Keeping your blood sugar stable is vital for diabetics – but also helpful for improving a wide range of other health issues. My personal interest in this particular topic started when I figured out how closely related insulin levels are to acne breakouts.
If you’re trying to keep your blood sugar stable you want to eat low GI foods. Of course, with all the low carb diets going around this is not as difficult as it used to be. But one big challenge for me and everyone else who’s trying to eat low Gi has been a super important topic: snacking!
So to solve this problem, I’ve made myself a nice list of low GI snack ideas that you can go back to whenever you feel the need for a little munching.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
What is low GI?
In case you are new to this abbreviation, let’s quickly have a look at what GI stands for: GI is short for a glycemic index. After thinking about how to explain glycemic index the easiest way, this is what I came up with:
This index basically gives every food item a rating, telling you how much the carbohydrates in said food item affect your blood sugar levels. Or, to say it differently, the glycemic index tells you how quickly a food item will make your blood sugar rise on a scale from 0 to 100. So if the food is ranked zero this means it does not make your blood sugar rise at all, and if it’s ranked 100 it means this is pure glucose.
When we talk about low GI, we mean carbohydrates that have a GI value of 55 or less. This basically means that your blood glucose levels will rise slower because those carbs are ingested slower. And this, again, means that your insulin levels don’t spike up as much as they would with other foods.
You can find some more information about the glycemic index here.
What foods are low GI?
It can be easy to make the mistake and think that you need to avoid all carbs to eat a low GI diet but this is fortunately not true. Eating low GI doesn’t mean you can’t eat any fruit or vegetables.
There are actually lots of fruit and vegetables that have carbs yet they are also low GI because of the type of carbohydrate they contain. You can, for example, eat tomatoes, cherries, and peaches without worry, as well as most non-starchy vegetables.
But we are after a more specific question here, aren’t we? We want low GI snacks! So let’s look at some low GI foods that can fulfil your snacking cravings!
Who doesn’t get excited about some popcorn?
I’ve loved popcorn as a snack even more ever since I realized it counts as a checkmark when following the “How not to die”-diet. It is proper, whole-grain food, after all. (If you are interested in that way of eating, you can read more about Dr. Gregers Daily Dozen here!)
Is popcorn low GI?
Now, when you are buying sugary popcorn at the movies, your popcorn won’t be low GI, unfortunately. But if you make it at home, air-popped, it just falls into the range of low GI foods, with a GI of 55. That’s right at the upper range of low GI, but it counts!
You can make air-popped popcorn on a stove, but that’s quite hands-on, as you’ll have to keep shaking the pot to avoid burning the kernels. The easier version is to simply use a hot air popcorn maker like this one*.
2. Roasted Chickpeas
Another great way to satisfy your cravings for a crunchy snack are roasted chickpeas. As more and more people are looking for healthier snacking alternatives, you don’t even have to roast them yourself anymore – you can simply order them online*!
Just make sure that there’s no added sugar or other added carbs that would turn this tasty low GI snack into a high GI food!
One tasty, gut-healthy snack that’s so easy to forget about is yogurt. Luckily, it doesn’t even matter if you choose dairy or soy-yogurt – both options make an excellent low GI snack. It does have to be unsweetened though.
Simply top your yogurt off with some low glycemic fruits or nuts (you’ll find quite a few options below) and enjoy!
Is there any list of healthy snacks where nuts don’t make an appearance? I don’t think so.
Either way, all kinds nuts are the perfect low GI snack, because they all score low when it comes to GI. Almonds even get a GI value of 0!
Just as with the roasted chickpeas, keep an eye out for any added ingredients when buying nut mixes though. The pure thing is the healthiest. (Even though I admittedly love salted pistachios… I’ll just save the sodium somewhere else, ok?!)
5. Low glycemic fruits
A perfect way to get in your vitamins and have some low GI snacks? Fruit!
Well, not all fruit will qualify here. Watermelon, for example, scores a hefty GI of 76! But don’t worry, there are plenty of low GI fruits to choose from!
Let’s be honest, when we look for low glycemic fruits, we are basically saying we want something sweet. And to me, the first fruit that comes to mind when I want something sweet is banana.
Topping it off with some almond butter (also low GI!) and you got the perfect little snack!
Are bananas low GI?
But are bananas really low GI? Well, it actually depends. The riper a banana, the higher its glycemic index. This happens, because the resistant starches in banana turn into sugars when it ripens.
A fully ripened banana can score as high as 60, making it not low GI anymore. A green banana, on the other hand, only has a GI of about 30, putting it in the low GI range.
So simply go for those green bananas and enjoy your low GI snack!
Even before I knew that apples qualify as low GI fruit, I’ve loved them as an afternoon snack: Simply cut them into slices, drizzle some peanut butter over them (100% pure peanut butter, no additives, of course!) and enjoy a super quick and healthy snack!
Honestly, I didn’t really expect oranges to make this list, because in my mind they are usually really sweet! But their GI score is 40, putting them well below the threshold of 55!
Just like oranges, I didn’t really expect cherries to be low GI – but they really are. They actually score way lower than even apples with a glycemic index of 22.
Berries are such an important addition to any snack. (Yogurt and berries, anyone? Tasty, low GI AND instagrammable!) Luckily, you aren’t limited in your choice of berry: Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries all score below 40.
What if you’re not just looking to have a quick bite yourself but you want to bring a low GI snack to a party? Hummus is the answer!
Remember those roasted chickpeas above? Well, hummus is mostly made from chickpeas, thus, it’s also low GI. Ideally, you just make it yourself at home, then you don’t even need to worry about any added sugars.
7. Low GI vegetables
I don’t know about you, but for me, hummus goes together with carrot sticks. Unfortunately, those are not low GI at all… So what are some low GI vegetables we can snack with our hummus?
I’ll be the first to admit that celery can be hit or miss in terms of taste. But it definitely works well as a low GI vegetable stick for dipping into hummus!
Fortunately for all avocado lovers out there, avocados are most definitely a low glycemic food, scoring as low as 15. With that information, you can make loads of low GI snacks. What am I saying, even whole low GI breakfasts are possible with that!
The one vegetable no one will be surprised to find on this list: cucumber. I mean, they are mostly water after all. I was rather surprised to find that cucumbers have the same GI score as avocado: 15!
Tomatoes are another vegetable perfect for snacking – simply wash and eat! And, they also definitely count as a low glycemic food.
8. A boiled egg
Feeling like snacking something savory? Then you could just boil yourself an egg! Eggs hardly contain any carbs, giving them a safe spot on this list of low GI snacks. Plus, they also go amazingly well with hummus!
Enjoy your low GI snacks!
I hope you found something on this list of low GI snacks that you like. As always, make sure to share this with someone else!
*These links are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.