemic Index & Ruling out the Sugary High GI Traitors

Find the Values of Different Low Glycemic Index Foods and Learn How to Healthily Follow a Low Carb Diet

A Low Glycemic Food List: Identifying the Good Slow Carbs and the Bad Fast Carbs

Exercise Glycemic Control by Following the Low Glycemic Index Diet

A Long Glycemic Index Food List to Keep Your Blood Sugar Levels Balanced

Glycemic Index Food Chart Model: Showing You Carbohydrates High and Low in GI

Low Glycemic Index Diet Tips: Simple Guidelines to Avoid the Trickery Pitfalls

A Comprensive Glycemic Index Chart along with a Low Glycemic Food List

The Healthy Low Glycemic Foods Diet: How to Eat According to the Glycemic Index

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