While there are countless diets and meal plans doing the rounds these days, each claiming a different way in which to lose weight, there is one feature almost all of them have in common. They all contain low GI, or low glycemic index, foods, which produce only tiny fluctuations in levels of your blood glucose and insulin. Low GI diet meal plans are arguably one of the best sustainable methods to simultaneously lose weight, protect the heart from disease and help with treatment of diabetes.
For choice of breakfast cereal, you have many options. All-bran flakes, rolled oats, muesli and porridge are known to be low on the glycemic index chart. Have a portion of any of these with a cup of skimmed milk or low-fat chocolate milk. Corn flakes, Cheerios or Rice Crispies are higher on the GI index chart. Try to avoid them. Instead of a white bread or bagel, stick to low GI breads made with whole wheat, whole grains, or soya and linseed. You can have a pat of low-fat margarine or reduced-fat sweet preservative with your bread. The first meal of the day could also include a fruit like an apple, some dried apricots or pears that are known to have a low GI index. Try to avoid fruits like figs, watermelon, dates and papaya that have a slightly higher GI index.
Lunch and Dinner
Your main meals should have a good balance of staples, vegetables and meats or fish. Instead of medium or high-GI foods like instant white rice, fresh mashed potatoes or taco shells, try to have brown rice, wheat pasta, wheat tortillas and instant noodles. For vegetables, avoid higher GI foods like pumpkin or beetroot and have any one or more of lettuce, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, peas and beans in moderation. For legumes, stick to low GI kidney beans, red and green lentils, chickpeas and black eyed beans as opposed to a dish of beans baked in tomato sauce which is known to have slightly higher GI. For your source of protein, have low-GI meats like skinless chicken or turkey breasts or any lean cut of meat or one portion of baked, broiled or grilled versions of any fish including cod, salmon, shrimp and tuna. If you are keen on dessert, have a low-GI one like a flavored yogurt, but stay away from high-GI ice cream.
Peanuts, walnuts, hummus, sponge cake, oatmeal crackers, cashew nuts and raisins are low on the GI chart. Try to munch on these instead of opting for high-GI snacks like donuts, scones, and pretzels.
You need not stay completely away from high-GI foods. Do have them once in a while with low or medium-GI foods to bring down the glycemic index of the total meal. Eat your meals at proper times during the day, and have them regularly. Get your nutrition from all kinds of food groups, and not just one. Restrict your intake of direct sugar, sweets, fatty foods, alcohol and caffeinated foods. Drink lots of water and rest well.