20 low-GI foods to keep hunger pangs at bay

From quinoa to bananas to bread, here are 20 low-GI staples to beat incessant hunger pangs.

Whether you’re in *another* lockdown or just working from home more often these days, you might have found yourself frequenting the fridge and pantry a little more than you used to.

If you’re leaning on food to satisfy an emotional need, that’s a much bigger story for another day… but if you’re eating a lot because you can’t satisfy incessant hunger pangs, it might be time to reconsider the foods you stock your kitchen with.

Here’s why.

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Glycaemic index 101

The glycaemic index (GI) of your diet plays a key role in how full and satisfied you feel in the hours after a meal. Essentially, if your diet is packed with high-GI foods, you might fill up easily, but you’ll be hungry again pretty soon after.

If you reach for more high-GI foods to satisfy that hunger, the cycle will repeat itself again and again and again – and that could spell weight gain in the long term. If you eat a lot of low-GI foods, by comparison, you’ll feel far more satisfied.

To understand why, we need to rewind a couple of steps – cue the science lesson. When you eat carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into sugars which enter your bloodstream.

The rate your blood sugar level responds depends on the type of food you’ve eaten. In other words: all carbohydrates are not created equally.

Low-GI foods are broken down slowly, so your blood sugars slowly rise and fall. High-GI foods, on the other hand, are broken down rapidly, so your blood sugars quickly spike and crash.

Over a whole day, the former results in a much more balanced blood sugar profile. That’s a really good thing because, as mentioned, it’ll help you feel full and satisfied. It can also help with weight management and even reduce your risk of certain diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

20 lower GI foods to keep hunger pangs at bay

That’s not to say you can never eat high-GI foods again, but you should try to consume low-GI foods most of the time.

To give you a helping hand, here are 20 foods that have a lower glycaemic index to help you balance blood sugars and ultimately, feel fuller for longer.

1. Wholegrain bread

2. Raisin bread

3. Wholegrain crispbreads

4. Natural, untoasted muesli

5. Basmati rice

6. Quinoa

7. Soba noodles

8. Vermicelli noodles

9. Plain yoghurt

10. Cow’s milk

11. Soy milk

12. Apples

13. Pears

14. Bananas

15. Mangoes

16. Sweetcorn

17. Sweet potato

18. Chickpeas

19. Lentils

20. Baked beans

Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practising dietitian. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.

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