Low GI Recipes of the Month

Our chef Kate Hemphill develops deliciously simple recipes for GI News that showcase seasonal ingredients and make it easy for you to cook healthy, low GI meals and snacks. For more of Kate’s fabulous fare, check out her website: www.lovetocook.co.uk. For now, prepare and share good food with family and friends.

Kate Hemphill

We thought it was time for some baking. Naturally we aim to give you recipes with as low a GI as possible, but with baking it’s really hard to get into the low GI bracket. Basically, you just can’t expect anything with refined flour to be low GI. But you can get it lower by adding carrots and sultanas as Kate has done here. To reduce the GI of these muffins even more, dietitian Kate Marsh suggests you cut back the wholemeal or stoneground flour to 340 g (12 oz) and top up with 60 g (2 oz) unprocessed oat bran.

Wholemeal Carrot and Poppy Seed Muffins
I find bought muffins rarely satisfying, as they are too ‘cakey’, sweet or full of preservatives. Muffins can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes from start to finish, using two mixing bowls and a muffin tin. They freeze well and will keep in an airtight container for about 5 days. These wholemeal carrot muffins are really satisfying and full of natural sweetness and ideal for an occasional treat.

Makes 12

500 g (1 lb 2 oz) carrots, peeled, boiled and drained
150 ml (5 fl oz) vegetable oil
1 cup (250 ml) low-fat or skimmed milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp runny honey (pure floral is best)
400 g (14 oz) wholemeal or stone ground flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp poppy seeds
100 g (3½ oz) soft brown sugar
1/2 tsp lemon zest
100 g (3½ oz) sultanas (or currants)
Per muffin
1353 kJ/322 calories; 7 g protein; 14 g fat (includes 2 g saturated fat); 40 g carbohydrate; 5.5 g fibre

We asked Kate Marsh, author of Low GI Gluten-free Living, how to make this gluten-free friendly. Here’s what she suggests: ‘In place of wholemeal flour use brown rice flour plus some rice bran and psyllium husks. Maybe almond meal. The rest of the ingredients are OK but make sure the baking powder is gluten free.’

Charmaine Solomon’s Bitter Melon Salad
If you love Asian food, check out the recipes on Charmaine's website: www.charmainesolomon.com. This recipe was hard to provide a nutritional analysis for as bitter melons come in quite a range of sizes. We opted for 300 g (10 oz) melons. The saturated fat is mostly from the coconut cream, so to cut back, use a little less. Like other members of the squash family, bitter melons contain very little carbohydrate, so it's not possible to estimate a GI.

Serves 4

2 tender bitter melons
Ground turmeric
Peanut oil
3 golden shallots, sliced finely
2 fresh green chillies, seeded and sliced
2 tablespoons lime juice
½ teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons coconut cream
Per serve
520 kJ/124 calories; 2 g protein; 11 g fat (includes 4 g saturated fat); 2 g carbohydrate; 2.8 g fibre

Lisa Yates Bircher muesli with mixed nuts
This muesli will keep well in the fridge for 2 or 3 days.
Serves 6


2 cups traditional rolled oats
1/3 cup sliced dried apricots
2 tablespoons sultanas
1½ cups (375 ml) apple juice
50 g (1¾ oz) raw pecans
50 g (1¾ oz) raw hazelnuts
50 g (1¾ oz) raw whole blanched almonds
50 g (1¾ oz) raw macadamias
1 medium red apple, halved and thinly sliced
½ cup (125 ml) low fat natural yoghurt
¼ cup (60 ml) skim milk
2 tablespoons honey (if desired)
Per serve
1810 kJ/430 calories; 10 g protein; 25 g fat (includes 2 g saturated fat); 43 g carbohydrate; 6 g fibre