What's in your shopping basket?
One of the biggest challenges for people when trying to change their eating habits is also trying to change their shopping habits. We often shop on auto pilot and buy the same food each week without much inspiration for what new foods to add to our shopping basket. Below are some staple foods to always have in the house if you want to follow a Low Glycemic Load diet and feel the massive benefits of increased energy, reduced cravings and weight loss.
Meridian / Kelkin / Whole Earth Peanut Butter - these nut butters have no added sugar, are a good source of protein and so are low GL.
Reduced Sugar Baked Beans - another good source of protein.
Nairns Rough Oatcakes - Oats are a great food choice for weight loss as they are a slow release carbohydrate. This means it avoids blood sugar spikes which results in fat storage episodes followed by an energy crash and increased cravings.
Whole rolled oats - Porridge is a great breakfast again because oats are a Low GL food.
Flaxseed - A source of protein, ALA Omega 3 essential fat and high in fibre. Add this amazing food to soups, breakfast and smoothies.
Lizi's Granola - if you're not a porridge for breakfast lover then Lizi's granola is low GL as its one of the rare granolas on the Irish market that doesn't contain dried fruit. Dried fruit will cause a blood sugar spike so it should be limited when trying to lose weight.
Wholemeal bread - Always check the ingredient list on the label. Its not enough to read the big name on the front of the pack as many breads call themselves wholemeal or wholegrain when the first ingredient is actually wheat flour. You need the 1st ingredient to be wholemeal flour or wholegrain flour. The word whole is key otherwise its just a white bread in disguise. Note multi grain doesn't mean whole grain it just means there are different grains present. They might all be the refined variety though.
Eggs - Forget high cholesterol, eggs aren't to blame for that. An egg a day is ok. Eggs are so versatile and with these guys in the house a satisfying meal like an omelette is only 5 mins away. Add spinach, peppers, cheese (reduce fat if you can) and mushrooms and you've a breakfast, lunch or dinner in minutes.
Low GL Fruits - Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Raspberries, Pears, Apples, Plums. Try to limit bananas, dried fruit, mango, pineapple, grapes and other high sugar fruits.
Veg - Not all veg are created equal so try fill up on the good stuff like non starchy vegetable i.e. leafy greens, peppers, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, mange tout, celery. Watch out for starchy veg like carrots, potatoes, parsnips even sweet potato as they are all high in sugar and too much in one meal will spike your blood sugar, limit these to a quarter of your plate.
Beans & Lentils - Chickpeas, Canneilli beans, kidney beans, lentils are all great store cupboard items. You can add them to your homemade soup as a source of protein and they will also help stabilse your blood sugar and fill you up for longer. Canneilli beans can be mashed as an alternative to mashed potatoes.
Yoghurt - Live natural yoghurt is low in sugar and a probiotic which helps improve gut health. You can choose low fat or whole as the sugar content is low in both. Watch out for low fat fruit yoghurts as they tend to be ridiculously high in added sugar.
St Dalfour Jam - If you're partial to a bit of jam then this brand is made from 100% real fruit and doesn't have any added sugar. Mix a teaspoon in with your live natural yoghurt for a homemade fruit yoghurt without the added sugar.Wholemeal Pittas or Wholemeal wraps - same as with the bread read the small print to see that they really are wholegrain. The wholemeal wraps can be used as an alternative for a pizza base to make home made low GL pizzas.
Cheese - For sandwiches, homemade pizza's and omelettes, cheese is so handy and so tasty. Choose reduced fat cheese to help cut back on saturated fat where you can. If you really like the full fat version then just watch your portion size and the frequency in any given week that you eat it. Its a source of protein so it wont impact your blood sugar levels.Nuts & Seeds - Choose unsalted mixed nuts and seeds. Again avoid the bags with dried fruit mixed through. Nuts and seeds are great to graze on and to accompany a fruit snack to help stabilise your blood sugar. Herbs & Spices - Cinnamon (naturally helps stabilse blood sugar) Cumin (detoxifier, digestive aid) Garlic (anti fungal, anti viral, antibiotic) Ginger (energiser, detoxifiier) Oregano (free radical protection)Hummus - made from chickpeas so its a good source of protein. Spread it on oatcakes or use it as a raw vegetable dip for a low GL snack. Cut down on salt by using herbs and spices instead.
75% - 90% Dark Chocolate - I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a chocoholic but since making the switch away from milk chocolate my weight isn't a problem, my skin is much better and I really don't eat as much. Dark chocolate is the way to go if you still fancy a bit of chocolate. Its rich in antioxidants and I find a couple of squares is enough, whereas if I start eating milk chocolate I really can't stop.
Oily fish / Turkey mince / Chicken breasts - Try to eat oily fish 3 times a week but limit tuna to only once a week due to mercury contamination. Turkey mince is a good alternative to beef mince for spag bol and chilli dishes. Chicken is always a favourite in my house and eaten a few times a week. Red meat is fine but choose lean cuts of meat and limit intake to once a week.
Remember to try and clean the environment. If your press is full of high sugar foods then you'll end up eating them. If they're not in the house then you can't mindlessly eat them. If you really want something sugary then you can go out and get it. You don't need to deprive yourself but at least if you're willing to walk or drive to the shop to get it you obviously really want it and you've removed the impulse of eating it without thinking which is a positive change. If the high sugar foods are in the house for the kids then ask yourself if they really need them. Creating good habits as a child will help them avoid "diets" in their adult life. If you'd like to learn more then please get in touch. You're more than welcome to sit in on a Zest4life nutrition and weight loss class any Tuesday evening at 7pm in the Performance Clinic to see what its all about. Any questions just drop me a mail and Ill be happy to help you make positive health improvements.
Nutrition and Weight loss Coach.