Maintaining energy levels with Low GI foods

  |   Cooking, Food   |   2 Comments

Full-time work in a large food manufacturing business is fast, busy, fascinating and demanding and I need to have the energy to match the pace. Plus my line manager and my colleague are big, strapping qualified chefs and I need to Keep Up.

You can choose the score for the tiny violins that accompany this piece, but due to my advancing age (according to my driving license, of course I am 31 in my head) it is becoming increasingly clear I need to take care of my energy levels:

Rising before it gets light, mostly missing breakfast, too many trips to the Nespresso machine, no lunch break and product testing sessions at odd times of the day mean that when I get home from work I tend to gorge before dinner. Foods that are salty and fatty  and quick to eat are the most desirable for a gorge (in particular crisps with mayonnaise and sweet chili sauce accompanied by white sliced bread and butter. Now you know my dirty little secret). Because these things generally have a high glycemic index my energy levels spike, I skip a square meal at dinner and then crash. Poor me.


The Cure:

It has to be a return to Old Fashioned Values: no cocktails on a school night, in bed by 10.30, fresh air and exercise when time allows, not engaging with teenagers and their strops (too draining) and regular meals with

  • wholegrains
  • no refined carbohydrate
  • pulses and legumes
  • meat that goes a long way
  • lots and lots of water
  • snacks with a low GI index

The Aims and Outcomes being products that  (this is beginning to sound like a New Product Development Brief from the marketing department)

  • Freeze well
  • Fit nutritional criteria
  • Be varied to avoid turning to other things for the sake of variety

They most provide

  • sustained energy
  • satiety
  • a reason no to gorge when I get home

However, there is no price point per unit to hit and I don’t have to get any other department to sign off on the costing report.


So this sunny winter’s day is cooking for the freezer day, for the coming week’s meals and snacks.


Broccoli and blue cheese soup, Smothered Broccoli with anchovies, olive oil, garlic, lemon and chilli.



Trail mix for my desk drawer with dark chocolate, dates, almonds and walnuts.



Risotto with leeks, courgettes, a bit of quinoa, crusts of parmesan, creaam and puy lentils. Severed with slices of English Gammon baked with golden syrup, allspice and worcestershire sauce.


Recipes: Caponata Salsa Full of Mediterranean aromatics and flavours to keep the taste buds happy, not to mention all those antioxidants. Start with a roast red pepper, skinned, with drained juices.


Slice it into strips and add

  • 1tbsp minced onion
  • 10 ml olive oil
  • 3 strips of lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp of minced capers
  • 3 tbsp minced olives
  • shake of chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • salt
  • 4 tbsp crushed tomatoes
  • two cloves of roast garlic

Combine all ingredients and simmer until reduced.





Hummus to go with Ryvita, yes it’s old fashioned but it is fantastic. And it’s made in Poole, Dorset, near my hometown.



Italian bean soup made form a supermarket ready mix of pulses and grains – such good value and made in to soup so easily: soffit base, tomato paste, stock and the drippings from the gammon roasting dish minus the lard which will be saved to give authenticity to Mexican dishes.



A simple dish of chickpeas, green herbs from the garden, caramelised onions, roast garlic and beef stock.


Breakfasts will be wholegrain cereal and Bircher muesli with oats, flaxseeds, walnuts, pepitas, frozen berries, Greek yogurt and spice.


And to accompany one of the maximum of 3 trips to the Nespresso machine daily, cakes:


Dorset Apple Cake


blueberry cake 1

Recipe: Blueberry, Coconut and Lemon Cake

  • 75g butter
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 25g white sugar
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 75g desiccated coconut
  • 75g wholemeal self raising flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 10g oat bran
  • zest of two lemons
  • 50g plain yogurt
  • 60ml milk
  • 100g of blueberries, frozen are fine
  • a pinch of cinnamon

set oven to 1800 C and line a square cake tin with baking parchment

  1.  Cream butter and sugars until soft.
  2. Gradually beat in eggs.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients and fold in gently but thoroughly until well combined.
  4. Turn in to lined baking tin.
  5. Back for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean from the centre.
  6. Let cool on rack, cut in to 12 portions
  7. Freeze
  8. Pop in lunchbox the night before, enjoy at morning tea





  • Marion Rapson | Jul 20, 2014 at 15:57

    Really interesting, Suzy. I too am trying to embrace a more Low GI diet . Working full time, being a mum and supporting elderly and frail parents is taking it’s toll on my youthful looks and energy!!
    Some really good ideas here – thank you!

    • Crackling | Jul 20, 2014 at 19:52

      Ah, the Sandwich Generation, squeezed from both sides, it’s tough for you. Coconut matting and sprout sandwiches may do you some good. May make you anti social though!

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