Getting to Know Us: Dana White

by in Uncategorized, January 13, 2009

Some folks have been asking to know more about the voices of Healthy Eats. You can see Dana and Toby’s official credentials here, but for a glimpse into their food lives and loves, they’ve filled out a fun quiz.

First up, Dana Angelo White, dietitian and fitness extraordinaire…

You’re stranded on a desert island. What five food items do you hope are on hand?
In no particular order:
• Lemons – the juice and zest are perfect for so many things
• Brown Rice Pasta – a delicious whole grain pasta, I eat it at least once a week
• Natural peanut butter – all I want in my peanut butter is peanuts and salt, so delicious!
• Nectarines – a fruit I could never get sick of
• Any green vegetable – I eat what ever is in season so I would take whatever I could get

What’s your guiltiest indulgence?
Ice cream – I paid my way through private school and college working at Ashley’s Ice Cream in Connecticut. The most amazing homemade ice cream on the planet! I never make a trip to my hometown without picking some up.

What dish do you love to cook?
Stir-fry gets made quite often in our house. It’s so quick, easy and delicious. Sometimes with shrimp, sometimes with roasted tofu and whatever vegetables I have in the fridge.

What food do you always bring to a potluck party?
Ina Garten’s Szechuan Noodles

What recipe does everyone always ask you for?
My banana chocolate chip muffins. Made with soy milk, bananas, apple butter, maple syrup and just the right amount of chocolate chips, they are so yummy and good for you.

If you could have dinner with three people (from the past or present), who would they be?
1. Michael Pollan
2. Julia Child
3. Peyton Manning (quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts)

What’s one food you just can’t stand?
Processed meats – bologna, SPAM, olive loaf – yuck!

What ice cream flavor would you be?
Banana Oreo – a favorite creation from my ice cream-making days

What’s your favorite kitchen gadget or appliance?
Gadget = a microplane – perfect for grating citrus zest, cheese, garlic, nutmeg or chocolate
Appliance = a good food processor – they can chop, slice, puree. You can make everything from pesto to coleslaw to pie dough.

Favorite fruit: a three-way tie between nectarines, blood oranges and tomatoes (yes, tomatoes are a fruit)
Favorite veggie: Sweet potatoes – roasted with olive oil salt and pepper
Favorite kid-friendly dish: Mac & cheese – enough said
Favorite cookbook: The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. This is the first of six by Ina Garten; they are all amazing, but if I had to pick one, this would be it.

Mexican or Italian?
It’s a tough call and my grandparent’s Italian cooking is hard to beat. But…. I would have to go with Mexican. I love cooking fresh Mexican food, lots of chilies and avocado. Fish tacos with guacamole and a margarita can’t be beat!

PB&J sandwich or grilled cheese?
PB&J – HUGE FAN! I love it for a meal or a snack. Natural peanut butter, whole wheat bread and any flavor natural fruit spread – it’s the perfect food.

You get one food-related wish – what would it be?
To have California produce on the East Coast where I live.

[Ed. Note: the picture above is Dana at a California vineyard; she says, “I look at these in the winter and get happy immediately.”]

Learn more about Healthy Eats’ other expert, Toby Amidor »

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Comments (43)

  1. Dan Zahra says:

    I have a healthy Chili recipe,

    DannyZ’s Turkey Pumpkin Chili

    A wonderfully warming chili that comes on full flavor and finishes with a nice bit of heat.
    A healthy alternative.

    1 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
    1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
    1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
    1 jalapeño pepper diced small
    1 clove of garlic, minced
    3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
    1 lb. ground turkey
    2 cups pumpkin puree
    1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
    2 15oz cans black beans (juice drained from 1)
    2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
    1/2 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
    1 dash kosher salt
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    1/2 cup shredded low fat cheddar cheese
    1/2 cup no fat sour cream

    Heat the oil in a large Pot over medium heat and sauté the onion for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the green & yellow bell peppers along with the jalapeño & garlic. Cook until tender.
    Add the turkey and stir, cooking until evenly browned. Drain the fat off. Return to the fire and add, tomatoes, pumpkin & black beans (remember to drain the liquid from one of the cans of black beans).
    Season with chili powder, chipotle chili powder, pepper & salt. Reduce heat to simmer for about 30 minutes stirring every 5 to 8 minutes. Serve topped with cheese a daub of sour cream. Garnish with a sprinkle of cilantro.

  2. Kristine Brabson says:

    Kristen, you might want to check out Dana’s post on lightening up chili. She has some great ideas there and lists some Healthy Eats-approved recipes.

  3. Dana White says:

    Here is my new recipe for Vegetarian Chili

    Vegetarian Chili

    (serves: 6)

    — Ingredients:
    1 Tbsp olive oil
    ½ cup chopped red onion
    ½ cup chopped red bell pepper
    1 finely chopped jalapeno pepper (optional)
    ½ cup chopped celery
    ¼ tsp kosher salt
    1 clove minced garlic
    1 tsp ground cumin
    ½ cup vegetable broth or water
    1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
    1 cup light beer
    2, 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
    1, 15 oz can tomato sauce
    ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
    3 Tbsp chili powder
    ½ tsp celery salt
    2 tsp dried tarragon
    1, 15 oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
    1, 15 oz can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
    1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
    ¾ cup frozen corn kernels
    1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed

    Suggested garnishes: Low fat Greek yogurt, crushed tortilla chips, chopped scallion, diced avocado, hot sauce

    — Directions:
    1. Heat oil in large pot or dutch oven over medium heat.
    2. Sauté onion, peppers and celery for 3-5 minutes until tender, season with salt.
    3. Add garlic and cumin, cook for 1 minute – stirring gently to toast cumin.
    4. Stir in vegetable broth, Worcestershire, beer, crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce.
    5. Add cayenne, chili powder, celery salt and tarragon.
    6. Stir in beans – taste to adjust seasoning (add more salt or chili powder, if desired).
    7. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    8. Add corn and sweet potato, cook for an additional 15 minutes or until sweet potato is tender.

    Nutrition Information (per serving):
    Calories: 312; Total Fat: 4 g; Saturated Fat: 0.5 g; Carbohydrate: 56 g; Protein: 14 g; Fiber: 15g

    Note: This chili freezes beautifully

  4. Dan Zahra says:

    Hi Dana,
    This may be a bit off point in this forum but I did not know where to post general questions. I have searched high & low for some solid information on cholesterol. My doctor say’s “cut back eat more fish. Try to eat more of a Mediterranean style diet.” But when I check on cholesterol content in the fish I like, it can be pretty high. I know there is “good” & “bad” cholesterol, but can it be broken down like that before consumption? Example: Crab, Lobster, Tuna, all high in cholesterol. Can you provide any guidance on the best practices as far as which fish is better for the cardiovascular system?

  5. Dana White says:

    Hi Dan –
    There’s some great info about cholesterol in Toby’s recent post about eggs.
    When it comes to seafood, the healthy omega-3 fats found in fish can help lower cholesterol (stay tuned for an article I wrote on omega-3s coming soon). In the meantime, check out this post about crab and you will also find links to posts on shrimp and tilapia.

  6. Kimberly says:

    I was just wondering if you could give some advice for someone wanting to get into the same line of work as you. I have been VERY intrigued with a career change into Culinary Nutrition, and found that not many schools offer a MS in that. I already have a BA, yet would like to learn Nutrition Science and bridge that into culinary works – being creative and insightful in nutritious food production & education. Where did you receive your cooking skills (any schooling?), and could you recommend any schools or programs that might be good options for me?… Thanks! Love your blog!

  7. Dana White says:

    Hi Kimberly
    Thanks for your comment! A career in culinary nutrition is the combination of an education in dietetics, certification as a registered dietitian (RD), along with culinary training and a love of food. There are many RDs out there that have gone to culinary school. I don’t have a culinary degree, but have spent several years getting culinary training (and lots of practice at home). I would recommend considering a masters program in nutrition that offers a dietetic internship and getting your feet wet with some culinary classes – many culinary schools and specialty food stores offer great classes on a variety of topics. You can get more info about a career as a RD from the ADA’s Eat Right website (click from our Delicious Destinations). It’s a lot of work but so rewarding, I really love what I do. Hope this helps – good luck!

  8. susan says:

    Dear Dana,
    I made you oatmeal peanut bars this morning. I found them way too sweet. Is there a way to cut down on the extra sugar out losing the nice taste and texture?
    Thanks, I really like your videos.

  9. LAREE FRANK says:

    What’s the difference between organic farming and conventional farming?
    Dairy farmers across the country are committed to producing high-quality milk and maintaining proper animal care and environmental practices on their farms. Conventional dairy producers use best management practices to ensure that dairy cows are healthy by providing them with comfortable living conditions, nutritious diets and good medical care. Organic dairy foods must additionally meet the requirements of USDA’s National Organic Program. This includes using only organic fertilizers and pesticides, and not using rbST. Dairy foods can be labeled “USDA Organic” only if all of the additional criteria are met.

  10. Dana White says:

    Hi Susan – Thanks for your comment. I suggest cutting back slightly on the dried fruit and honey – and make sure that the peanut butter you are using does not contain any added sweeteners.

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