When I hear people say they don’t eat “white foods” I feel three things:
- Like rolling my eyes
- Like cringing
- Very bad for them
Making broad generalizations is totally unfair but I think people feel comfortable making them. Perhaps it is just easier to shut out a whole group of foods instead of learning the differences between different foods within a group and making decisions on what to eat based on goals, environment and availability is too difficult. I am not sure. But I do know that absolutes don’t help.
Someone a bunch of years ago created a phenomenon that led people to begin shunning “white foods” as if there was something inherently wrong with them based on their color. This has created an alarmist mentality where there doesn’t need to be.
Below are 5 “white foods” that prove, not all “white foods” are bad.
Eggs are often called the breakfast of champions since they offer a good source of protein and contain a number of essential vitamins and minerals. When we compare the whole egg to the egg whites, whole eggs are richer in many of the nutrients that we need but higher in calories and fat. From the weight management perspective egg whites may be a smarter option but from a total nutrition standpoint the whole egg gains credibility.
Here are the numbers:
3 egg whites (100 grams) = 52 calories, 11 grams of protein, 0.2 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol
2 whole eggs (100 grams) = 143 calories, 13 grams of protein, 9.5 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 372 milligrams of cholesterol
To get the best of both worlds and balance out the calories and fat while obtaining the necessary nutrients, I suggest eating a ratio of 2:1 or 3:1 of egg whites to a whole egg. This will minimize the amount of calories while boosting the nutrient density of the meal.
Once again, here are the numbers:
2 egg whites + 1 whole egg (117 grams) = 106 calories, 13.7 grams of protein, 4.75 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 186 milligrams of cholesterol
For someone who needs more volume:
3 egg white + 1 whole egg (150 grams) = 123 calories, 15.75 grams of protein, 4.75 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 186 milligrams of cholesterol
If this isn’t a great exercise in moderation I don’t know what is.
Low in calories and big on nutrition. Cauliflower is high in vitamin C, a good source of potassium, folic acid, fiber, and contains special sulfur compounds that protect us against cancer. Cauliflower is delicious steamed, roasted, and mashed.
Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt
Why is Greek yogurt superior to traditional yogurts? Well, because it has twice the amount of protein…that’s why! The protein is what gives Greek yogurt its satiating power and keeps you fuller longer. Like all fat free and low fat dairy, Greek yogurt is rich in calcium and vitamin D both of which are important for bone health.
Greek Yogurt is also super versatile. By combining it with a smart add-in like your favorite whole grain cereal or diced fruit, it acts as the perfect blank protein canvas for a snack. Not a yogurt eater? I hear ya. Substitute fat free plain greek yogurt anywhere you see mayonnaise or sour cream in your favorite dip, dressing and sauce recipes to reap all of its benefits.
White Flaky Fish
For those of you who are like me and don’t like the strong taste of the super healthy omega-3 fatty acid rich fish, like salmon, mackerel, arctic char and sardines, it is still advantageous for us to eat fish.
White fish, especially white flakey fish, like black sea bass, branzino, tilapia, rainbow trout, and flounder, are great sources of lean protein and contain very little saturated fat. These fish are mild in flavor and offer an alternative to chicken. Furthermore, by swapping white flakey fish for beef and pork, you will be doing your heart a favor since you will be reducing your saturated fat (and caloric) intake.
White Potatoes (Idaho, russet, red, etc)
Variety is the spice of life. The same is true for the mighty potato. Sure, sweet potatoes and yams are full of carotenoids and other good stuff but that doesn’t mean their white-flesh counterpart isn’t good for you too!
When eaten with the skin, white potatoes are an amazing source of fiber which is not only good for digestive health but also for our waistlines. Fiber keeps us fuller longer helping us control our portions during the meal and after. White potatoes are also great for improving our heart health because it contains potassium and magnesium. These nutrients, especially potassium, help counterbalance sodium helping all of us reduce water retention (AKA bloating) and helps people with high blood pressure.
I hope reading this has opened your mind to certain “white foods” and proved that absolutes, once again, aren’t necessary. There is no need to put a label, make a judgment or an announcement of any sort in relation to food or your diet. However, if you need to proclaim anything, please do so quietly or just to yourself and limit it to the reduction of refined white flours. Learning to limit foods made with refined white flours is far healthier than eliminating all white foods just because they are of similar color.