Avoid the day’s dips with foods full of zip

Full of Beans soup from the GI High-Energy Cookbook
Full of Beans soup from the GI High-Energy Cookbook

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Kitchen excursions to the office biscuit stash and urgent discussions about sweets – or the indecent lack of them – dominate the day-to-day life of many workplaces.

But those colleagues who reject the need for caffeine and sugar stimuli, and sit under a Ready Brek glow with their cup of herbal tea and plate of greens, can be treated by colleagues with suspicion – and ignored on the tea round.

According to nutritionist Rachael Anne Hill, there are ways we can all increase our energy levels and reduce cravings for custard creams, without resorting to any drastic lifestyle changes. And the GI Diet is one of them.

‘The body absorbs energy from food at different rates,” says Hill. ‘Using something called the Glycemic Index (GI) you can find out if a food will absorb energy quickly, and so have a high GI level, or vice versa.’

Eating low-GI foods, she adds, can help individuals avoid energy spikes and slumps throughout the day, as well as having other health benefits.

‘These foods will help prevent your blood sugar levels rapidly rising and then falling during the day, making it easier to concentrate while at work. A diet rich in low-GI foods can help you eat less, as you stay fuller longer, and they have nutritional advantages too.’

Try this recipe from Rachael’s GI High-Energy Cookbook.

Ladle yourself a healthy dose of lunchtime energy

Full of Beans soup (Serves 4)


750g ripe tomatoes, halved

2tbsp basil leaves

2-3 garlic cloves, crushed

400g canned mixed beans, drained and rinsed

100g canned red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 vegetable stock cube

Salt and pepper

To serve:

Half-fat creme fraiche

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1tbsp chopped basil leaves


1. Put the tomatoes in a large roasting tin, flat sides up. Sprinkle with the basil and garlic, then season. Place under a preheated hot grill for five to 10 minutes, until softened.

2. Remove the tomatoes, cool, peel them, skin. Blend until smooth. Add the beans and process for a further 30 seconds, until the beans are broken down but the soup still has a chunky texture.

3. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan. Dissolve the stock cube in 150ml of boiling water. Add stock to the soup and heat gently.

4. Ladle the soup into warmed soup bowls. Serve immediately, topped with one dessert spoon of half-fat creme fraiche, if using, a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan and some chopped basil.