Whites: flour, rice, salt
In their original form, rice, flour and salt are considered “whole” foods, says Jennifer Hnat,
integrative nutritionist and longevity coach with NEWtrition in Atlanta. But the white rice, flour
and salt available at most grocery stores have been stripped of their essential minerals
and nutrients, making them a cause of health issues.
Healthy alternative: Try wild or brown rice for a more fiber- and nutrient-rich alternative, says Marisa Moore, registered dietician and Atlanta spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. “You might be surprised to learn that brown rice works well in recipes and as a side dish,” Moore adds. Hnat also suggests using black rice, whole grain flour, spelt flour or other gluten-free flours and sun-dried, natural sea salt.
Potato chips usually are deep-fried and high in saturated fat.
Healthy alternative: If you must have chips, search for baked vegetable chips at your local market, advises Bradley Rouse, team chef of the Atlanta Hawks. If you are a true enthusiast, he recommends you slice root vegetables thinly on a mandoline, brush them with extra-virgin olive oil, season them with sea salt and fresh-cracked black pepper and fresh herbs to bake in the oven. “I like oregano,” Rouse says.
Most packaged cookies are high in saturated fat, carbohydrates and sugar.
Healthy alternative: Protein bars. “Our favorites are the Pria bar or the Kashi crunchy bars,” say Sheryl Westerman, motivation counselor and Julie Taube, R.D., L.D. with Sheryl Westerman Nutrition Counseling and Weight Loss Motivation in Atlanta.
One 12-ounce soft drink has about 10 teaspoons of sugar, 150 empty calories, 30-55 milligrams of caffeine and is loaded with artificial food flavorings, colors and sulphites, Hnat says. “And no, the diet drinks are not better,” she adds, ”they are just as problematic, laced with damaging artificial sweeteners like aspartame.”
Healthy alternative: Pure, filtered water, or mineral water splashed with cranberry, pomegranate concentrate and fresh lemon or lime. Hnat also recommends GT Raw Organic Kombucha drinks, noting that they help transition off of soft drinks when you crave a flavored, fizzy drink.
Sugary cereals give your body a false sense of energy early in the morning and can make you hungrier for sugary food, Rouse says.
Healthy alternative: Rouse’s favorite alternative to sugary cereals is granola. “Choose one with dried fruits and sweeten with honey to create a savory and healthy breakfast to jump-start your day,” he recommends, adding that “one of the favorite items I prepare for the Atlanta Hawks is a half papaya filled with yogurt, granola, berries and local honey.” Another alternative, according to Hnat, is steel-cut oatmeal, half a banana and three walnuts. For protein, she recommends adding a scoop of high-quality protein powder or eating a hard-boiled egg.