Monday, 30 November 2015

How to De-Stress in Just 10 Minutes

For all the times you need to cool down fast

We've all had intensely stressful moments in life where you find yourself wishing that wine came in those convenient six-packs of juice boxes with the pop-in straws. As genius as that may sound, getting sloshed before an important meeting or moment in your life probably isn't the most intelligent choice. So how do we deal with stress in a calm and productive way? Yoga is constantly hailed as the golden ticket to instant stress relief, but a full-blown class doesn't always slide effortlessly into your crazy schedule. And unfortunately, there's no one pose that can talk you off the edge once you're precariously dangling. Don't worry, there's a surprisingly simple solution: meditation
You've heard it's praises, read the statistics, and yet the idea of sitting with no thoughts is as stressful as the current circus residing in your mind. Here's the good news—I don't want you to clear your mind. I want you to focus it. Let's try to focus it away from the stressors and onto something concrete that will bring us back into a safe and peaceful reality. And did I mention this will only take 10 minutes?
Step 1: Find a quiet place. I know this isn't the easiest request, but try to find a room where you can shut the door. If that isn't an option, grab some noise canceling headphones, earplugs or whatever you can get your hands on. The key is making sure you get 10 minutes of uninterrupted peace. 
Step 2: Turn off the electronics. Yes, all of them, even your cell phone. (Don't even think about putting it on silent—you know you'll check it.) If you can't escape from your computer, at least close the screen or turn off the monitor. You want to nix any possible distraction.
Step 3: Find a comfortable seat. Traditionally, mediation is taken on the ground in a cross-legged position. This isn't always comfortable so you can prop your bottom up on a pillow or even sit in a chair or against a wall. The goal is to keep the spine long and avoid any slouching. Think chest lifted, shoulders back, chin slightly lifted without any strain in your neck. Rest your wrists on your knees with the palms facing up. It may help you focus to use a mudra, a traditional hand gesture to aid intention. For instance, you can bring the index finger and thumb together on each hand. 
Step 4: Let the meditation begin. There are many meditations to choose from out there, but I'm going to offer up a slice of my favorite: Isha Kriya Meditation. The entire ritual calls for three parts, one that includes chanting. Since that probably won't fly in all locations, I'll be focusing on just the first part, though I encourage you to explore the rest of the meditation on your own.
Once you're in a comfortable seat, close your eyes. Take a few moments to slow down your breath. Breathe in and out through your nose keeping your mouth relaxed and your lips slightly parted. As you inhale, think to yourself I am not my body, and as you exhale think I am not even my mind.  Continue to repeat these thoughts to yourself, attaching them to each breath. Take the time to breathe fully without any rush. Keep your internal focus on the spot between your brows (this is called your third eye). Repeat these thoughts and breathing for several minutes or until you feel your body decompress. I deeply recommend that you learn the entire mediation, but this is a beautiful start.
Step 5: Absorb. Here's why this particular meditation resonates with me so much: I find myself stressed and overwhelmed on a regular basis, whether I'm being bombarded by work, emails, requests, or people. When I take the moment to sit and do this meditation, it reminds me of who and where I am. It's easy to get caught up in how I look, how fit I feel, that post I just saw on Instagram, or even how my pants aren't really lifting up my assets the way I hoped. Thinking I am not my body on repeat reminds me that I am not defined by my looks. My body does not represent my success or livelihood. My beauty lies in my heart, my confidence and my actions. I will not attach my success to a number on a scale or a reflection in a mirror. 
Thinking I am not even my mind makes me laugh every time, because once I come to peace with my body, I realize it's my mind that gets me into all the trouble. It tells me to second guess myself. Am I enough? Is there someone better at my job than me? Could I work harder? The next thing you know your mind has woven a web so thick that even the strongest elven sword couldn't cut through it. Don't let your mind tell you stories. That's all they are. Forget the story and remember your soul. Count on what truly matters to you and not the clutter that's shoved in front of your face. Embrace the big picture and go from there. Every time I do this meditation, life comes into perspective and I can breath again. I hope it helps you, too.


The Secret Ingredient That Can Help You Lose Weight

Can't seem to stop snacking? New research may yield a solution: Eating a single serving a day of beans, peas, chickpeas, or lentils can increase fullness, potentially leading to weight loss, according to a new study published in Obesity.
Researchers from St. Michael's Hospital Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Centre reviewed nine clinical trials involving 126 participants. They found that people felt 31 percent fuller after eating an average of 160 grams (just more than a cup) of dietary pulses—dried seeds that are part of the legume family—compared to those who didn't eat them.
Behold, the power of the pulse: Researchers say that besides having a low glycemic index, meaning they're digested slowly, these foods are high in protein and fiber, both of which are linked to long-lasting fullness and weight loss. What’s more, researchers note that pulses can be used in place of higher-fat animal proteins, which could also aid in weight loss.
While it’s worth noting that the research was funded in part by a grant from Pulse Canada, the country’s national pulse industry association, the study’s findings back up previous research that has shown that beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils can aid in weight loss.
Ready to get your pulse on? Researchers suggest serving yourself at least 3/4 cup (or 130 grams) of the legumes a day. Bonus: That can totally count toward your five veggies a day.

Comment below if you found it helpful, let me know what you think.


Sunday, 29 November 2015

10 Alternatives for Healthy Weight-Loss Foods You Hate

You can avoid what you dislike without hurting 

your pound-dropping efforts.

Sometimes, no matter how good you know a food is for you, you just can’t stomach it. And that’s okay! You don’t have to love every single superfood that seems like the next big thing. “You’ve probably heard a lot of buzz about how healthy certain foods are for you," says Amanda Bontempo, M.S., R.D, an ambulatory oncology dietitian at New York University Langone Medical Center. "While we love these foods—and they’re famous for a reason—they are certainly not the be all, end all of a healthy diet.” Instead of just slashing a gross-out item from your grocery list, here’s what you can replace it with.

Substitute Cauliflower for Kale
Even though many superfoods have landed on the scene, it can often seem like kale has nabbed the number one spot. If you’re not into this veggie, you can still get the health-boosting benefits if you sub in some cauliflower. “Both kale and cauliflower are part of the cruciferous vegetable family that contains glucosinolates, which help eliminate disease-causing toxins and control hormones,” says Bontempo. The glucosinolates have sulfur, which is what gives these vegetables their signature smell. “Be careful not to overcook them because that may deplete some of the nutrients,” says Bontempo. “Try sautéing or roasting.”

Substitute Shrimp for Eggs
Eggs are obviously a breakfast staple (thankfully there are tons of other a.m options if you’re not into ‘em!). When it comes to getting that dose of protein in other ways, turn to shrimp. “Eggs and shrimp are some of the few food sources of choline, which is essential for optimal memory, detoxification of the liver, and nervous system activity,” says Bontempo.

Substitute Nut Butter for Almonds
It feels like one of those perennial nuggets of health wisdom: Almonds make a great snack. And what if you don’t like them? Nut butters, which can range from cashew to sunflower seed, belong on your list. “They’re milder in flavor, but their protein and healthy fat will help keep you full,” says Bontempo. They’re especially useful if your aversion to almonds comes from a texture issue—no crunch.

Substitute Turkey for Grilled Chicken
A grilled chicken breast on your salad every day can get so old, you might forget why you loved it in the first place. Lean turkey to the rescue! “Both of these are very low in fat. Although turkey is often overshadowed by chicken, it’s just as high in protein,” says Bontempo. Even better, it’s versatile, too. “It’s perfect to throw into soups, sandwiches, and salads.”

Substitute Blueberries for Apples
If you can’t fathom why anyone ever thought to call it a “Red Delicious,” you can still reap some of apples’ health benefits from other sources. Blueberries, for instance, are also a fantastic way to get some of an antioxidant called quercetin. “It improves cardiovascular health and encourages healthy blood flow,” says Bontempo. It also inhibits the enzyme that is key for cortisol release, so it protects your mind and body from the damage stress can do.

Substitute Kefir for Almond Milk and Yogurt
We’ve been touting yogurt’s health benefits for some time now, but it can be a polarizing food. Some people just can’t choke it down! If you’re one of them, try kefir or almond milk instead “Kefir is a great drinkable alternative to yogurt with the same probiotic benefits,” says Bontempo. “If you’re cutting back on dairy, try using almond milk, which is still a good calcium source. As an added benefit, a whole cup only has 30 calories.”

Substitute Tahini for Avocado
Avocado has heart-smart monounsaturated fats and helps lower harmful cholesterol,” says Bontempo. Still not into this green goodness? “Tahini, a paste made from sesame seeds, also provides these heart-healthy fats. It’s also a good source for minerals like potassium, magnesium, and calcium.” The easiest way to try it is in a delicious dressing you can make at home.

Substitute Flaxseeds for Salmon
Salmon is packed with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, but flaxseeds are non-fishy way to consume them. “Since two tablespoons provide five grams of fiber, these will also help keep you full and alleviate constipation,” says Bontempo. Hint: They’re perfect in smoothies.

Substitute Rainbow Carrots for Peppers
Bell peppers pack a healthy punch that carrots can also deliver. Bonus: They can come in really gorgeous colors, too. “Like bell peppers, carrots are also high in anti-inflammatory vitamin C,” says Bontempo. “They’re healthy complex carbohydrates that provide a variety of phytochemicals and antioxidants like beta carotene and lutein from the jewel-toned pigments.” Complex carbs digest more slowly so you feel fuller longer. Antioxidants and phytochemicals help your body fight free radicals.

Substitute Edamame for Beans
If the texture of beans throws you off, edamame can be an easy swap to make. “It’s equally high in protein and fiber,” says Bontempo. It actually wins out, too, because it’s a complete source of protein. That means it provides all the essential amino acids, which beans don’t. Plus, their pretty pale green color makes for some Insta-worthy salads.

Comment below if you found this helpful. Love hearing your feedback.


The Best Breakfast Cereals for Weight Loss

When you’re faced with morning madness, the easiest path to a healthy breakfast is often a cereal box. But when it comes to nutrition, the choices in the cereal aisle don’t stack up evenly. You know you need to skip brands with added chocolate chips, marshmallows, and fake fruity-Os, but picking the best of the best seemingly healthy cereals can be a confusing chore.
“Never judge a cereal by the front of the box — the manufacturers aren’t there to help you be healthy,” says Gretchen Chriszt, MS, RD, LD, a dietitian with the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. To get the real scoop, you need to scan the ingredients and nutrition facts label for sneaky sugar sources and hidden processed ingredients. What you want to see: One serving should provide at least 3 grams of fiber (5 grams or more is considered “high-fiber”), less than 10 grams of sugar, and less than 200 milligrams (mg) of salt. The next time you shop, reach for one of these best bets.

General Mills Cheerios

Serving size: 1 cup
Calories: 100
Sugar: 1 gram
Sodium: 160 mg
Fiber: 3 grams
Fat: 2 grams
Protein: 3 grams
For a healthy breakfast, stick to classic Cheerios. “They are high in fiber and low in sugar, all those things that we look for,” Chriszt explains. “Go with the plain Cheerios, not the honey nut or vanilla or any of the other flavors.” There are also many store-brand or generic versions of Cheerios, which are acceptable as well. Need to add pizzazz to plain cereal? “Try adding some fruit to give it some sweetness,” Chriszt suggests.

Kellogg's All-Bran

Serving size: 1/2 cup
Calories: 80
Sugar: 6 grams
Sodium: 80 mg
Fiber: 10 grams
Fat: 1 gram
Protein: 4 grams
“One of the main things that I look at is the fiber content,” says dietitian Gretchen Kauth, MEd, RD, of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. “The fiber recommendation is 20 to 35 grams a day, and if you can get a fourth to a third at breakfast, that’s good.” All-Bran is a cereal that really delivers on fiber, but Kauth points out that this cereal’s serving size might not seem substantial enough to many people. Add volume to your healthy breakfast and up the nutrition and flavor with berries, cut or dried fruit, or a small serving of nuts.

General Mills Fiber One Original

Calories: 60
Sugar: 0 grams
Sodium: 105 mg
Fiber: 14 grams
Fat: 1 gram
Protein: 2 grams
A serving of this cereal provides just about half of the fiber you need for the entire day. That’s fine if you’re used to eating a lot of fiber, but Chriszt cautions that "when your gastrointestinal tract is not used to a high amount of fiber, it’s best to do it gradually.” Otherwise you risk feeling uncomfortable because of excess gas, which can undermine your healthy choice. If eating a very high-fiber cereal is one of your nutrition goals, start with a lower-fiber cereal and gradually work your way up over the course of a few weeks while increasing fiber at other times during the day. Keep in mind: This cereal has no sugar because it is sweetened with aspartame, which is not to everyone’s taste.

Kashi 7 Whole Grain Nuggets

Serving size: 1/2 cup
Calories: 210
Sugar: 3 grams
Sodium: 260 mg
Fiber: 7 grams
Fat: 1.5 grams
Protein: 7 grams
Chriszt advocates looking carefully at nutrition labels to make sure that the grains in the cereals you eat are whole grains, not processed, and that they are at or near the beginning of the ingredients list. Kashi 7 Whole Grain Nuggets are whole-grain, Chriszt says, even though when you read the nutrition label it will include a trademarked ingredient description that reads “Kashi Seven Whole Grains & Sesame.” This brand, often found in the organic and health food sections of grocery stores, is a little high in sodium, but you can always balance that out by opting for lower-sodium choices the rest of the day.

Kellogg's Bite Size Unfrosted Mini-Wheats

Serving size: 30 pieces
Calories: 190
Sugar: 0 grams
Sodium: 0 mg
Fiber: 8 grams
Fat: 1 gram
Protein: 6 grams
Unfrosted wheat bites may strike you as a bit dull, but think of this cereal as an opportunity to build a healthy breakfast. “I think it’s really great to pair a food that is high in protein, like milk or yogurt, with your cereal,” Chriszt advises, adding that the combination is filling and satisfying. Rather than opting for a frosted mini-wheat variety, which adds sugar and subtracts some fiber and protein, get sweetness by slicing in half a banana or sprinkling on a tablespoon of raisins or a dash of cinnamon, which adds flavor and may help control blood-sugar spikes.

Kashi GoLean

Serving size: 1 cup
Calories: 140
Sugar: 6 grams
Sodium: 85 mg
Fiber: 10 grams
Fat: 1 gram
Protein: 13 grams
Kashi GoLean has an unusually high amount of protein for a high-fiber cereal thanks to the addition of soy protein to the mix — a combination that could help you feel full longer. It also contains a natural food dye, annatto, made from the outer coat of the seed of a tropical shrub. There isn’t a lot of research linking artificial dyes to health problems, “but if you’re of the opinion that you want to eat as whole as possible, skip them,” Chriszt says.

Post Shredded Wheat 'n Bran

Serving size: 1 1/4 cups
Calories: 200
Sugar: 0 grams
Sodium: 0 mg
Fiber: 9 grams
Fat: 1 gram
Protein: 6 grams
You can’t get much simpler than this cereal. It contains just two ingredients: whole wheat and bran, which makes it a great one to have in your pantry as part of your breakfast rotation. “Factor in variety,” Kauth says. This will prevent boredom and give you different flavors, textures, and nutrition to choose from.

Nature's Path Organic SmartBran

Serving size: 1/2 cup
Calories: 80
Sugar: 6 grams
Sodium: 130 mg
Fiber: 13 grams
Fat: 1 gram
Protein: 3 grams
This patented mix of whole grains includes psyllium seed husks along with wheat bran and oat bran. Psyllium is available as a fiber supplement that’s added to beverages to meet daily fiber needs and often recommended to keep you regular. Nature’s Path is an option if you’d rather get your daily dose in a cereal. This organic brand of breakfast cereals can be harder to find (you can buy it online) and might be more expensive than more traditional supermarket brands, but if you’d like to experiment with tastes and textures, it’s worth a try.

Comment below if you found this helpful. Which cereal is your favourite? Let me know in the comment section below.


What to eat for breakfast if you want to lose weight

We’ve all heard at some point in our lives that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Far from being an old wives tale, this refrain is supported by numerous studies showing improved and maintained weight loss in those that eat breakfast regularly.   While people opting for just a cup of coffee for breakfast may think they are avoiding calories, in fact this is likely to be detrimental to their efforts to lose weight.

Breaking the fast

As suggested by the name, by eating breakfast, we are in fact ‘breaking the fast’ as usually we haven’t eaten since previous dinner, some ten hours before.  This helps to kick start the metabolism for the day.  If we do not eat for long periods of time, our bodies have a tendency to store energy as fat for reserves rather than burning it.  People who skip breakfast and do not eat until lunch time, which could be a good sixteen or more hours after their last meal, risk this fat storage as the body is not sure when it will next receive fuel.

Fuel for the day

Eating breakfast provides fuel for your body and gives you energy for the day.  Without breakfast, or with an inadequate breakfast, such as a cup of coffee, you are likely to feel sluggish and lethargic before it’s even morning coffee break.  By eating a healthy, nutritious breakfast, you are providing your body with important nutrients, as well as the energy it needs to perform at its best throughout the day. A high fibre and protein breakfast can keep you fuller for longer and prevent snacking throughout the day, thus reducing overall calories.   Eating breakfast has also been shown to improve concentration, meaning you are likely to work more efficiently.

Avoid mid-morning binges

Those who do not eat breakfast are much more likely to turn to unhealthy, calorie laden foods later in the day.  If you have skipped breakfast you are likely to be starving by mid morning, leading to snacking on whatever is available, not matter how unhealthy.  This intense hunger and low blood sugar levels (See also Glycemic Index) can lead to cravings for sugar and fat laden foods, which offer very little nutritional benefit and a huge amount of calories.

Make Healthier choices

By eating a healthy breakfast paced with nutrients, you are setting yourself up for a good start to the day.  When you begin the day on a healthy note, you are more likely to continue this way for the rest of the day.  On the other hand, if you start the day with a donut and a coffee, it is easy to write the day off as an unhealthy one and make no effort to eat well for the rest of the day. (See also what are the healthiest foods to eat)

The best breakfasts for weight loss

High in fibre and protein, low in fat and sugar

An ideal breakfast to help you lose weight and keep it off should be high in fibre and protein, as this will keep you fuller for longer.  It should also be low in sugar and fat.  A high sugar breakfast is likely to give you a quick burst of energy, followed by a slump when the sugar levels drop leading to cravings for more sugary foods.  The best breakfasts are also balanced, containing a combination of food groups for a wide range of vitamins or minerals.  Try to avoid empty calorie choices that provide a lot of calories and very little nutritional benefit, such as donuts, pastries, high sugar cereals and high fat meats such as bacon.  If possible include a high fibre complex carbohydrate source, a low fat protein source and a fruit or vegetable for well balanced meal every morning.

Portion size still matters

Portion sizes are also very important for weight loss.  Even if you eat the healthiest breakfast, if you eat large portions, you will still gain weight.  Read nutrition labels to get an idea of what is considered a serve size and how many calories in a serve. If necessary measure out a portion the first time, so you know exactly how big it is.   Base you breakfast calories on about a quarter of your daily energy requirements for weight loss, around 250 to 300 calories, depending on your weight, height, physical activity levels and sex.

Coffee and juice in moderation

Aside from food intake, it is also important to remember that drinks also contribute a large amount of calories, and are often overlooked by people trying to lose weight.  Juices, whilst providing a lot of vitamins, are high in calories and should be limited or replaced with a piece of fresh fruit, which provides much more fibre and less calories than juiced versions (See also healthy weight loss drinks).  Alternatively opt for vegetable juices as these contain less calories.  Always choose low fat dairy to minimize fat and calorie content, and remember that many commercial coffees are very high in calories and fat, due to their large size and sweet additions such as syrups. (See also Does coffee help you lose weight?)  Smoothies can also be misleading, with commercial versions containing huge amounts of calories from added sugars, syrups and sometimes no actual fruit.  It is best to make your own smoothie at home to be completely sure of the content.

Healthy breakfast ideas for weight loss

  • Oatmeal made with fat free milk and topped with banana or other fruits
  • High fibre (about 3-4g per serve), low sugar and fat cereal with fat free natural yogurt, fat free milk and a piece of fruit.
  • Healthy breakfast sandwich made with two slices of whole grain bread, 2 slices of lean bacon or turkey bacon, tomato, lettuce and a spread of low fat mayo.
  • Two egg omelettes with mushrooms, capsicums and herbs, served with a slice of wholegrain toast.
  • Whole grain toast with peanut butter and a piece of fruit.
  • Low fat smoothie with fat free milk, fresh or frozen fruit and no fat yogurt.  Add a tablespoon of muesli for added fibre.
  • Poached eggs with spinach and whole grain toast.
  • Low or no fat yogurt topped with fresh fruit salad and a sprinkle of natural muesli.

What to avoid

  • Pastries, donuts and cakes.  These are high in fat and sugar and provide very little nutritional benefit.
  • Bagels.  Unfortunately these are the calorie equivalent of five or six slices of bread.
  • Fry- ups.  High fat meat such as bacon and sausages, combined with high fat cooking methods does not make for a healthy choice.
  • High sugar cereals and toasted muesli.  These contain a lot of calories and in the case of the muesli, a large amount of fat.  Choose natural muesli as a better alternative.
  • Breakfast bars, muesli bars and pop tarts.  These are all high in sugar and generally provide very little fibre or protein.

References used in this article

Friday, 27 November 2015

What is the Glycemic Index and Why Should You Care?

You may have heard a lot about GI or glycemic index recently.  Many well known food products use ‘low GI’ as a marketing message, promising ‘long lasting energy’.   Other products simply boast the small GI symbol on their packaging.  There is a GI diet, and many recipe books and magazines feature recipes that are low GI.  But what exactly is GI and is a diet based on low GI foods beneficial for our health?

What is GI?

GI or glycemic index is a rating system from 0 to 100, based on the effect that a food has on blood sugar levels when it is eaten. Only foods containing carbohydrates can have a GI rating, as carbohydrates are broken during digestion to their simplest form, sugars.   High GI foods with ratings of 70 or more are those which are digested and absorbed quickly, causing a rapid increase in blood sugar, usually followed by a substantial drop in levels.  Low GI foods, with a rating less than 55 on the other hand, are absorbed and digested more slowly and therefore cause a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels that is maintained over a longer time frame.

Why is GI important?

The GI of the food you eat is important for everyone.  Quick rises in blood glucose levels, such as those produced by high GI foods, can cause us to feel hungry again soon after eating.  This is due to the rapid drop of the blood sugar after the initial peak.  Low GI foods however, can keep you full for longer, as your blood sugar is maintained at a constant level over an extended period of time.
Maintaining blood sugar levels at a constant level is particularly important for people with Diabetes.  Type 2 Diabetics do not respond to insulin, a hormone in the body that regulates blood sugar levels by allowing the uptake of sugar into the cells for energy.  If people with diabetes experience large increases in blood sugar levels, over time, this can do extensive damage to the body.
GI is also important when doing sport.  Athletes need to eat the correct foods for training and competing to ensure their blood sugar levels stay constant.  Exercise increases insulin production, so if a person does a lot of exercise their blood sugar levels can drop very low.  An athlete may need to eat high GI foods before competing or during a race to boost depleted levels of blood sugar quickly.

What are the benefits of a low GI diet?

A low GI diet has proven benefits for health. A diet based on low GI foods can be beneficial for weight control, due to delayed hunger and appetite control produced by stabilized blood sugar levels.  This means that you eat less overall, contributing to weight loss or control, and are less likely to crave high sugar and calorie foods.
Insulin resistance is also reduced with a low GI diet.  When the body is constantly producing insulin to facilitate the uptake of glucose into the cells of the body and reduce the blood glucose levels, eventually the body can become resistant to this insulin.  This means that blood sugar levels stay high, which can do damage to blood vessels and organs in the body.  This is how type 2 Diabetes usually develops.
The Harvard School of Public Health has performed studies that suggest that the risk of lifestyle diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease are related to the overall GI of a person’s diet, and that a lower GI diet reduces risk of these conditions.  The World Health Organisation (WHO), recommends that people living in industrialised countries should follow a low GI diet to reduce risk of these common diseases.

What are some low GI food options?

So we know a low GI diet can have health benefits, but what foods should we actually be eating?  Choosing healthy low GI options can be more difficult that it seems.  Whilst fresh foods are easy to identify as low or high GI, composite foods made up of multiple ingredients can be more difficult.  Unfortunately, foods with a high fat content usually have a low GI.  This is because fat slows gastric emptying and therefore increases digestion time.  Ice cream and chocolate are both relatively low GI foods, but are obviously not healthy choices and are likely to contribute to weight gain. See also how to read a nutrition label 
Combinations of foods in a meal can also affect blood sugar levels.  If a high GI and low GI food are eaten together for example, the effect will be a moderate rise in blood sugar levels.  An example of this is eating a potato with baked beans, the potato is high GI, but the beans are low, so the effect on blood sugars is moderated.
For optimum results it is best to eat low GI foods the majority of the time, however, if the occasion arises where this is not possible, try to at least combine high GI choices with lower GI options to reduce the effect on your blood sugars. See also: What are the healthiest foods to lose weight

Easy low GI food swaps


Swap puffed rice cereals (GI 82), cornflakes  (GI 80)and puffed wheat  (GI 80) for porridge (GI 58), natural muesli  (GI 40) or All-Bran (GI 50)


Swap white bread (GI 71), baguettes (GI 98) and bagels (GI 72) for wholewheat(GI 49), soya and linseed  (GI 36)or sourdough (GI 54).
Swap taco shells (GI 68) for wheat tortilla (GI 30)


Swap dates (GI 103) for prunes (GI 30)
Swap watermelon (GI 80) for apples (GI 34)


Swap potatoes (GI 60) for sweet potatoes (GI 48)
Swap pumpkin (GI 75) for carrots (GI 41)
Most vegetables are quite low in carbohydrates and have a low GI

Snack foods

Swap pretzels (GI 83) for nuts (GI 13-25)
Swap water crackers (GI 78) and rice cakes  (GI 87)for oatmeal crackers (GI 55)
Swap maple flavoured syrup (GI 68) for  jam (GI 51) or Nutella (GI 33)
Swap scones (GI 92) and donuts  (GI 76) for a nut and seed muesli bar (GI 49).

Pasta and rice

Swap short grain rice (GI 83) for long grain (GI 50) or brown rice (GI 50)
Swap rice noodles for wheat pasta (GI 54) or instant noodles (GI 47)


All dairy products are low GI with the exception of ice cream which is classified as medium (GI 62)


All legumes are low GI.