Manage your budget and blood glucose with a low GI diet
If you want to cut costs in the supermarket, turn away from the high GI, super processed, energy-dense, prepackaged food aisle. Make the most of ‘feel full’ foods like slow digesting low GI carbs, lean protein-rich foods and foods that have lots of fibre and water. They will satisfy your appetite faster and keep you feeling fuller for longer by giving you plenty to chew on. Here are some tips that will have you living within your means, reducing the overall GI of your diet, shedding pounds without pangs (or maintaining that hard-won weightloss), and eating better than ever.
Photo: Ian Hofstetter, the Low GI Vegetarian Cookbook
- Eat more feel full, less processed foods like barley, beans and lentils. They are easy on the budget, great for the blood glucose and you’ll be less likely to pick, pick, pick between meals.
- Choose seasonal fruits and veggies and store them separately (so vegetables don’t ripen too fast), and at the right temperature (cold can actually damage produce like squash, tomatoes and oranges) to reduce wastage.
- Opt for cheap cuts, the lower priced lean meats. They are really flavoursome but may take a bit longer to cook. However, if you make double quantity and put half in the fridge or freezer for another day, you’re ahead of the game.
- Stretch recipes with low GI legumes. Meat, chicken and fish are generally the most expensive items on the shopping list (even mince), so buy a little less and stretch the recipe. Make a spaghetti bolognese with mince and lentils, add beans to soups and casseroles and you'll be serving up delicious one-dish dinners with leftovers for lunch or another meal for another day.
- Serve up dinner in the kitchen and just put the salad bowl or veggies on the table. It reduces the temptation to keep on eating just because it’s there! So if you make double quantity of a casserole (or if the recipe is for four and there’s only two of you), immediately put half in the fridge for lunches or later in the week.
- Create from scraps by making the most of leftovers (start by storing them properly in airtight containers). It’s amazing what you can do when you set your mind to throwing together a meal with bits of this and that from the fridge and whatever’s in the pantry (pasta, low GI rice, some lentils or split peas).
- Minimise waste. The Big Shop is a bit of a trap and most of us, if we are honest, have to ’fess to throwing out greens that turned yellow. Shopping more often, making a rough weekly meal plan, writing a shopping list all help.
- Store food properly. It’s estimated we trash around 15% of the food we buy because it spoils!