Low-Glycemic Desserts

The glycemic index is a measurement scale from 1 to 100 that rates foods based on how they affect blood sugar. High-glycemic foods, which are 70 and higher on the scale, spike your blood sugar the fastest. Medium-glycemic foods range from 56 to 69, and low-glycemic foods are 55 and under. The key to making desserts with a low glycemic index is to include as many whole food ingredients as possible, like fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, dairy products and whole grains.

Fruits have a lower glycemic index than foods processed with refined sugar. (Image: marrakeshh/iStock/Getty Images)

Fruit Desserts

Fruit is sweet, but it's also healthy and, with the exception of melons and pineapples, it's low-GI. For example, blueberries are 53 on the glycemic index, and strawberries are only 40. For dessert, you could have some fresh fruit with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream or unsweetened Greek yogurt, since dairy is low-GI. Even sweetened yogurt with fruit is only 33 on the glycemic index. You could even make a milk shake by blending milk and frozen fruit instead of sugar.

Muffins, Cakes and Cupcakes

Create your own low-GI baked dessert by replacing white flour with whole-wheat flour and sugar with an artificial sweetener. Artificial sweeteners, including acesulfame potassium, aspartame, saccharin, sucralose and neotame, are sugar-free, so they don't even show up on the glycemic index. A muffin made from wheat flour is only 46 on the glycemic index. Oat bran also has a low GI score, so you could also use that instead of whole-wheat flour. Instead of adding something like chocolate chips to the mix, use dried fruit to keep a baked dessert low-GI.

Desserts With Nuts and Dried Fruit

Nuts contain few carbohydrates, and thus have a low GI. Try baking some banana-walnut muffins using whole-wheat flour and a sugar substitute. Because oatmeal has a GI of 49, you could bake low-GI oatmeal cookies with a sugar substitute and include raisins and pecans. Make dessert bars with oats, peanuts, a sugar substitute and a little bit of chocolate drizzled on top. Make some simple apple rings by putting a sliced, cored apple in the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit, sprinkled with some lemon juice and cinnamon.

No-Sugar Puddings

Instant chocolate pudding made with whole milk is 47 on the GI scale, so technically it's a low-GI food. You can also make a healthier low-GI pudding using whole food ingredients. Chia seeds are too low in carbs to show up on the glycemic index. They form a gel when combined with liquid and can be used in combination with milk as a base for puddings. Instead of adding sugar, add pureed peaches or any other fruit you'd like to puree, and sprinkle in an artificial sweetener if needed, to make a low-GI pudding.

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