Words like “healthy eating” and “the holidays” don’t always go hand-in-hand. The good news is that these concepts aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, many people successfully make it through the food-filled days between Thanksgiving and New Years without giving up on their weight loss plans. One tool for staying on track is the glycemic index. Read on for a closer look at this eating plan, along with a roundup of low glycemic recipes perfect for any holiday table.
What is the Glycemic Index?
While the glycemic index (GI) principle was initially developed as a food guidance strategy for people with diabetes, it has emerged to become a trusted eating plan for other people as well. Whether you’re looking to keep excess pounds at bay, are aiming for better heart health, or trying to reduce your sugar intake, a low GI diet may be the key to achieving these goals.
How does it work, exactly? “Whenever we eat any type of carbohydrate, whether it’s pure table sugar or a cup of fresh vegetables, the molecules in the food are broken down as they’re absorbed, which impacts blood glucose levels and insulin release…How drastically and quickly a carbohydrate causes this process to happen depends on how quickly its glucose is broken down,” says Dr. Axe.
The glycemic index assigns a number to all carbohydrates according to their impact on blood sugar. Depending on a food’s glycemic index/glycemic load number, it qualifies as either low GI (below 50); medium GI (50 to 70); or high GI (70 to 100).
Concludes the Mayo Clinic , “Comparing these values, therefore, can help guide healthier food choices. For example, an English muffin made with white wheat flour has a GI value of 77. A whole-wheat English muffin has a GI value of 45.” Specifically, foods like green vegetables, most fruits, and legumes fall into the low GI category while white rice, white bread, and potatoes are at the other extreme. In the middle are bananas, sweet corn, pineapple, multigrain bread, and oat breakfast cereals.
Get Your Low GI On
Not sure where to begin when it comes to making low GI eating part of your holiday weight loss plan? These five recipes can help you get off to a smart start.
This four-ingredient recipe from BBC GoodFood isn’t just nutritious and delicious, it’s also a festive addition to any seasonal dessert spread. (Looking for even more sweet treats? Download our free ebook, 12 Healthy Dessert Recipes, today.)
Start Christmas Day off right with this easy overnight oatmeal recipe from The Daily Meal. An added bonus? It smells as good as it looks!
An attractive side dish to your main course, these compact cakes from the GI Diet Guide are packed with low-GI goodness.
While sweet potatoes have a low GI value — particularly compared to other types of potato — most holiday recipes featuring sweet potatoes are swimming in sweets like marshmallows and sugar. This recipe, which can be baked or cooked in the crockpot, is a healthy and flavorful alternative.
It sounds rich and indulgent, but this recipe checks all the boxes when it comes to healthy eating. Not only is it low-glycemic, but it’s also low-carb, Keto, gluten-free, and vegetarian — meaning even the pickiest eaters at your table will be pleased!
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