Entertaining doesn’t have to mean unhealthy food choices. In fact, choosing foods with a low glycemic index (GI) will satisfy guests and provide sustained energy to avoid that post lunch or dinner slump. With some creative swaps and a little planning, you can provide delicious and healthy food options at your next soiree.
Here are our tips for creating a low GI menu for entertaining:
1. Plan your menu ahead of time
It may seem obvious, however, planning your menu ahead of time will help ensure you create a cohesive low GI meal and avoid any last minute impulsive decisions at the supermarket which can have a big impact on your low GI lifestyle. Use our swap it tool to swap the foods you enjoy eating with low GI substitutes, and if you’re looking for dishes that are perfect for a crowd, check out our free entertaining e-cookbook.
2. Swap, drop, add and reduce
Swap foods to low GI varieties
Drop fluffy white breads, baguettes and rolls, and larger servings of carbohydrates
Add beans, chickpeas and lentils to meals, lemon juice to veggies and yoghurt to a curry
Reduce the amount of starchy carbohydrate in your recipe
3. When in doubt, choose whole foods
Whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains are naturally low in GI. This means they won’t cause a spike in blood sugar levels and will keep your guests feeling full and satisfied for longer. Try serving a platter of colourful veggies for entree with this Moroccan spiced pumpkin, pistachio and macadamia dip and follow up with this delicious lamb backstrap with pearl couscous and root vegetable salad for mains.
4. Herbs and spices are your friend
Instead of relying on refined sugar or salt to add flavour to your meals, try using natural herbs and spices. These seasonings are low GI and can help bring out the flavours of your ingredients to add an extra level of depth to your dishes.
5. Go naturally sweet for dessert
Going low GI doesn’t mean cutting out all sugars. If you’re planning on serving dessert, opt for foods containing natural sugars such as fruit and Greek or natural yoghurt. Try to limit foods with an abundance of added sugar and little nutritional value such as confectionery, cakes and biscuits. You can find plenty of delicious low GI dessert options available.
6. Keeping portions in check
Ideally, a low GI meal should contain two handfuls of veg or salad, a palm size portion of lean protein, a thumb of healthier oils and a fistful of low GI carbohydrates. Creating a grazing board? Fill it up with low GI snacks including nuts, hummus and veggie sticks, fruit and low GI or wholegrain bread and see our handy meal portion guide for snacking portions.
Hosting a dinner party doesn’t need to be stressful. With a little planning, and following our top tips, it’s easy to create a low GI entertaining menu that is guaranteed to satisfy your guests.