To some people, the thought of eating
out and of maintaining a low-GI diet might seem like a contradiction in terms.
It's not! Although you might not have as much control over what you eat when
you're out of the house, restaurants today offer a growing variety of healthy
and delicious low-GI foods. Many menus, for example, feature grilled seafood,
fresh vegetables, pastas, and fruits; choices such as these are healthy also,
because they're low in fat. And with the growing popularity of ethnic foods,
healthy choices are even broader. Here are some tips:
- Chinese food. Authentic Chinese food
features plenty of vegetables and is low in fat-a good, low-GI option. Limit
your intake of starchy, Asian-style sticky white rice, though, which has a high
GI. A low-GI alternative would be oriental noodles (egg, rice, or mung bean).
Try to stay away from deep-fried foods, also-not so much from a GI standpoint,
but because they're very high in fat.
- Mexican food. Most Mexican restaurants in the United
States serve high-starch, high-fat foods (including chips), that are denser in
calories than they are in nutrients. If possible, stick with grilled seafood
and chicken dishes, black beans, and entrees such as fajitas. Limit the sour
- Italian food. Pasta dishes, seafood dishes,
and meat dishes are nutritionally sound choices, as long as they're not
overloaded with cheese. Thin-crust pizza with vegetable toppings is a good
choice. And remember, those bread calories eaten while waiting for the meal to
arrive still count! Ask for semolina bread if it's available.
- Japanese food. Practically anything in an
authentic Japanese restaurant works into a low GI meal plan, even sushi (it's
prepared with vinegar). Canned lychees, however, have a high GI.
- Thai food. Thai dishes typically include
small amounts of meat, seafood, or tofu with vegetables and spicy sauce. All
are good choices from a GI standpoint.
- Indian food. Indian cuisine is generally
friendly to a low-GI diet. It features legumes, chicken, fish, vegetables, and
yogurt. Just be aware of the high-fat fried foods and heavy, butter-based
- Fast food. Fast food restaurants can spell
trouble for low-GI diets. Hamburgers and other fast-food sandwiches are served
on processed breads and rolls having high GIs. Most fast foods are also very
high in fat and sodium. As a general rule, try to avoid fast foods. If you
can't avoid fast food restaurants, visit the salad bar.