Sweet, Not Sugary: Cooking On A Low Glycemic Index

As of 2017, roughly 30 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes, with another 84 million at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The diabetes crisis is a problem nationwide, with over 9% of the population living with full-fledged symptoms. Maintaining a low blood sugar diet is even great for those who don’t suffer from diabetes, as it can lead to weight loss and a lower rate of heart disease. Cooking with blood sugar in mind is an everyday affair to some, but for those less familiar, it can be difficult to adapt to the challenges of low Glycemic Index (G.I.) meals. Luckily most fruits fall on the low end of the G.I, along with vegetables that are low in starch. Here are some of our favorite pieces of produce for healthy, satisfying meals.

A note on preparation: Be aware that cooking and processing food will typically raise the glycemic index of your food. For example, fresh orange juice will have a higher glycemic index than the whole fruit. Additionally, GI increases alongside the ripening process.

Cauliflower

Scoring insanely low on the glycemic index (with a 15 when served raw), cauliflower is a phenomenal pick due to its culinary versatility and nutritional content. Cauliflower rice can be a heavy hitter in your kitchen, allowing you to cook asian dishes that would traditionally use white rice. If you’re looking for a wonderful way to be both gluten-free and glycemic friendly, cauliflower should always be in your corner.

Sweet Potatoes

Due to their high levels of starch, regular potatoes aren’t a good option for G.I. focused chefs. Sweet potatoes, on the other hand, are a great substitute. Though they do contain starch, they’re still low on the G.I. and can be easily placed into most recipes that call for potatoes. On top of that, they’re rich in beta-carotene and are adaptable to most cooking methods.

Cherries 

It can be hard to bring sweet flavors into low G.I. meals, but cherries are here to help. The sweet stone fruit won’t raise your blood sugar, but it will raise your spirits. We’d recommend including cherries in a marinade or slicing them into a summer salad!

Zucchini

While pasta is considered a low G.I. food, you can create an even lower pasta dish by making zucchini noodles! Time-crunched Chefs will be happy to know that spiralized noodles cook quicker than traditional pasta.

Carrots

Carrots are a great snack option as their portability doesn’t come at the expense of nutrition. While they can be higher in sugar than other vegetables, they’re still great a great source of vitamins and beta-carotene. Carrots and homemade hummus (as garbanzo beans are another low G.I. food) is one of our favorite snack combinations, and it appeals to eaters of all ages.