I’m going to be honest about something—I tend to get hangry pretty easily. (Hungry + angry. This is a bad combo for me). Having snacks on hand are a must-have for my mental and physical well-being. In fact, my coworkers are pretty used to listening to me as I crunch my way through carrots and almonds every day. (I think they prefer this to my hangry episodes, truth be told.)
When it comes to snacking, choosing healthy snacks that are low glycemic are your best bet for living an overall healthy lifestyle. If you haven’t jumped on the low-glycemic bandwagon, here’s what you need to know.
The Low-Down on Low Glycemic Foods
First off, what are low glycemic foods? This is where the science part comes in (don your lab coats now). The term “low glycemic” is in reference to the low glycemic index diet. This is an eating plan that is based on how foods (particularly carbohydrates) affect your blood sugar level.
The glycemic index is a tool used to measure the speed at which a carbohydrate-containing food breaks down in the digestive system to form glucose (a key energy source). Glucose is then used as fuel and travels through the blood stream to feed every cell in your body. It’s saved in the muscles as glycogen for later use, and excess is stored as fat cells.
On a Scale of 0 to 100, How Hungry Do You Feel?
The glycemic index is scored on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being pure glucose. When foods break down quickly to convert to glucose, they receive a high score (usually over 70) and represent high-glycemic foods. These kinds of foods usually provide less fiber, fat, and protein. But they are useful when quick energy is needed. Since they are broken down so quickly, they don’t tend to keep us as full for as long. (Insert excess munching and snacking on our favorite crackers and pretzels.)
Examples of medium- to high-glycemic foods are sugar-sweetened drinks, baked goods, white bread, rice cakes, and starchy foods like Russet potatoes. So basically, all of our favorite comfort foods like donuts and french fries. Bummer.
On the flip side, low glycemic foods are typically less processed and rich in fiber, protein, and fats. These foods are slow to break down and get a low score, usually under 50. Examples include hard-boiled eggs, steel-cut oatmeal, veggies, and beans
These low glycemic foods are important because they can help keep your blood sugar more steady throughout the day. And since they are slow digesting, they lead to a longer period of satiety and can help prevent you from overeating come dinnertime.
This can also help curb your stomach-growling, vicious hangry episodes between meals. And everyone within a mile radius of you will be grateful for that.
So now that we’ve figured out the hype behind low glycemic, what are some good low glycemic snacks?
7 Low Glycemic Snacks You’ll Be Glad You TriedGo Nuts
- Go Nuts – Not only are they low glycemic, but nuts like walnuts, almonds, and pecans are also rich in heart-healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which may help to support healthy cholesterol. Enjoy a handful of almonds with a medium sized apple or peach.
- It’s Berry Delicious – Fresh or frozen berries and fruits like cherries, oranges, kiwis, and raspberries are plump full of vitamin C and are a delicious snack that can help satisfy your sweet tooth. Another tip? Try blending them into your favorite protein shake (USANA MySmart™ is a good option).
- An Egg-tastic Snack –Hardboiled eggs are a great source of protein and fats. Try combining with some chopped veggies like cucumbers or bell peppers. You can also sprinkle a little pepper and some sea salt for flavor.
- A Veggie Pick Me Up –The chickpeas used in a good-quality hummus are not only high in protein and fiber, but are also rich in iron, phosphorus, folate, and B vitamins. Munch on some carrots or sugar snap peas with a zesty hummus dip.
- Cheese Please – Low-fat cottage cheese and unsweetened yogurt (think plain Greek yogurt) are rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals like calcium. Mix in some blueberries with flaxseed and a dash of cinnamon for a tasty kick.
- The Grass Is Greener – Popeye isn’t the only one who should love spinach—try throwing together a mixed green salad with kale or spinach. Add 2 oz. chicken breast and throw in some mouth-watering cherry tomatoes and crumbled feta cheese. Squeeze fresh lemon for flavor, or go light on the salad dressing (100 calories or less)
- Sweet Treat –Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A and fiber. Snack on a small baked sweet potato with a little butter or sour cream and some cooked broccoli for a healthier alternative to regular potatoes (and a lower GI).
So Long Hangry Days
You shouldn’t have to live with your hanger—try out some of these delicious low glycemic foods today.