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How high is the GI?

Time to play your carbs right, as we learn about the glycemic index and how some foods make energy quicker than others.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Masking tape

Before you begin

  • The person leading the activity should mark out a playing area for this activity. The area should consist of five squares in a row, each one large enough for a small group to stand in.

Guess the GI

  1. The person leading the activity should ask if anyone knows what GI means. The glycaemic index (GI) of a food measures how quickly carbohydrates in foods are digested into glucose. Foods with a higher GI are broken down more quickly. Foods with more protein, fibre, or fat tend to have lower GIs because they’re broken down more slowly.
  1. The person leading the activity should explain that foods aren’t usually eaten on their own – for example, adding tuna, salad, and mayo to jacket potato would give you a meal with a low to medium GI, even though the potato on its own would have a high GI.
  2. Everyone should get into small groups. The person leading the activity should choose a group to go first and that group should stand in the first square of the playing area.
  3. The person leading the activity should read out a food and its GI value from the GI values below. Tell the group that this is the first food.
  4. Now the person leading the activity should read out another food from the sheet, but not the GI value. The group standing in the square must guess whether the second food has a higher or lower GI to the first food. If they guess correctly, they can move to the second square and guess the next GI. If they guess incorrectly, they must stay where they are. After three incorrect guesses, that group is out and another one may step into the first square to have a go. If they reach the fifth square and guess correctly again, they have won the game.
  1. Everyone should think about how their new knowledge would help them plan a tasty menu. What could they pair with jelly babies so their snack keeps them fuller and energised for longer? What would be the perfect accompaniment for some tasty oven chips?


The group have tried to figure out which foods have higher GI and which have lower. Did you notice any patterns with the foods that had a certain GI value? If you’d tried one of the foods before, did you have a better idea of how high the value might’ve been? Why might it be useful to know how quickly something you’re eating is going to release its energy? What activities might benefit from slow-release and fast-release energy?

There was some communication necessary among the groups and from the rest of the players. Was it helpful to have help from the rest of the group, or did it distract you as you were trying to think amongst yourselves in your group? Who did best; the people who listened to the audience or the people who went their own way?


Active games

The game area should be free of hazards. Explain the rules of the game clearly and have a clear way to communicate that the game must stop when needed.

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.