Preparing meals with the glycemic index (G.I.) in mind is actually far simpler than you might think, and so is creating glycemic index recipes. The idea is to minimize the use of sweeteners and high-G.I. foods, while including a variety of low-G.I. foods to ensure optimum nutrition.
Many possibilities exist for a low-G.I. breakfast. Good old-fashioned rolled or steel-cut oats topped with fat-free yogurt and a few fresh strawberries, for example. Omelets are fine if they are made with egg substitutes, especially when filled with low-G.I. foods instead of cheese. A Denver Omelet, for example, with green bell peppers, tomato, ham, and onion, would be a good low-GI choice for breakfast.
Lunch is probably the easiest meal to make low-G.I., as it is usually a light meal and salads are plentiful, both in the supermarket and at most restaurants and fast food restaurants. The important thing to remember at lunch is to balance your carbohydrate intake with low-fat protein sources. Try topping a mesclun mix with grilled shrimp and a light vinaigrette, or adding grilled chicken to a spinach and romaine salad.
Dinner can be a challenge simply because the "typical" dinner includes so many starches that are not low G.I. foods. If you are accustomed to eating meat, potatoes, rolls, and a vegetable, the G.I. dinner may be a bit of a challenge at first. Be creative when developing glycemic index recipes for this meal; some possibilities are replacing processed white flour rolls with 100% whole-wheat, high-fiber bread, or substituting basmati rice for a potato. A good, low-GI menu for dinner might include grilled or broiled salmon, steamed asparagus, steamed barley, and spinach flavoured with lemon juice. Dessert might be a peach or a pear -- two low G.I. fruits that can help solve a craving for sweets.
To increase both variety and flavour as you adjust to G.I. meal planning, try adding one of the following to your recipe: arugula, celeriac, cucumber, dandelion greens, endive, fennel (anise bulb), hearts of palm, mushrooms, canned ripe olives, parsley, hot peppers (like serrano or jalapneo), peppers, radicchio, radish, scallions, tomatillos, or watercress.
Most of the leafy green herbs such as basil, chives, dill, or thyme may be added to salads or cooked dishes without affecting the G.I. number.
Glycemic Index recipes can be found in many places on the internet, for example:
- The G.I. Diet includes recipes from Rick Gallop's Living the G.I. Diet, as well as recipes from readers and site visitors.
- Glycemic Index Foundation provides a number of low-G.I. recipes at their website.
Books of Glycemic Index Recipes
There are dozens of cookbooks devoted to the glycemic index approach, in addition to the recipes included in the G.I. Diet books. Here are a few to get you started: