As a follow on from the previous post How To Eat a Low GI Diet Effortlessly, here are my diet tips for creating low GI meals.
Eating a low GI diet is incredibly important if you have diabetes pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes. If you are concerned and would like some advice, drop me an email or telephone 1300-853-560.
1. Instead of eating potatoes, bread or pasta, make a couple of big salads to go with dinner instead. Crunchy coleslaw with sliced red and green cabbage, spring onions and a grated carrot is just as filling and more nutritious too. Or try a carrot, coconut, currant and coriander salad with some grilled fish or chicken or a roasted eggplant salad. Make extra salad for the family’s lunch boxes the next day.
2. Swap white potatoes for green puy lentils, or any other bean or pulse. Puy lentils are the green ones, and a favourite of mine. They don’t need soaking and just go straight into a pan of boiling water for 20 minutes – so the cooking time is the same as a spud. Using tinned lentils is perfectly ok too – just read the label to check that no sugar was added during the canning process.
Lentils are a wonder food for anyone with diabetes or type 2 diabetes because they have very little effect on blood sugar levels – and taste great. Try them with stews, casseroles, grilled meat and fish. They also make a great hot or cold salad tossed with some roasted beetroot or eggplant or pumpkin, and scattered with some toasted seeds or a crumbling of feta or goats cheese. Make extra and eat the leftovers for lunch the next day. You can read more about adding lentils to your diet on this blog post.
3. Stock up on canned beans – after all a bean salad to go with some grilled chicken is easy if all you have to do is open and drain a couple of cans, add sliced onion, capsicum, herbs and a drizzle of olive oil.
If you don’t want to soak and cook dried beans, canned beans are the ideal quick, easy alternative that can always be handy in the store cupboard – just read the label for added sugar. Baked beans are ok too – although of a higher GI than just plain beans because sugar has been added to the tomato sauce.
Canned beans can be added to veg stews or eaten alongside them; turned into healthy bean dips that can be eaten with raw veg as a healthy snack; or eaten with a squeeze of lemon juice and a twist of freshly ground black pepper alongside grilled meat and fish. Sauté onion, capsicum, zucchini and garlic, add a tin of tomatoes and whatever beans you have to hand to make a delicious, nutritious ratatouille that will go with any supper dish. Add chilli and kidney beans and you have a veg chilli to eat with brown rice.
4. Soups are a low GI food so are a great winter lunch or supper. Try adding lentils, beans or pearl barley to make it a more robust meal that is filling, satisfying but low GI. You can use any lentils in soups – even the green firm ones I mentioned above (puy lentils), but if you want a thick hearty soup, use the orange or brown lentils instead. These dissolve into the soup as they cook giving it a thicker texture.
5. Avoid eating cereals for breakfast unless it is no added sugar muesli or a whole wheat variety like shredded wheat or Weet-bix. If you want to stay fuller for longer, start your day with a poached egg and some baked beans; natural yoghurt topped with nuts and chopped fresh fruit; a fresh fruit smoothie; home-made porridge made with oats and milk, or a veg omelette with a scattering of grated cheese.
6. Eggs are highly nutritious, low in calories and low GI so they keep you feeling fuller for longer. They are also one of the most versatile of foods. Aside from eating them boiled with wholemeal soldiers or poached with steamed mushrooms, they are great hard boiled and added to salads or eaten as a healthy snack. You can read more about the nutritional value of eggs as part of a healthy diet on this previous post.
7. Give quinoa a try. It is a grain that naturally contains protein, and is easily cooked straight out the packet in a pan of boiling water for 25 minutes. It can be used in place of potatoes or like lentils, and turned into salads with raw veg, warm salads by adding roasted veg, or eaten with lemon juice and herbs alongside grilled meat and fish.
8. I’ve blogged about Healthy Snacking before – but when you do get a sugar low and an energy slump, don’t head for the biscuit tin as a quick sugary fix. Instead eat low GI foods that will keep you satisfied until the next meal. Snack on cheese and crackers; a handful of nuts; hummus and veg sticks or any other lentil or bean dip; yoghurt or a hard boiled egg.
By Lynda Hamilton, an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist BSc, BHSc (N&D) at Hamilton Dietetics.
As dietitian in North Sydney Lynda covers Mona Vale, Kogarah, Collaroy Plateau, Dee Why, the Northern Beaches, Palm Beach, Newport, Narrabeen and Avalon.
Be diet free for life and never count calories again. Join Lynda’s new program – the 10 Weeks to Freedom Anti-Diet Weight Loss Program.