All Posts By Toby Amidor

Nutrition Expert at FoodNetwork.com

Forget the Diet! Make These 7 Small Changes Instead

by in Diets & Weight Loss, Healthy Tips, January 6, 2017

Two of the most common New Year’s resolutions are to lose weight and get healthier. In order to achieve these goals, many folks jump on the fad diet bandwagon. But many of these diets require complete elimination of certain food groups, have you eating close to nothing or recommend a boatload of supplements that empty your wallet. Instead of looking for quick results that will probably not last long, make these small changes instead. Make these small changes for at least 6 months, and they can become lifelong healthy habits.

Measure Ingredients

Large portions are one way folks overconsume calories. This is especially true with certain high calorie foods, including nuts, salad dressing, oil, peanut butter, granola, rice, pasta and juice. Although all these foods can be part of a healthy weight loss plan, eating controlled portions will help keep calories in check.

Eat At Least 2 Whole Grains per Day

The 2015 dietary guidelines for Americans recommend getting half your grain intake from whole grains. If you’re not used to eating any whole grains, start with two serving per day. For example, make your sandwich with 100% whole wheat bread, or swap your pasta from traditional white to whole wheat. Read more

9 Nutritionists Share Their New Year’s Resolutions

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, Healthy Holidays, January 5, 2017

One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight and eat healthier. So what about nutritionists whose expertise is to eat healthy? I was curious to find out what type of resolutions they make.  I asked 9 registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) across the country to share their 2017 New Year’s resolutions, and it turns out even the food experts can always improve their healthy lifestyle in a variety of ways.

Preparing more meals at home

“While I eat healthy, nutritious meals and work out regularly, I often am so busy I don’t plan  evening meals for my family. Then we end up going out or picking something up to eat at home. I need to do what I advise others: create menus on the weekend, make a grocery list and go shopping so all the ingredients you need are right there ready to go. It doesn’t have to be something long and involved. It can be simple, fresh, nutritious and taste good!”

Neva Cochran, MS, RDN, LD, Dallas-based nutrition communications consultant

Separate screen time and meal time

“My #1 goal in eating is to be mindful and savor my food. In general, I do well, especially since I do not own a television. However, when I eat alone or eat out while traveling, I tend to use my phone or laptop at the table. As such, I plan to make desktop reminders for all my screens, encouraging me to put the screen away and focus on the deliciousness of my food.”

–Dayle Hayes, MS, RD, President, Nutrition for the Future, and Social Media Guru at School Meals That Rock. Read more

3 Ways to Be Mindful in the Kitchen

by in Healthy Tips, December 31, 2016

The kitchen can be a very stressful place, especially when things get busy. Weeknights in particular can get hectic with running errands, completing homework and cooking a healthy dinner. Here are three ways you can be more mindful in the kitchen to help alleviate some stress.

  1. Create calm out of chaos.

Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN, author of Body Kindness, recommends the following technique to help make rational choices in the kitchen: “First take a very deep breath and exhale to a slow count of 10. This simple exercise tells your body to relax and helps you make rational choices like actually cooking your meal instead of eating it cold from the fridge! (I know I’m not the only one.) Then do one quick thing that makes you happy. I like to play soothing or energizing music, depending on my mood. Even if you’re not excited to prepare your meal, find a benefit that does excite you — like ‘I’m happy to save money and take care of my body by cooking at home’ — and let that be your motivation to heat up the kitchen.”

  1. Cook simple and relax.

Instead of making your life difficult and more stressful, choose cooking methods that are simple with few ingredients. For example, use a dry rub or marinade for meat and poultry, then place the protein right in the oven or grill to cook. When your food is cooking, take a few minutes to sit in a chair, relax and enjoy the delicious smell of the food you’re about to eat. Read more

Host A Family-Friendly New Year’s Eve

by in Healthy Holidays, Uncategorized, December 26, 2016

Ever try getting a babysitter on New Year’s Eve? I would rather save the dough and spend the special night in with my kiddos. To keep my kid’s happy, I’ll invite friends and family and their youngsters to join in on the celebration. As a host, this means planning a menu that’s kid and adult friendly — plus some entertainment for the kids so the grownups can relax. Check out these family-friendly dishes that will make everyone happy!

Family-Friendly Bites

Shrimp-Pineapple Skewers

Prosciutto-Wrapped Crudité

Healthy Mozzarella Sticks

Crisp Crab Cakes

Mini Meatballs Read more

The Healthiest Fast-Food Options When You’re On the Road

by in Healthy Tips, December 22, 2016

Whether you’re heading to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for the holidays or are planning a family vacation, if a road trip is in your future, you’ll probably need to stop along the way for a quick bite to eat. The good news is that healthy fast-food options are popping up around the country. Here’s what to look for when you stop to eat, and the top five meal choices from joints around the country.

Guidelines for Ordering Healthy

Here are five things to keep in mind when stopping on the road to grab a meal:

  • Calories matter: Make sure meals don’t top around 550 calories each, including side dishes and dessert.
  • Choose lean protein: Whatever you choose should have at least 15 grams of protein per serving. Protein takes longer to digest, which will keep you fuller longer.
  • Steer clear of fried fare: Fried food like french fries and fried chicken can weigh you down and even give you some uncomfortable tummy troubles.
  • Look for veggies: Most Americans don’t get their daily recommended dose of veggies. More fast-food joints do offer veggie-filled meals and sides now, so keep your eyes peeled for them.
  • Opt for calorie-free drinks: Choose beverages without added sugar, like water, seltzer, plain coffee with a splash of milk, or unsweetened iced tea.

Read more

The 7 Worst Calorie Offenders at Your Christmas Table

by in Healthy Holidays, December 21, 2016

The holidays are flowing with food and drink, but Christmas dinner is the ultimate over-the-top meal of the season. Although you should enjoy delicious food at your Christmas feast, you don’t need to feel bloated and have indigestion at the end of the night. Certain dishes, however, rack up the calories more than others. Here are the seven worst calorie offenders at the Christmas table.

  1. Eggnog

One cup of eggnog on average contains 340 calories, 21 grams of sugar and 56 percent of the daily recommended maximum of artery-clogging saturated fat. If you’re a heavy cream fan, know that it adds 50 extra calories per tablespoon. If you like your eggnog spiked, add about 150 calories per 1 1/2 fluid ounces. When all is said and done, you’re talking more like over 500 calories a drink.

Instead try: Food Network Kitchen’s Low-Fat Eggnog

  1. Prime Rib

Ribs just scream calories, with one serving of prime rib (about six to eight ribs) providing over 1,600 calories. Many folks can easily down six ribs, but let’s not forget the additional calories that will be consumed from the rest of the food on the table.

Instead try: Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Pepper and Black Olive Sauce Read more

Hanukkah Un-fried

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, December 17, 2016

Greasy latkes and jelly-filled doughnuts top the list of traditional foods eaten during the festival of lights. But after you’ve eaten these fried goodies for eight straight days, it starts to take a toll on your waistline. Instead, you can enjoy these traditional Hanukkah foods without all that oil-frying.

Latkes

Also known as potato pancakes, these babies can be baked instead of fried. They can also be pan-fried in a few tablespoons of oil to give them crispiness, and then finished in the oven. Or, shake things up by using sweet potatoes or a combo of shredded parsnips, carrots or zucchini and potatoes. Here are two latke recipes to try, plus a few homemade applesauce recipes for dunking: Read more

Healthy Hanukkah Appetizers and Desserts

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, December 14, 2016

The Jewish festival of lights is filled with potato pancakes, jelly doughnuts and chocolate. Instead of making it a holiday celebration of calories, offer a variety of eye-appealing, delicious foods that friends and family will enjoy —including a lighter take on the traditional doughnut. Read more

Trend Alert: Foods with Moringa

by in Food News, Trends, December 4, 2016

Commonly seen as a supplement, moringa (botanical name: moringa oleifera) is now being added to foods. Find out where you can find these foods, and whether they’re worth the money.

About Moringa

Moringa is a plant native to the sub-Himalayan areas of Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The plant can withstand both terrible drought and also mild frost, which means it can grow in a wide variety of areas throughout the world. You could consider it a “super plant” because it can withstand such harsh weather conditions.

The Nutrition

The entire plant, including the leaves, bark, flowers, fruit, seeds and root, contains a plethora of nutrients, which is why moringa has become such a popular supplement.  The leaves, which can be eaten fresh or dried, contain minerals like calcium, zinc, potassium, magnesium, iron and copper. The plant also contains vitamin A, numerous B vitamins, and vitamins C, D and E, along with protein and healthy fat. The plant also provides numerous plant chemicals that help fight and prevent disease, such as flavonoids and saponins.

Although advocates claim that moringa can help conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, a 2012 review paper published in Frontiers in Pharmacology determined that there isn’t enough scientific research and data to show how much moringa is safe to take and what the side effects of consuming it are. Read more

The New World of Lean Meats

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, December 3, 2016

If you’re trying to eat healthy and select lean proteins, facing the meat case may be overwhelming. You can now find more cuts of meat and poultry than ever before, and knowing how to cook them can get confusing. Here’s a low-down on how to make sense of the meat and poultry case.

Defining “Lean”
The 2015 dietary guidelines for Americans recommended choosing lean protein. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration food labeling criteria, to be labeled as “lean,” the cut of meat must be less than 10 percent fat by weight, or it must contain less than 10 grams of fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol and a maximum of 4.5 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams. “Extra lean” contains less than 5 grams of total fat, less than 2 grams of saturated fat and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 100 grams.

All of the following proteins are “complete,” meaning they provide all nine essential amino acids that your body needs. However, portion control is of upmost importance. Aim for 3- to 4-ounce portions and serve with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low or nonfat dairy for a well-balanced and varied diet. Read more

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