White After Labor Day? You Bet!
The one thing that gets me through the long, cold winters in the North East is the thought of warm summer days at the Jersey Shore. Living miles from the ocean has its perks for sure; fresh seafood, sandy toes, local produce, and endless miles of beautiful landscape (weekend shore traffic need not apply!). One downside, the end of summer tends to hit us by the ocean a little harder than our landlocked friends.
Now that the Labor Day bell has rung, and summer has come to an official end, my heart begins to sink at the thought of colder days, the lack of ripe stone fruit, and packing up my summer duds for half the year. But before you put away all of your seasonal whites for good, stay tuned for a reason to do white after Labor Day.
White Fruits and Veggies
“Vary your veggies”, “eat the rainbow”, and “color your plate” have been preached by dietitians and health professionals alike for years. I don’t disagree; eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is essential to good health, but limiting neutral colored veggies (bananas, mushrooms, apples, potatoes, and onions to name a few) isn’t something I would recommend, either. White fruits and veggies tend to take a back seat to their brightly colored counterparts, but these nutritional powerhouses are full of reasons to indulge. Here are a few reasons to go white after Labor Day:
G is for Glucosinolates
Glucosinolates are sulfur containing compounds that are prominent in cruciferous vegetables such as kale, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and WHITE cauliflower, bok choy, and cabbage. Once ingested, glucosinolates are further broken down into indoles and isothiocyanates. Don’t get stuck on the pronunciation; just know these compounds have been shown to play a protective role against cancer in the body. If that’s not reason enough to eat your cauliflower, I don’t know what is!
Chow Down: Pulse raw cauliflower in the food processor until crumbled. Steam or sauté and use in place of rice in any dish.
Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant found in plants. Research has shown that diets rich in plant polyphenols may offer protection against cancers, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and neurodegenerative diseases. Although commonly thought to be abundant in darker produce such as berries, plums, and cherries, WHITE produce like apples, chicory, artichoke hearts, and onions are also high in these disease fighting antioxidants.
Chow Down: Autumn is the perfect time to take advantage of seasonal apples. Try these Cinnamon Apple Overnight Oats for a hearty back-to-school breakfast.
Garlic the Vampire Slayer
Move over, Buffy, garlic is the original Vampire Slayer.
Throughout time garlic has been used for its medicinal properties. Historically thought to treat conditions such as infection, respiratory disease, tumors and even asthma, today medical research has shown garlic to have a positive effect on blood pressure, cholesterol, immune function, and inflammation.
A member of the allium family, garlic gets it pungent aroma from a compound called allicin. Other WHITES such as onions, leeks and shallots are cut from the same cloth and share many of these health benefits.
Chow Down: Roasted garlic offers a sweeter, less pungent taste. Toss skin-on garlic cloves with oil and wrap in aluminum foil. Roast in a 350F oven for 25-35 minutes or until tender. Let cool, and squeeze the sweet cloves from their skin. Use in place of mayo on a sandwich for a surprising kick.
The Bottom Line
Although you may choose to swap your favorite white jeans for darker denim this fall, I hope you choose to incorporate more “whites” into your diet throughout the season.
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Written by Liz Canepari, MS, RD