21-day low GI & GL menu plan
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- How to use the menu plan
- Snack ideas
- The menuplan - week 1
- The menuplan - week 2
- The menuplan - week 3
- Where you can find the recipes
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How to use the low GI & GL menu plan
Low GI (glycemic index) and low GL (glycemic load) diets come in many shapes and sizes. Some include medium GI carbohydrate foods such as wholemeal bread and pasta on a regular basis, while others allow these only very infrequently. Some restrict red meat and saturated fats and require all dairy products to be low fat as well. Others are concerned solely with limiting carbohydrates, the only foods which have a significant glycemic effect (ie produce a rise in blood sugar/insulin levels.) Our low GI menu plan is designed to be easily adapted for use with all types of low GI diet.
Not all low GI diets are designed to produce weight loss. Some are seen more as healthy eating plans. Of course, individual metabolisms, activity levels and levels of tolerance to carbohydrates differ, and what works as a weight-loss diet for one person would be a weight-gain diet for the next.
For some people, eating 'good' carbohydrates such as whole grains, wholemeal bread, and fresh fruits may make weight loss impossible, even though these are not high GI foods. If this is you, you can adapt the menus by eating more of the vegetables, salads and protein foods and leaving out the bread, potatoes, pasta and rice. Alternatively, you could try some simple substitutions. For instance, in place of wholemeal bread, substitute bread made with flours from healthy, low carb flax seeds, almonds, soya beans, hemp or sesame seeds instead of high carb wheat, rye or corn.
Similarly, if you can tolerate more carbohydrate foods, particularly if you are very physically active, you can increase these in quantity and frequency (but only the 'good' carbs, and not at the expense of your vegetables and salads!)
Here are some points to bear in mind when using this menu plan:
- Meals can be interchanged with meals on another day if desired.
- Besides your three meals a day, have two or even three snacks. Low GI diets are all about blood sugar/insulin control, and from this point of view it is better to have a larger number of small meals and snacks throughout the day than a smaller number of large meals. The list below gives you some ideas to get your thinking started.
- Try to achieve 5 to 7 servings per day of fruits and / or vegetables for general good health.
- The exact vegetables accompanying each dinner meal are not specified unless they are the starchy, higher GI ones such as potatoes, parsnips and carrots. Try to include plenty of non starchy, low GI vegetables (such as cabbage, broccoli, green beans, courgettes/zucchini, marrow/winter squash, asparagus, cauliflower etc) and to eat as wide a variety of vegetables as possible over the course of a week.
- Dress salads with healthy fats such as olive or flax oil. Avoid 'diet' dressings which are often high in sugar or additives to replace the fats which have been taken out.
- Substitute low-fat spread for butter if you feel more comfortable doing so, but make sure the brand you choose does not contain any trans fats. These dangerous man-made fats may also appear on nutrition labels as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
- Stewed fruits can always be substituted by fresh fruits. In fact, eating a fruit raw is preferable because this ensures that more of the nutrients are retained and makes it lower GI.
Low GI & GL snack ideas
Have two or three snacks in addition to your three meals each day. Here are some ideas
- Cottage cheese and raw vegetable sticks
- Cottage cheese with chopped dried apricots
- Plain yoghurt with fresh fruit
- Fresh whole fruit and a few nuts
- Raw carrot sticks and hummus
- Celery sticks spread with a little cream cheese
- Raw courgette sticks and tzatziki (Greek yoghurt mixed with cucumber, garlic and mint)
- Raw red and green pepper sticks with a small piece of cheese
- Small quantity of nuts, especially almonds, brazils, walnuts and hazelnuts
- Small quantity of seeds such as sunflower, pumpkin or hemp
- High protein nutrition bar (but check it is not high in added sugars)
- Low carb nutrition bar
- No added sugar seed or seed & cereal bar
- Small quantity dark chocolate (70%+ cocoa solids)
- Rye crispbread with butter and yeast extract or miso spread
- Oatcakes with thin slices of cheese
- Slice of maltloaf / fruitbread
- Half an avocado with vinaigrette dressing
- A few olives
- Waldorf salad (celery, walnuts and apple in mayonnaise)
- Small tin of oily fish in tomato sauce or olive oil such as sardines, herring, mackerel (try to have oily fish once or twice a week)
Low GI & GL menu plan - Week 1
Low GI & GL menu plan - Week 2
Low GI & GL menu plan - Week 3
Do you like the look of these recipes?
The Low Carb is Easy Cookbook
If you like the sound of some of the recipes mentioned in this menuplan, you can get them and many more - in all - in The Low Carb is Easy Cookbook. The Cookbook can be used in both conventional cookbook and 'recipe software' mode. Interactive online features include the ability to personalise your own ingredients and quantities, modify and create your own recipes, and access the saved recipes from anywhere in the world.
As well as the menuplans, the Cookbook comes with:
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