Ring in a healthy holiday season
Allison Day, RHN
Despite their paler hue, naturally white foods such as coconut, egg whites, and cauliflower are loaded with nutrients and are anything but bland.
The festive colours of the holidays are entrancing, but snowy, wintry white hues deserve a little attention too. We’re often told to “eat the rainbow” and include a variety of colours—especially greens and oranges—on our plate. However, naturally white foods (we’re not talking white bread) can deliver just as much nutrition as their pigmented peers. From the probiotics found in yogurt to the blood sugar-stabilizing protein and fibre combination present in cannellini beans, from cauliflower to egg whites, white foods have their time and place on our tables. Even some of the superfoods du jour follow suit: quinoa contains an abundance of minerals and complete vegetarian protein. Coconut delivers fibre, potassium, magnesium, and its trademark buttery taste. Banish the thought that blanc is bland. With a few delicate spices and add-ins, these dishes are anything but ordinary. Approach them as an unpainted canvas ready to take what you throw at them:
The meal possibilities of these foods are as far-reaching as their health benefits. Prepare this all-white spread for a sophisticated, elegant, and unexpected treat for guests. Bring the essence of the wintry white weather indoors—hold the chill—and warm up with these white-hot new classics.
White quinoa contains fibre, protein, and an array of minerals, and it cooks up in just 15 minutes. This fast-food grain can be the base of an easy, stay-at-home dinner or made into a warming porridge to fuel a morning of shovelling.
Your morning rolled oats can be jazzed up with mix-ins such as fresh fruit, nuts, and seeds or made into a savoury creation with fresh herbs, tomatoes, and olive oil. Add rolled oats to cookie dough, meatballs, and more, and cook steel-cut oats with diced apples in the slow cooker overnight.
A comfort food that doubles as a power food, potatoes contain potassium for blood pressure control, magnesium, and a surprising amount of protein. Try a variety; Yukon Gold, fingerling, and russet are the most versatile.
These two pantry staples add instant flavour to any meal, along with nutritional compounds that show promise in cancer prevention.
This cruciferous kitchen chameleon can be steamed, stewed, roasted, made into “rice,” used as a pizza crust, baked, blended into a creamy cream-less soup, or mashed.
Like a cinnamon-spiced, blonde carrot, parsnips have a meaty texture that lends itself well to roasting, or being made into fries, cooked into stews, or used to create a silky base for soups—hold the dairy.
Butter beans, cannellini beans, navy beans, and chickpeas all hold fibre, protein, and iron within their neutral exterior. They’re a great way to quickly and economically add more nutrition to any meal. Cook your own for greater variety or buy no-salt-added canned versions.
Plain yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese, milk, cheese, and more: unsweetened dairy products contain calcium, vitamin D, protein, and, in the case of yogurt and kefir, belly-friendly probiotics. Choose organic when possible.
Made from soybeans, tofu and soy milk are multitalented vegetarian staples that can quickly and easily be made into satisfying protein, calcium, and omega-3-rich meals and snacks. Add tofu to stir-fries, curries, and sandwiches, and cook oatmeal in soy milk.