Glycemic Index System

The popular glycemic index system, or the G.I. Diet, is one of the theories of eating which I believe has a lot to recommend it and constitutes a very healthy diet. If you are ‘dieting’ and are also cooking for a family and don’t want the bother of catering separately for yourself, this is a good system to use.

It is, of course, is not really a ‘diet’, but a change in eating habits. The basic principle of this way of eating is that you cut out foods that enter too quickly into the bloodstream. Highly-processed, refined foods are thus eliminated and you are left with only the natural foods that constitute a healthy diet.

However, if you are using this method as a guide to what to feed your family, I emphasize you should apply it as an eating-plan rather than a ‘diet’. Make the food choices recommended by the G.I. diet, but ditch the counting of numbers, at least for your children (unless a medical or health professional has advised you otherwise, in which case you should always follow professional advice).

Introducing a healthy diet to children is always difficult at first, so do it gradually. Once they get used to the new tastes, it won’t continue to be an issue. And remember, eating well should be a normal, natural thing, not something to obsess over. You want to pass on a healthy attitude towards food to your children. If you must add up numbers for yourself, do keep it to yourself!

For a low G.I. eating-plan for all your family, all you need to do is switch to plain old-fashioned eating! Cut out the processed factory foods, with all their added sugar and refined flours. Choose no-sugar breakfast cereals, based on oats, barley and bran. Use grainy breads, with lots of whole seeds and wholemeal flour. Try wholemeal pittas and wholewheat flour pancakes. Cut down on potatoes and eat wholegrain rice and pasta instead. Eat lots of fruit, salad and vegetables. Voila! If you make these food choices, you will have a healthy diet and you shouldn’t have to worry about adding up points anyway.

All these foods are great for school-going children, because they are released more slowly into the bloodstream and provide energy over longer periods of time. This helps children concentrate better at school. It also keeps them feeling full for longer. They will be more alert at school and not tire so easily. If your child displays lack of concentration, or hyperactivity, it is especially important not to load their metabolic system with sugary, or refined products. Keep the diet healthy. A G.I. eating plan would benefit such a child enormously.

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