My readers often tell me that they find it difficult to keep up with their budget and still put healthy low glycemic meals on the table. Since this subject keeps coming up, I decided to write a series of articles about different ways you can eat healthy without spending more money.
You see, I have been living in Toronto for many years
and don’t even get me started on how expensive Toronto is and I’ve learned a few tricks on how to cut my grocery bill to bring my monthly grocery bill down to a reasonable amount.
Let’s kick-start the Low GI on a Budget series with this list of 6 healthy budget friendly low-glycemic foods that are versatile and super easy to prepare.
Green and red cabbage are very inexpensive and available all year around. It’s absolutely perfect for salads and you can make a big batch for just a dollar or two. Another advantage of cabbage salads is that they keep very well in the fridge for a few days and might even become tastier as cabbage ferments a bit.
When preparing a cabbage salad, make sure to massage the shredded cabbage with a little bit of sugar and olive oil. This will help to break down the fibers and make the cabbage easier to chew and digest.
Everyone knows about the wonderful health benefits of oats. The different forms in which oats are available include the low glycemic ones such as steel-cut, rolled, bran, groats, and flour, and the high glycemic one such as instant oatmeal. I would like to emphasize that instant oatmeal is a very high glycemic form of oats and there is nothing healthy about it. Regular rolled oats don’t take a long time to cook either and can be used in any recipe that calls for instant oats.
Barley is a cereal grain with a chewy consistency and a distinct flavor. Containing both soluble and insoluble fiber, it helps the body to get rid of toxins. Pearl barley is a bit more processed than pot barley and will also cook a bit faster. Barley is wonderful in soups and stews as it makes them creamy. Barley flour is very inexpensive and can be used as a substitute to white or whole wheat flour.
Beans are loaded with awesome nutrients. They contain more protein than any other plant-derived food and are full of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber which helps to normalize blood sugar.
There is a wide variety of beans to choose from. I suggest you try different kinds to find out what you like. In my family, we use a lot of black and red beans, chickpeas, and yellow peas. It’s better to use dried beans. They have to be soaked for at least 8 to 12 hours in advance and I have to admit that I am not always that well-organized so I often use canned beans and chickpeas.
Lentils come in a variety of colors though red, brown, and green lentils are the most common in North America. Lentils do not need to be pre-soaked and cook very quickly. Cooked lentils become quite soft and make excellent bases for purees and soups.
You can also find various soup mixes that are based on different types of legumes and grains. They are also very budget-friendly and can be used in soups and stews.
6. Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are full of minerals, vitamins, phytochemicals and fiber. They have a lower glycemic index than regular potatoes. You can prepare sweet potatoes just like regular potatoes – bake them in the oven, make sweet potato fries or mashed sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes also make a great base for creamy soups.
What’s your favorite budget-friendly low glycemic staple? Share it with us in the comments below!