Low Glycemic On the GO – Everybody loves eating out, and you really wouldn’t want to say “No” to every social occasion, because you’re on a “diet”, but it seems almost impossible to make good low gi food choices when faced with so many options.
Remembering that a low gi diet is a lifestyle choice, rather than a “quick fix”, here are useful suggestions for following a low gi diet lifestyle when you’re eating out.
Low GI Tips For Eating Out:
• Don’t go when you’re starving – perhaps even eat a small low gi snack before you go out
• Avoid buffets and “all you can eat” restaurants
• Limit alcoholic drinks
• Order foods that have been prepared in a healthy way – steamed, stir fried, lightly roasted
• If portions are large, split yours with someone else or order an entrée size
• Be willing to ask for meal substitutions or adjustments – restaurants are becoming more capable of adapting to people’s varied dietary needs, including that of a low gi diet
• Keep low-glycemic foods in mind and order the best choice available
The following are some low gi diet tips for specific types of restaurants:
• Clear broth soups like hot and sour, egg drop, or wonton are good choices
• Order traditional dishes that feature smaller portions of lean proteins (meat, chicken, seafood, tofu) stir-fried with lots of assorted vegetables and tasty sauces
• Avoid overly sweet sauces like sweet & sour, lemon, or plum. Try black bean, oyster or Szechuan instead
• Avoid fried foods (like spring rolls, dim sims, etc) Order brown rice, if available
• Order dishes that combine proteins (meat or tofu) with vegetables
• Choose curry, chili, basil, lime, and fish sauces
• Opt for long-grain rice over white rice
• Try pad thai and other stir-fried noodle dishes, ask for less oil to be used in the preparation
• Choose roasted lamb or chicken dishes prepared with lemon and yoghurt
• Try baked fish and chicken dishes that are healthily prepared
• Make sure to order Greek salads
• Avoid the filo-dough, large amounts of feta cheese, and excessive amounts of olive oil
• Order healthily prepared legumes, chicken, fish, and vegetables
• Try the tomato-based sauces and tandoori dishes
• Choose basmati rice (it’s low gi!) as a side, or in biryanis, and chapati bread
• Avoid sauces made with large amounts of butter or coconut milk
• Choose tomato or marsala sauces
• Order an entrée sized portion of pasta with a large serving of salad
• If ordering pizza, choose thin-crust with low-fat cheese and loaded with vegetables
• Avoid the white bread (high gi!) and cheesy, creamy sauces
• Try miso soup and soy beans (edamame) for starters
• Choose sushi, sashimi, yakitori, teriyaki, sukiyaki, and grilled dishes
• Order udon or soba noodles
• Limit the rice and avoid tempura
• Choose tomato/wine sauces, broth-based soups
• Look for Mediterranean-style dishes
• Order broiled, steamed, or poached foods
• Be sure to order a salad or large serves of vegetables
• Avoid the bread and high-fat sauces
• Order grilled seafood and chicken dishes: tacos, burritos, fajitas
• Ask for low-fat cheese, whole-wheat tortillas, and light sour cream
• Avoid the cheese and refried beans
• Limit guacamole
See! It’s easier than you think to eat out, eat well and be fully satisfied, when following the lifestyle of a low gi diet.
Low GI Diet Tips #1
In order to promote a healthy body from the inside and out, these low glycemic tips and strategies can help you follow the path of a low gi diet lifestyle. They’ll help to increase your intake of healthy carbohydrates, manage your weight and reduce your likelihood of falling prey to ill health.
Eat more fruit and vegetables – 7 serves a day!
Research shows time and time again that a low gi diet, high in fruits and vegetables, will significantly reduce the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, many cancers and other degenerative diseases – as well as weight loss. Be sure to eat a wide variety of differently coloured fruits and vegetables, so that you’re getting a broad spectrum of nutrients and antioxidants to promote good health. Remember though, to eat the whole fruit, not just the juice! Also, if you have a small amount of protein, like nuts, seeds, yoghurt, etc at the same time as having a piece of fruit, you’ll feel full longer, and reduce the overall glycemic index load of your snack.
Eat more nuts!
Because nuts and seeds are largely protein, they’re also a very low glycemic diet snack. They’re an excellent source of essential fatty acids (EFA’s), which are “essential” for our overall health – everything from diabetes to heart disease, brain function, skin health, hormonal issues … and the list goes on. EFA’s can’t be manufactured by our bodies, so they need to come from our diet. Sadly, many people trying to lose weight have avoided eating nuts because of their high fat content and, in so doing, have missed out on important nutrients that can actually support healthy weight maintenance.
A few nuts daily is all you need. Choose a wide variety of favourites and make sure they’re unroasted, as high temperatures will destroy the essential fatty acids. Add them to salads, breakfasts, enjoy them with fruit, or as a simple snack.
Eat more beans!
Many of us in western countries, don’t eat as many beans and pulses in our diet as our Eastern counterparts. Beans, peas and lentils are low glycemic, nutrient dense, high in protein, and rich in nutrients. Being low gi, add them to soups, stews and salads, or puree them into tasty dips to have with fresh vegetables as a tasty snack.
Eat whole grains instead!
Forget about the super soft, white, fluffy, high glycemic index bread on supermarket shelves. Look for the heavier whole grain varieties, with visible grain and seeds and a low gi. Instead of mashed potatoes, choose brown or basmati rice, and experiment with quinoa, freekah, wild rice – or other ancient grains. There are so many nutrient rich foods that nature provides, that it seems a shame to limit our diets to only a handful of foods to which we’ve become accustomed. The more we look for better choices, the more we’ll find – and enjoy! After all, a low glycemic diet is meant to be easy!
You may have heard about the Glycemic Index …
but what does it really mean? … and how important is it for your health? … What is a low glycemic diet?
Very simply, the Glycemic Index is a scientific ranking of how the foods we eat affect our blood sugar levels in the 2 or 3 hours after eating. This index is measured against pure glucose, which has a value of 100 on the index. The index ranges from 0 to 100 with:
0-55 = Low-GI 56-69 = Moderate-GI 70-100 = High-GI
High GI 70-100 Carbohydrates that break down quickly during digestion, release blood sugar rapidly into the bloodstream, and cause marked fluctuations in blood sugar levels.
Medium GI 56-69 Carbohydrates that break down moderately during digestion and release blood sugar moderately into the bloodstream.
Low GI 0-55 Carbohydrates that break down slowly during digestion, release blood sugar gradually into the bloodstream, and keep blood sugar levels steady … and provide you with proven benefits for your health!
Low GI Meals leave you feeling fuller longer, ease food cravings and provide you with greater and more sustained energy levels. If you’re looking to either lose weight, or maintain your existing weight, a low GI diet lifestyle is the perfect option. Also, if you find yourself lethargic, losing concentration, or experiencing mood swings an hour or so after eating, a change to low GI meals may show immediate benefits.
In term of long terms health, Low GI Diets are important to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes or heart disease. However, if you’ve already been diagnosed with diabetes, low GI diets have been shown to improve both lipid and glucose levels, maintain more stable insulin levels and reduce insulin resistance, which is important in reducing the risk of long term diabetes-related complications.
More and more health benefits associated with choosing a low glycemic index diet are constantly being realised, but the ones we’ve listed are certainly already impressive …
- Control and stabilise your blood sugar levels
- Raise your HDL (“good”) cholesterol
- Lower your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels
- Assist you with weight loss
- Manage symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin
- Lower your risk of type 2 diabetes
- Lower your risk of heart disease
- Improve your energy levels and general wellbeing
So, to get started, just do your best to avoid high Glycemic foods as much as possible … and simply choose medium or low GI foods wherever you can! It becomes very easy once your understand the basics, and it certainly doesn’t mean that you’ll be forever consulting charts and adding up numbers to succeed. Begin simply, by continuing to learn a little about the glycemic index and you’ll be on your way to a satisfying and tasty low glycemic diet lifestyle.