Low GI Recipes of the Month

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Our chef Kate Hemphill develops deliciously simple recipes for GI News that showcase seasonal ingredients and make it easy for you to cook healthy, low GI meals and snacks. For more of Kate’s fabulous fare, check out her website: www.lovetocook.co.uk. For now, prepare and share good food with family and friends.

Kate Hemphill

We thought it was time for some baking. Naturally we aim to give you recipes with as low a GI as possible, but with baking it’s really hard to get into the low GI bracket. Basically, you just can’t expect anything with refined flour to be low GI. But you can get it lower by adding carrots and sultanas as Kate has done here. To reduce the GI of these muffins even more, dietitian Kate Marsh suggests you cut back the wholemeal or stoneground flour to 340 g (12 oz) and top up with 60 g (2 oz) unprocessed oat bran.

Wholemeal Carrot and Poppy Seed Muffins
I find bought muffins rarely satisfying, as they are too ‘cakey’, sweet or full of preservatives. Muffins can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes from start to finish, using two mixing bowls and a muffin tin. They freeze well and will keep in an airtight container for about 5 days. These wholemeal carrot muffins are really satisfying and full of natural sweetness and ideal for an occasional treat.

Makes 12

500 g (1 lb 2 oz) carrots, peeled, boiled and drained
150 ml (5 fl oz) vegetable oil
1 cup (250 ml) low-fat or skimmed milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp runny honey (pure floral is best)
400 g (14 oz) wholemeal or stone ground flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp poppy seeds
100 g (3½ oz) soft brown sugar
1/2 tsp lemon zest
100 g (3½ oz) sultanas (or currants)

  • Pre-heat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF.
  • Mash or whiz the carrot to a puree and combine in a bowl with the oil, milk, eggs and honey.
  • Combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, poppy seeds, sugar, lemon zest and sultanas or currants in large bowl, then pour in the carrot mixture, stirring until well combined.
  • Working quickly (the raising agents activate when meeting the liquid), pour the batter into a non-stick or greased 12-hole muffin tin.
  • Bake for 20–25 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and gently take out muffins onto a wire rack (otherwise they will steam on the bottom).

Per muffin
1353 kJ/322 calories; 7 g protein; 14 g fat (includes 2 g saturated fat); 40 g carbohydrate; 5.5 g fibre

We asked Kate Marsh, author of Low GI Gluten-free Living, how to make this gluten-free friendly. Here’s what she suggests: ‘In place of wholemeal flour use brown rice flour plus some rice bran and psyllium husks. Maybe almond meal. The rest of the ingredients are OK but make sure the baking powder is gluten free.’

Charmaine Solomon’s Bitter Melon Salad
If you love Asian food, check out the recipes on Charmaine’s website: www.charmainesolomon.com. This recipe was hard to provide a nutritional analysis for as bitter melons come in quite a range of sizes. We opted for 300 g (10 oz) melons. The saturated fat is mostly from the coconut cream, so to cut back, use a little less. Like other members of the squash family, bitter melons contain very little carbohydrate, so it’s not possible to estimate a GI.

Serves 4

2 tender bitter melons
Ground turmeric
Peanut oil
3 golden shallots, sliced finely
2 fresh green chillies, seeded and sliced
2 tablespoons lime juice
½ teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons coconut cream

  • Wash and dry bitter melons. Cut crosswise into slices about into 6 mm (1/4 inch) thick. Lay them on a platter and sprinkle with salt and turmeric on one side, turn the slices over and sprinkle on the reverse side. Leave for 20 minutes, then blot dry with paper towels.
  • Heat sufficient oil to just cover the base of a heavy frying pan and lay the bitter melon slices in the oil in one layer. Cook on medium heat until golden underneath, then turn the slices over and cook the other side. Transfer to paper towels with a slotted spoon to drain. Place in a serving dish and lightly mix with the shallots and chillies. Dissolve sugar in lime juice and pour over. Just before serving, spoon coconut cream over the salad.

Per serve
520 kJ/124 calories; 2 g protein; 11 g fat (includes 4 g saturated fat); 2 g carbohydrate; 2.8 g fibre

Lisa Yates Bircher muesli with mixed nuts
This muesli will keep well in the fridge for 2 or 3 days.
Serves 6


2 cups traditional rolled oats
1/3 cup sliced dried apricots
2 tablespoons sultanas
1½ cups (375 ml) apple juice
50 g (1¾ oz) raw pecans
50 g (1¾ oz) raw hazelnuts
50 g (1¾ oz) raw whole blanched almonds
50 g (1¾ oz) raw macadamias
1 medium red apple, halved and thinly sliced
½ cup (125 ml) low fat natural yoghurt
¼ cup (60 ml) skim milk
2 tablespoons honey (if desired)

  • Place the rolled oats, apricots and sultanas in a bowl and pour over the apple juice. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Place all the nuts on a baking tray and bake for 5 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven, cool then chop roughly. Add the nuts to the rolled oat mixture, along with the apple, yoghurt and milk. Stir until completely combined. Serve with a drizzle of honey if desired.

Per serve
1810 kJ/430 calories; 10 g protein; 25 g fat (includes 2 g saturated fat); 43 g carbohydrate; 6 g fibre