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Low Glycemic Index Snacks: Try These 8 Healthy Recipes

Jordyn Wallerius, MS, RDN, CD

Published in Recipes

7 min read

June 15, 2022
December 8, 2023
two avocado toasts on a plate
two avocado toasts on a plate

Are you interested in getting started with some low glycemic index (GI) meals but aren’t sure where to start? 

To help you out, we put together a list of dietitian-approved, quick and easy lower GI meals. Read on to pick from our favorites!

What is a Low Glycemic Index (GI) Meal? 

You may have heard the term “low glycemic index meal” before, but what does this actually mean? Lower GI meals are less likely to raise your blood sugars dramatically, helping you achieve more stable blood sugar and better metabolic health. 

They also combine foods to lower the blood sugar spike we often see when we have starchy foods all by ourselves. Non-diabetic glucose monitoring using a CGM can help you stay on top of your glucose regulation and ensure that you're making ideal dietary choices for your overall health.

We can achieve this by focusing on smaller portions of carbs and adequate protein, healthy fats, and fiber. It can be helpful for people with diabetes or pre-diabetes, help with weight loss, and improve non-diabetic hypoglycemia.  

1) Avocado Toast with Cottage Cheese

Perfect for: Breakfast

Sourdough toast with avocados, tomatoes, and cheese


  • 1 slice Burgen bread, any type or Ezekiel bread, toasted
  • 1 tablespoons avocado, mashed 
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 1/2 medium tomatoes, thickly sliced
  • 1 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
  • 1/4 lemon, juice and zest
  • A pinch of chilli flakes
  • Black pepper, to taste  

Avocado toast gets a lot of flak and is often seen as a passing trend, but this nutrition powerhouse is here to stay for a reason! This recipe is quick, easy, and customizable for those mornings when cooking a big breakfast isn’t realistic.   

It also packs a protein punch to start your day on the right foot, primarily thanks to the cottage cheese! This specific recipe highlights Burgen Wholemeal & Seeds Bread, but any low-carb bread will work. 

Get the recipe here.  

Nutrition information (will vary depending on the type of bread used): 

  • 304 calories
  • 25 grams carbs
  • 7 grams fat
  • 27 grams protein
  • 7 grams fiber

2) Banana Smoothie with Hazelnuts 

Perfect for: Breakfast 

Banana smoothie


  • 1 frozen (or fresh) medium banana, plus handful ice
  • 1 cup milk 
  • ½ cup Greek plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • 5 roasted hazelnuts

Have some bananas that are about to go bad lying around? Toss them in the freezer so they’ll be ready for this quick and easy smoothie recipe

Just toss in the blender, mix, and you’re ready to head out the door. In addition to being a great breakfast, this can also serve as a post-workout snack that provides more than 30 grams of protein.  Feel free to leave oats out for a lower carb option! 

Nutrition information: 

  • 419 calories
  • 51 grams carbs
  • 9 grams fat
  • 31 grams protein
  • 6 grams of fiber

3) Quinoa and Black Beans Recipe 

Perfect for: Lunch/Dinner

Quinoa bowl with beans, peppers, and avocados


  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ¾ cup quinoa
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Swapping your beans and rice for beans and quinoa gives you a protein boost and ultimately helps you maintain more stable glucose values. Keep in mind that even though quinoa offers more protein compared to rice, both beans and quinoa are still sources of carbs.  If you’d like to lower your carb intake even more for this recipe, consider adding in something like chicken or tofu instead. 

Quinoa also cooks up faster than many other grains, and adding frozen veggies and canned beans helps get this recipe on the table even quicker! Get the full recipe at allrecipes.  

Nutrition information (per serving): 

  • 153 calories
  • 28 grams carbs
  • 1.7 grams fat
  • 7.7 grams protein
  • 7.8 grams fiber

4) Tilapia with Cauliflower, Broccoli, and Red Pepper 

Perfect for: Lunch/Dinner

A plate of tilapia fillet with steamed broccoli


  • 4 (4-ounce) fillets tilapia
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon seafood seasoning, or to taste
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 (16-ounce) package frozen cauliflower with broccoli and red pepper
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste 

While this recipe calls for tilapia (a popular, cost-effective option), swapping in some fish with a higher omega-3 content can help you maximize this meal's nutrient density even more! 

Some options include salmon, mackerel, or whole sardines. It's a great one-pan meal that you can toss in the oven and have a low glycemic index dinner on the table in about half an hour. Make this meal better by adding a fresh green salad on the side!  

Nutrition information (per serving): 

  • 172 calories
  • 7.3 grams carbs
  • 3.6 grams fat
  • 24.8 grams protein
  • 2.7 grams fiber

5) Asian-style Pearl Couscous with Grilled Salmon

Perfect for: Lunch/Dinner

Couscous bowl with leafy greens, edamame, cucumbers, yogurt, tomatoes, avocado, and smoked salmon


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste
  • 4 salmon fillets
  • ½ brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1½ cups Pearl Couscous
  • 2½ cups hot strong chicken stock (low or reduced salt)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups cleaned bean shoots
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 4 spring onions, cut into small pieces
  • ½ cup coriander leaves
  • 4 quarters of lime or lemon

For a lunch or dinner meal that’s as beautiful as it is flavorful, consider this Asian-style grilled salmon and couscous recipe

This meal calls for a few more ingredients than others on the list and is a bit more hands-on, but it still comes together quick enough to be your new favorite weeknight staple.  

Nutrition information (per serving): 

  • 500 calories
  • 26 grams carbs
  • 25 grams fat
  • 39 grams protein
  • 4.4 grams fiber

6) Keto Egg Roll in a Bowl 

Perfect for: Lunch/Dinner

Bowl of stir fry with veggies and meat


  • 1 lb (16 ounces) ground pork or beef
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 14 ounces shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce (or liquid aminos)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons sliced green onions

A one-pan dinner that cooks in under 15 minutes, is low on carbs, packed with protein, and is full of flavor? This is sure to become a fast favorite if you’ve been missing out on your favorite Asian takeout. 

This recipe calls for ground pork or beef, but ground venison or turkey would also work!  

Nutrition information (per serving): 

  • 331 calories
  • 4.9 grams carbs
  • 23.4 grams fat
  • 24.3 grams protein
  • 1.9 grams fiber

7) Low GI Pecan Brownie Recipe 

Perfect for: Dessert

Cutting board with chocolate pecan brownie


  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans or (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1⁄2 cup skim milk
  • 1⁄3 cup liquid egg substitute, like egg beaters
  • 1⁄4 cup soft non-hydrogenated margarine, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1⁄2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1⁄2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1⁄2 cup sugar substitute
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1pinch salt
  • 1⁄2 cup toasted chopped pecans

Who says choosing lower glycemic index foods has to be boring? Check out this pecan brownie recipe made with a base of beans when you need something chocolatey and sweet! 

The beans add protein and fiber to help keep your blood sugar steady, while vanilla extract and cocoa powder bring the sweetness. The recipe calls for pecans, but feel free to leave those out if needed.  

Nutrition information (per serving): 

  • 103 calories
  • 15.8 grams carbs
  • 3 grams fat 
  • 4.3 grams protein
  • 3 grams fiber

8) Low-Carb Baked Apples 

Perfect for: Dessert 

Bowls of baked apples with shredded nuts as topping


  • 2 ounces butter, room temperature
  • 1 ounce pecans or walnuts
  • 4 tablespoons coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tart/sour apple


  • ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

There are lots of ways to spice this baked apples recipe up by swapping the toppings for whipped cream, crème fraiche, or mascarpone. It’s also easy to swap the nuts for sunflower or sesame seeds if needed. Find the full recipe here.

Nutrition information (per serving): 

  • 219 calories
  • 13.5 grams carbs
  • 18 grams fat
  • 2.5 grams protein
  • 3 grams fiber

Interested in learning more about what low glycemic index snack options you can pick? Check out the Nutrisense Journal for some dietitian-approved options!

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Carlee Hayes, RDN, CD

Reviewed by: Carlee Hayes, RDN, CD

Carlee's training at Western Illinois University and an internship at the Memphis VA Hospital lead her to a career in outpatient counseling and bariatric nutrition therapy. In these positions, Carlee realized many of the disease states (upwards of 80%!) her patients experienced were actually preventable. She knew she had to dig deeper into preventative health and has since been passionate about helping people translate this complex glucose data into actionable changes anyone can implement into their everyday lives.

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