brought to you by: Alison Brinker, RD, LD
Has anyone ever told you to avoid white food? Have you ever thought about all the good foods that are white? I know as a dietitian I tell people to eat foods that are every color of the rainbow to get the best variety and nutrient content. However, avoiding everything white is too general of a statement. I know most of us can benefit from choosing brown rice instead of white rice, or whole wheat bread over white bread. Salt and cream are white too, other examples of foods that are best eaten in smaller amounts. But, as you will see from the list below, following the guideline of “no white food” will cause you to miss out on a lot of nutritious and delicious foods.
Bananas: A small banana is 15 grams of carbohydrate and about 60 calories. It is a good source of fiber, potassium and vitamin B6. Potassium helps control blood pressure and is important for muscle movement. Vitamin B6 is important for the nervous system to function properly.
Cauliflower: One cup of raw cauliflower has only 25 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrate. It is also a good source of vitamin C which is important for tissue and bone growth and repair.
Cheese: One ounce of part-skim mozzarella cheese (such as a cheese stick) is only 70 calories. It provides calcium for strong bones and is a great low fat protein source with very little carbohydrate.
Chicken: Three ounces of white meat chicken (about the size of a deck of playing cards) without the skin has only about 135 calories. It provides 21 grams of lean protein and no carbohydrate. It is also a good source of niacin, vitamin B6, phosphorous and selenium. Niacin is important for a healthy nervous system and healthy skin. Phosphorus is needed for healthy bones and selenium is important for your metabolism.
Egg Whites: Two egg whites have about 45 calories and the same amount of protein as one ounce of meat. Egg whites have no fat, cholesterol or carbohydrate.
Fish: A three ounce portion of cod has only 90 calories and 21 grams of protein. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, B12, phosphorous, potassium and selenium. Vitamin B12 helps to keep nerve cells and red blood cells healthy.
Milk: One cup of skim milk has only 90 calories and 12 grams of carbohydrate. It is a good source of protein, calcium for healthy bones, phosphorous, vitamin B12, and riboflavin. Riboflavin is important in keeping red blood cells healthy.
Mushrooms: One cup of sliced mushrooms has only 25 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrate. Mushrooms also provide niacin.
Onions: One cup of chopped onion is only 64 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrate. Onions are a good source of vitamin C.
Turnips: These are low in calories too just like all the non-starchy vegetables. Turnips also provide a good source of vitamin C.
White Beans: A half cup of beans is about 150 calories, 7 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber. Portion size is important because a half cup also has 15 grams of carbohydrate. But when you consider that beans are also a source of folate, thiamin, and iron necessary for healthy red blood cells, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus for healthy bones, zinc and copper for a healthy immune system and manganese which is important for metabolism of the foods we eat beans are a great high carb food choice.
White Potatoes: Like beans, white potatoes have higher carbohydrate content than non-starchy vegetables. One half cup of mashed or roasted potatoes has 15 grams of carbohydrate and, but white potatoes provide fiber, vitamin C, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, iron and potassium.
Yogurt: One cup of plain nonfat yogurt is 137 calories, 14 grams of protein and 17 grams of carbohydrate. It provides calcium, potassium, vitamin B12 and riboflavin. It is a great base for a fruit smoothie and depending on the fruit you decide to mix it with, it won’t be white anymore.
I hope this list will make you think twice about white food choices. All of us should be working towards eating less processed and refined foods, but to base our choices on color alone is not the best strategy. Enjoy these white foods