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Our bodies process food into three sources of energy: protein, carbohydrate and fat. A low glycemic index (GI) food is one that releases glucose—a carbohydrate—slowly into the bloodstream. In general, a slow release of energy into the blood stream is beneficial over something quick. This is the reason why complex carbohydrates are recommended over simple sugars like whole grains over candy.

Low GI foods are frequently recommended for children with blood sugar issues, either high blood sugar or low blood sugar. But low GI diets are healthy for most people as they tend to be low in simple carbohydrates, including sugar, and high in fiber and other nutrients.

Foods with a low or moderate GI include: 

  • Most fruits and vegetables (bananas and most potato varieties are an exception)
  • Beans, legumes, soybeans
  • Lean meats, poultry and seafood
  • Whole grains
  • Nonfat yogurt and milk

When choosing snacks for your toddler, good low GI snacks include: 

  • Veggies and hummus
  • String cheese
  • Low fat yogurt with fruit
  • Olives
  • Fruit smoothie
  • Fruit salad
  • Whole wheat crackers with salsa
  • Edamame
  • Cottage cheese with fruit

Takeaways

  • A low glycemic diet is necessary for certain medical conditions, such as diabetes.
  • A low GI diet is good for most toddlers since these foods are usually high in fiber.
  • In general, the more cooked or processed a food, the higher the GI.
  • Low GI foods include most fruits and veggies, lean meats and poultry, beans, legumes and soybeans, whole grains and nonfat yogurt and milk.

References

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