Low GI Diet Navigation
low-gi diet

Why do I need a low-GI diet? What is the glycaemic index? How can I switch to a healthy, low-GI diet? 5 ways to lower the GI of your meals Low-GI ideas for every meal of the day Low-GI shopping tips Low-GI eating out tips The GI ratings of some popular foods Try some delicious Low-GI recipes Want to find out more?

Although it can be more difficult to maintain a low-GI diet when eating out, it certainly isn’t impossible and it needn’t be complicated. Don’t be intimidated by a new menu, simply bear in mind that you have two main aims – to keep both the GI rating and the fat content (particularly the saturated fat content) of your meal as low as possible. Rest assured that you can achieve these aims no matter where you are by applying a few simple guidelines.

1. KEEP THE GI OF A MEAL LOW

Avoid or only eat small amounts of:
High-GI foods, such as most forms of potato, including mashed, chipped and baked, most forms of rice (other than basmati), most breads and other highly refined carbohydrate-based foods, including sugary drinks and desserts

Go for:
Vegetables either in the form of a vegetable-based main course or order some extra vegetable side dishes to replace the chips, rice or potatoes that you might ordinarily have ordered

Salads, either as a main course, as a starter or as a side dish

Protein-based foods, such as lean meat, fish, chicken and pulses. The protein in these foods will help to significantly lower the GI rating of your overall meal

Fruit-based desserts instead of those laden with refined flour and sugar, and fat

2. KEEP THE SATURATED FAT CONTENT LOW

Following the guidelines given on the left will not only help to lower the GI of your meal, they will also go a long way towards keeping the fat content of your meal low, too. However, in order to keep the saturated fat content of your meal low, do the following:

Avoid or only eat small amounts of:
Fried and roasted foods
High-fat foods, such as mayonnaise, butter and butter-based sauces, cheese, cream and fatty meats

Go for:
Oily fish and avocados – although the fat content and therefore the calorie content of these foods is high, they are packed full of good, healthy essential fatty acids

SPECIFIC RESTAURANTS
Whatever type of restaurant you are in, just apply the two rules given on the left. However, the following information will help you make your menu choice in specialized restaurants.

INDIAN
Go for:
Tomato- or vegetable-based curries

Tandoori-style meat – marinated in yoghurt and spices and then cooked in a clay oven

Tikkas are lower in calories than many other curries because they are dry-roasted in a clay oven, but watch out for the high-fat sauces often served with them

Side salads and vegetable side dishes

Dishes based around lentils, pulses and vegetables, such as dhansak and dhal

Avoid or only eat small amounts of:
Creamy curries such as kormas or massalas

Rice, especially fried. If you must have rice ask for boiled basmati

Poppadoms and breads, such as naan, chapatti or paratha

Fried foods, such as onion bhajis and fried meats

CHINESE AND THAI
Go for:
Clear soups

Main courses based around vegetables or lean proteins, such as fish, pork or chicken

Noodle-based dishes, such as chow mein, but avoid fried noodles wherever possible

Thai salads

Steamed and stir-fried dishes

Avoid or only eat small amounts of:
Deep-fried foods, such as crispy seaweed, prawn toast and prawn crackers or those served in batter. They are usually high GI and high in fat

Rice-based dishes

Duck – it is very high in fat

Meals containing coconut or coconut milk or cream. These are particularly high in saturated fat

MEXICAN
Go for:
Salsa and tomato-based sauces
Tortillas filled with GI-lowering protein foods, such as grilled chicken and refried beans
Peppers
Salads
Guacamole – small amounts are great but don’t overdo it, especially if you are trying to maintain or lose weight

Avoid or only eat small amounts of:
Sour cream
Cheese
Burgers
Nachos

ITALIANimage of pasta
Go for:
Salads, but use balsamic vinegar and small amounts of olive oil to dress your salad instead of high-fat alternatives, such as blue cheese or seafood mayonnaise
Tomato-based sauces, such as arrabbiata or neopolitan, instead of cream- or cheese-based sauces, such as carbonara
Olives
Spinach leaves either in salads or on pizzas
Lean grilled meats, such as ham and chicken
Fish, especially fresh tuna, which is high in essential omega-3 fatty acids
Pasta – the lowest-GI pastas are fettuccine, spaghetti, vermicelli, linguine and macaroni

Avoid or only eat small amounts of:
Breads, such as garlic bread, dough balls, bread sticks and pizza bases (choose thin bases rather than thick ones and load them with tomatoes and vegetables rather than cheese and fatty meats, such as salami or bacon)
Cream in sauces like carbonara or in coffees and puddings
Cheese in sauces, such as pesto or piled on top of pizzas
Too much oil. Although olive oil has many health-giving properties it is still possible to over

Untitled Page
HOMECONTACT US
TEXT © RACHAEL ANNE HILL 2004 • DESIGN AND PHOTOGRAPHY © RYLAND PETERS & SMALL 2004
BACK TO TOP