Low Glycemic Index Foods


screenshot_20181115-113045~2393868930185126298..jpgTo make easy low glycemic index food choices, you will need to stock the right foods. Here are ideas for what to keep in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. These foods have optimum flavor and nutritional value and work well, in moderation, in a low glycemic index diet.

What to keep in your pantry:


  • Asian sauces. Hoisin, oyster, soy, and fish sauces are a good basic range. Also jarred or canned Thai curry pastes, Chinese garlic chili paste, and mirin (sweet rice wine) for genuine flavors.
  • Barley. One of the oldest cultivated cereals, barley is very nutritious and high in soluble fiber. Look for products such as Pearl Barley to use in soups, stews and pilafs.
  • Black pepper. Buy fresh ground pepper or grind your own peppercorns.
  • Bread. Low-GI options include whole grain, 100% stone-ground whole wheat, pumpernickel, sourdough, English muffins, flat bread, and pita.
  • Breakfast cereals. These include traditional rolled oats, natural muesli, and low-GI packaged breakfast cereals.
  • Broth. Make your own or buy prepared products, which are available in cans and aseptic containers, or in cubes or granules Look for low salt options.
  • Bulgar wheat. Use it to make tabbouleh, or add to vegetable burgers, stuffings, soups, and stews.
  • Canned evaporated fat free milk. This makes an excellent substitution for cream in pasta sauces.
  • Canned fish. Keep a good stock of canned tuna packed in spring water, and canned sardines and salmon. Fish canned in oil contains about 10 times more fat than fish canned in water. If you prefer to buy tuna in oil, check the ingredient list closely for the type of oil used; canola, olive or soybean is best.
  • Canned fruit. Have a variety of canned fruit on hand, including peaches, pears, apples, and nectarines. Choose brands labeled with “No added sugar” and packed in juice.
  • Canned vegetables. Sweet corn and tomatoes can hep to boost the vegetable content of a meal. Tomatoes in particular, can be used freely because they are rich in anti-oxidants, as well as having a low-GI. Recipe-ready diced tomatoes are ultra-convenient for pasta sauces and other dishes.
  • Cornmeal. 100% stone-ground dried corn, either white or yellow, retains the most nutrients. It can be used for polenta, baking, and breading foods for oven frying.
  • Couscous. Nutritious whole wheat couscous is now sold in many supermarkets. It only takes minutes to soak it in hot broth or water as an ingredient in casseroles or an accompaniment to braised dishes.
  • Curry pastes. A tablespoon or so of jarred or canned Thai-style curry paste makes a delicious sauce base.
  • Dried fruit. These include apricots, raisins, prunes and apples.
  • Dried herbs. Oregano, basil, ground coriander, thyme, and rosemary can be useful to have on standby in the pantry.
  • Honey. Those with the lowest-GI include the floral honeys, not the commercially blended types.
  • Jam. A dollop of good quality all fruit (with no added sugar) on toast contains fewer calories than butter or margarine.
  • Legumes. Stock a variety of legumes (dried or canned) including lentils, spli peas, and beans. Incorporating them in a recipe, perhaps as a substitution for meat, will lower the fat content of the finished dish.
  • Mustard. Whole grain mustard is useful as a sandwich spread, in salad dressings, and in sauces. Dijon style mustard is a wonderful addition to sauces.
  • Noodles. Many Asian noodles, such as udon and rice vermicelli, have low to intermediate GI values because of their dense texture, whether they are made from wheat or rice flour.
  • Nuts. Try a handful of almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, or pecans (about an ounce) every other day. Try them sprinkled over your breakfast cereal, salad, or dessert, and enjoy unsalted nuts as a snack as well. Seeds such as sesame, sunflower, and flax seed are delicious in both savory and sweet dishes.
  • Oils. Try olive oil or canola oil for general use; some extra virgin olive oil for salad dressings, marinades, and dishes that benefit from its flavor; and toasted sesame oil as a condiment for Asian style stir fries. Canola and olive oil cooking sprays are handy too.
  • Pasta. A great source of carbohydrates and B vitamins. Fresh or dried, the preparation is easy. Simply cook in boiling water until just tender, or al dente, drain, and top with your favorite sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
  • Quinoa. This whole grain cooks in about 10 to 15 minutes and has a slightly chewy texture. It can be used as a substitute for rice, couscous, or bulgar wheat. It is very important to rinse the grains thoroughly before cooking.
  • Rice. Basmati, brown, wild, short grain white, and Uncle Ben’s converted rice varieties have a much lower GI than, for example, jasmine rice.
  • Rolled oats. Besides their use in oatmeal oats can be added to cakes, muffins, brads and desserts.
  • Salt. Use in moderation.
  • Spices and seasoning blends. Most spices and seasoning blends, including ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, paprika, nutmeg, and chili powder, should be bought in small quantities and stored in a cool dark place.
  • Tomato pasta sauce. The classic meatless Italian tomato sauce is typically seasoned with onion, garlic, and oregano. Look for brands without high fructose corn syrup to avoid unwanted calories and sugar. It can be used in pastas, pizzas, or braised meats and poultry.
  • Tomato paste. Use in soups, sauces and casseroles.
  • Vinegar. White or red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar are excellent in vinaigrette dressings in salads.

What to keep in your refrigerator:


  • Bacon. Bacon is a valuable ingredient in many dishes because of the flavor it offers. You can make a little bacon go a long way by trimming off all fat and chopping it finely. Ham is oftena more economical and leaner way to go. In casseroles an soups, bacon or a ham bone imparts a fine flavor, with less fat.
  • Capers, olives and anchovies. These can be bought in jars and kept in the refrigerator. They are a tasty addition to pasta dishes, pizzas and salads.
  • Cheese. Reduced-fat cheddar cheese, or other favorite reduced-fat types, are great to keep handy in the fridge. A block of Parmesan is indispensable and will keep for up to 1 month. Reduced -fat cottage and ricotta cheeses have a short life so are best bought as needed The can be a good alternative to butter or margarine spread in a sandwich.
  • Condiments. Keep jars of minced garlic, chile, or fresh ginger in the refrigerator to spice up your cooking in an instant. Ready-diced onions and bell peppers, sold in most supermarket produce sections, also speed healthy meal preparation.
  • Cream and sour cream. Keep to very small amounts, as these are high in saturated fat. Substitute fat-free sour cream, which tastes very similar to the full fat variety. A 16 ounce container of heavy cream can be poured into ice cube trays and frozen, providing small servings of cream easily when you need it. Adding one ice-cube block o cream to a dish adds only 5 1/2 gram of fat.
  • Eggs. To enhance your intake of omega-3 fats, use omega-3 enriched eggs. The fat in eggs is predominantly monounsaturated, and therefore considered a “good fat”.
  • Fish. Try a variety of fresh fish.
  • Fresh fruit. Almost all fruit makes an excellent low-GI snack. When in season, try apples, oranges, pears, grapes, grapefruit, peaches, apricots, strawberries and mangoes.
  • Fresh herbs. These are available in most supermarkets, and there really is no substitute for the flavor they impart For variety, try parsley, basil, mint, chives and cilantro.
  • Jarred vegetables. Sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and roasted egg plant and peppers are handy to keep as flavorsome additions to to pasta and sandwiches.
  • Lemons. A lemon is one of the most versatile ingredients in the low-GI kitchen. Try a squeeze along with ground black pepper on vegetables instead of a pat of butter. Lemon juice provides acidity that slows gastric emptying and lowers the GI value. Convenient frozen 100% pure lemon juice is sold in most supermarkets.
  • Mayonnaise. Select brands prepared with canola or olive oil.
  • Meat and poultry. Lean varieties are better. Try lean beef, lamb, pork chicken and turkey.
  • Milk. Fat free or low fat milk is best, or try low fat calcium enriched soy milk.
  • Tofu. Add to stir fries and casseroles.
  • Vegetables. Keep a variety of seasonal vegetables on hand such as spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, Asian greens, zucchini and mushrooms Bell peppers and scallions and sprouts are great to bulk up a salad. Sweet corn and sweet potato are essential to your low-GI food stores.
  • Yogurt. Low-fat natural yogurt provides the most calcium for the fewest calories. It also provides “friendly bacteria”, protein, and riboflavin, and unlike milk, is suitable for people who are lactose intolerant. Low fat yogurt is a good substitute for sour cream. Have vanilla or fruit versions as a dessert, or use natural plain yogurt as a condiment in savory dishes However, if using yogurt in a hot meal, make sure you add it at the last minute, and do not let it boil or curdle.

What to keep in your freezer:


  • Frozen berries. Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries can make any dessert special, and with frozen ones, you do not have to wait until berry season to indulge. They are also a great addition to breakfasts and snacks.
  • Frozen meat, poultry and seafood. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pork tenderloins and loose pack shrimp are widely available. Take out just the amount you need to thaw for your recipe.
  • Frozen vegetables. Keep a package of peas, beans, corn, spinach, or mixed vegetables in the freezer. These are handy to add to a quick meal.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Brenda Sue says:

    I will use this list today! Quite often I want to stock my pantry and don’t have menus in mind. This list makes preshopping menus unnecessary. Thank you!

  2. davidyochim says:

    You are quite welcome my friend.

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