The glycemic index, or GI, of a food refers to a value assigned based on the increase of a person's blood sugar levels as a result of having eaten that food. The low GI diet operates on the premise that foods that have a GI of 55 or less leave you feeling fuller for longer periods of time, resulting in a lower intake of calories. Follow this menu plan as you start your low GI diet, changing and adapting it as you learn about the different low GI food choices.
Have bran cereal topped with slices of peach and strawberry--two low GI fruits--for breakfast. Ideally, you should eat your cereal with skim milk, but have other milk at the beginning of the diet if you must.2
Prepare a salad consisting of any combination of raw vegetables, all of which fall into the low GI category, for lunch. Alternatively, eat a soup consisting of low GI legumes such as lentils or barley. For some, a mid-day combination of both salad and soup is the trick to feeling full.3
Include a lean meat or fish fillet in your dinner, ideally with a side of raw vegetables. However, it is understandable if at the beginning you will crave high or medium GI foods such as white rice, mashed potatoes and white bread. Have these items as side dishes that you gradually begin to cut out of your diet with each new day. Restrict portions of high GI foods to the size of your palm.4
Eat hummus, whose GI is a mere six, on a whole wheat pita when you are craving a midday snack. A second snack can include a mix of peanuts, walnuts and cashews or a small serving of plain yogurt along with a plum or a handful of fresh cherries.5
Choose beverages low in caffeine and sugar such as water, unsweetened fruit juice and decaffeinated coffee or tea.6
Ease into making low GI desserts a part of your everyday menu. Begin by eating a smaller amount of your favorite dessert than you usually would, for example half of a doughnut or candy bar. Reduce these portions as time goes on, supplementing them with a serving of fresh fruit. Your body will soon learn to satisfy its sweet tooth with the sugars found in fruits.7
Follow this low GI menu for the first several days of dieting. As you go along, experiment with low GI choices and recipes (see Resources) to establish an eating routine that suits your tastes, without leaving you feeling unsatisfied.