The Better India

Safe Weight-Loss: Healthy Alternatives to ‘White’ Foods You Can Experiment With

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Whether you’ve jumped onto a no-white diet, or eat only white foods like there’s no tomorrow, neither of them can be a long-lasting solution for maintaining weight loss.

White foods include, essentially, flour and sugars included in processed foods (such as white rice, pasta, breads, crackers, cereals, baked goods and ice cream) and a few high starch veggies (such as potatoes).

Now giving up on them completely would be stripping yourself of essential nutrients and Ranjiv Sahni, 27, Mumbai-based chef and former restaurateur at Fat Kid Deli & Fat Kid Desi, agrees with me.

“Any diet where you cut out entire food groups is a fad. I was overweight for most part of my life, and what worked in my favour was following a balanced diet where I ate everything in moderation.”

He went from 140 kg to 80 kg in a matter of a year by following a strict diet and work-out regime.

Going cold turkey on white foods is not a great idea. What you must aim for, instead, is substituting them with healthy alternatives every once in a while.

“For example, if you like your rice for lunch, eat it by all means. But also be aware that there are beautiful, super nutritious varieties available today like red rice, black rice, even purple rice that have immense health benefits,” Sahni adds.

Red rice is said to have far more antioxidants from its white counterpart. It is also very rich in essential nutrients, iron, vitamin, phosphorus and fibre. Black rice, too, is rich in antioxidants and has several health benefits that boost eye and heart health, protect against certain forms of cancer, and aid in weight loss.

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The most uncommon of the lot, purple rice, perhaps packs the most amount of fibre, protein and iron.

Even for pastas and breads, there are several amazing varieties available today. “You can opt for ones that don’t use refined white flour, like those protein-packed whole wheat ones. I always customise the dish if the customer wants a healthier alternative,” he shares.

When it comes to breads, you can substitute refined flour breads with ones made with gluten-free millets such as finger millet (ragi), sorghum (jowar) and pearl millet (bajra).

“If I plan on opening an Indian restaurant in the future, along with the naans and the kulchas, I’m definitely going to have options for millet rotis. People are aware and conscious of what they eat even while they’re out, and I would like to try my best to have healthy alternatives on the menu,” Sahni concludes.

As far as processed foods such as chips and biscuits are concerned, yes, they should be avoided at all cost, but if you feel like treating yourself every once in a while, eating them in small quantities will do no harm.


Also Read: With Rs 600 & One Meal a Day, You Can Make Your Food Iron-Rich!   


(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)

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