Starting a new way of eating can be a challenge. Quite often it involves evaluating and changing the way you think about food completely – from shopping to food preparation and even your go-to food choices. If you cook for your family, you may find resistance from your kids or spouse if they don’t want to try new foods. But when switching to a low glycemic index (GI) diet, you don’t have to completely throw out your entire way of eating. There are a lot of simple substitutions that you can try to make your transition to a low GI breakfast a little easier.
- Steel cut oatmeal with fruit, like apples, bananas, peaches or pears – make it yourself instead of using those premade packets of instant oatmeal. Try adding a little skim milk, a small portion of chopped almonds, or a dash of cinnamon to add flavor.
- There are cereals that are lower on the glycemic index – try All Bran or other bran cereal instead of Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Shredded Wheat or Special K. Don’t hesitate to add fruit or nuts to the cereal to add some flavor if you need.
- Egg whites with vegetables. You can use any combination of vegetables – I am partial to mushrooms, onions and chopped tomatoes. Cook up your vegetables in a pan and then add your egg whites and scramble. You can also make a frittata – instead of scrambling the eggs right into your vegetables, place the pan (make sure you are using an oven safe one) under a preheated broiler for a few minutes until the eggs are set.
- Have a serving of greek yogurt with some fruit. This is much healthier then the regular, fruit-on-the-bottom type yogurt, which hare usually very high in sugar.
- I love heating up some black beans and putting them on the side of some scrambled eggs with salsa and even a little low-fat cheddar cheese.
- Make a fruit salad – cut up a few different fruits and add a splash of orange juice (try squeezing an orange instead of using premade orange juice) to prevent the fruit from browning. Serve with a ¼ cup of low fat ricotta cheese for extra protein.
- Try making a sweet potato hash – chop up some veggies (I like peppers and onions) and sauté in a small amount of oil. Meanwhile, cube your sweet potatoes and sauté in a separate pan. When the potatoes are done, toss with your veggies and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Substitute whole grain, pumpernickel or 100% stone ground bread for white bread, bagels or muffins. Add peanut butter instead of butter or jam. Not only is peanut butter lower on the Glycemic Index scale, but it also adds protein, which can help you feel fuller longer.
- Instead of oatmeal, try using quinoa, couscous or barley in a little skim milk. Add in fruit, dried fruit or even some chopped nuts for some crunch.
Some Foods to Avoid
In addition to adding healthy carbohydrates to your breakfasts, you’ll want to eliminate the unhealthy ones. Of course, this means not adding sugar to cereal or oatmeal. And yes, this includes honey and other sweeteners as well.
Maybe one of the hardest adjustments will be eliminating those processed breakfast products, like breakfast pastries, donuts, frozen waffles and deli bagels. This means that you’ll need to plan ahead a little bit, maybe even getting up a little earlier to make sure that you have time to eat a well balanced, healthy breakfast. The good news is that most of the suggestions above can be prepped or made ahead of time so that you won’t even miss your old stand-by.