All Posts By Toby Amidor

Nutrition Expert at FoodNetwork.com

Grilled Meat: Good or Bad?

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, Food Safety, July 26, 2016

Summer is all about grilling, but many folks are concerned about firing up red meats such as beef and lamb. Here’s the low-down on grilling meat.

The Good
Grilling is a quick and easy way to whip up a weeknight dinner or entertain friends and family. There are many lean cuts of meat that are easy to grill, including lamb tenderloin, strip steak, flank and rib eye. Nutritionally, red meats like beef and lamb are packed with protein, iron, zinc, and B vitamins such as niacin, vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12.

Marinating meat before grilling helps tenderize and add flavor. Studies have also shown that marinades with little or no sugar also help protect meat from charring and have been shown to reduce heterocyclic aromatic amine (HAA) formation — compounds that have been linked to cancer. Read more

Order This, Not That: Smashburger

by in Dining Out, July 25, 2016

Photo: SmashBurger/Instagram

This chain has been popping up throughout the country. The restaurant offers 100 percent all-natural certified Angus beef and vegetarian options, and gluten-free buns are available upon request. However, as with many quick-serve joints, there are not-so-healthy and better-for-you menu options to choose from. Find out what you should order and what you should skip the next time you stop in for a Smashburger.

Read more

3 Creative Ideas for Grilled Fruit

by in Healthy Recipes, July 19, 2016

Meat, fish, chicken and vegetables aren’t the only foods you can toss on the grill. Fruits like pineapple, strawberries and even watermelon are becoming more popular to fire up too. Here are three fun combinations you can try the next time you’re barbecuing.

Berries
Unless you have a grill basket, berries are easiest to grill when threaded on skewers. Here are the basic steps to follow for killer berry kebabs:

1) Choose your berry: Strawberries are largest and easiest to work with, but you can skewer blueberries and blackberries too.

2) Brush with a sweet flavor: Combine maple or agave syrup with lemon zest and a touch of a neutral oil (like canola or safflower), and brush on the threaded berries.

3) Select an herb: Complement the flavor of berries with mint, basil or lavender. Chop the herb and sprinkle it over your skewers before serving.

4) Grill over a low flame: Berries burn easily, so be sure to grill them over low heat.
Recipe to try: Grilled Strawberry Kebabs with Lemon-Mint Sauce (pictured above) Read more

9 Foods Nutrition Experts Are Embarrassed to Have in Their Pantry

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, July 10, 2016

Even nutrition experts have foods they’re embarrassed about stashed in their pantry! I asked specialists around the country which secret foods they have in their house — you’ll be surprised at what they had to say.

Sugar-Sweetened Cereal
“[When I was] growing up my parents didn’t buy the high-sugar cereal, and I always wanted it. My best friend always had Fruity Pebbles at his house, and I loved going over there just to get to eat them. Now as an adult I still really like them and keep them in my pantry for late-night dessert. I always feel guilty buying them, but I absolutely love eating them.”

— Wesley Delbridge, R.D., Food & Nutrition Director for the Chandler Unified School District in Arizona

Boxed Muffin Mix
“Although I truly love baking mostly from scratch, every once in a while I’ll find a boxed bread or muffin mix at Trader Joe’s that I get excited about trying. I don’t use baking mixes very regularly, but with how quickly they come together, I completely understand the appeal!”

McKenzie Hall Jones, RDN, of Nourish RDs Read more

4 Things You Should Never Do When Detoxing

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, July 5, 2016

If you’re considering a detox plan to give your body a reboot, reading these four common misconceptions may make you rethink the hype.

Mistake #1: Following a Juice-Only Detox Plan
Your body requires more than just nutrients from juice during the detoxification process. According to Danielle Omar, M.S., RDN, integrative dietitian at Food Confidence, “juice alone can deprive the body of protein, healthy fats and adequate calories to function optimally. Protein is necessary to help carry toxins through the body for elimination, and fats are needed to absorb fat-soluble vitamins.” Another reason that it’s important to take in fats and proteins during the detox process is that they take longer to digest and will help stabilize your blood sugar, keeping you satisfied between meals.

Mistake #2: Believing the Hype
According to Samantha Heller, M.S., R.D., author of The Only Cleanse and host of Samantha Heller’s Health & Nutrition Show on SiriusXM Doctor Radio, says, “Teas, enemas, magnetic foot pads, fasting or juicing protocols, potions or tonics that claim they can ‘detox’ or ‘cleanse’ your body are a bunch of hooey. What they do is cleanse your wallet!” Read more

Coleslaw: Is It Healthy?

by in Is It Healthy?, July 4, 2016

Yes
According to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 90 percent of adults do not consume the daily recommended dose of vegetables. The veggies from coleslaw can count toward your recommended daily amount. Further, you don’t have to drown your coleslaw in mayo. In my cookbook, The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day, I explain how you can use a 50:50 ratio of reduced-fat mayo to nonfat plain Greek yogurt to get the flavor you love for a fraction of the calories. Or instead of using a half-cup to one cup of mayo, you can use a quarter-cup.

Coleslaw can also go beyond cabbage, so don’t be afraid to think outside the coleslaw box and use shredded veggies like carrots, kohlrabi, radishes or cucumbers as the base for your slaw. You can also make a slimmed-down slaw like those in the recipes below:

Coleslaw with Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette
Bobby Flay uses lime juice, olive oil, garlic and cumin as a lighter dressing.

Classic Coleslaw with Caraway
Ellie Krieger uses a combo of yogurt and low-fat mayo for 110 calories and 7 grams of fat per serving.

Asian Red Cabbage Slaw with Peanuts
The chefs in Food Network Kitchen give their coleslaw an Asian flair for less than 120 calories per serving by using toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, spicy mustard and grated ginger. Read more

Picnic Salads, Lightened Up

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, Healthy Recipes, June 29, 2016

Side salads are the opportunity to add lots of veggies, fruits and whole grains to your barbecue fare. However, many traditional side salads are drowning in mayo or oily dressings. Below are quick tricks to lighten up your favorite picnic salads, along with recipes you can try.

Potato Salad

Pick up this classic summer side at your supermarket and each serving may contain more than 300 calories and 20 grams of fat. Many homemade versions call for at least one cup of mayo — with 920 calories and 80 grams per cup. And although potatoes are filled with potassium and other good-for-you nutrients, cooked spuds still contain 65 calories per half-cup.

To lighten:
• Swap out some of the potatoes for nonstarchy veggies like parsnips or cauliflower.
• Bulk up the salad with tomatoes, celery, peas, carrots and bell peppers for a variety of vitamins and nutrients.
• Sub in a flavorful vinaigrette or pesto sauce for some of the mayo.

Recipes to try:
Pesto Potato Salad
Sweet Potato Salad
Quinoa and Purple Potato Salad Read more

Order This, Not That: Chick-fil-A

by in Dining Out, June 28, 2016

This super-popular chain opened in 1946 and has grown to become one of the largest quick-service chicken restaurant chains in the United States. Chick-fil-A currently has over 2,000 locations in 43 states, and its sales in 2015 exceeded $6 billion. However, before you think ordering fast-food chicken is healthier than other options, check out the calorie and sodium bombs you may be eating. Read more

Have You Tried Kaniwa?

by in Have You Tried, June 20, 2016

This high-protein cousin of quinoa is native to Peru and Bolivia. It’s gluten-free, with a nutty and slightly sweet flavor. Check out its superfood qualities and learn where you can get your hands on some.

 

Nutrition Info

Kaniwa (pronounced ka-nyi-wa) is actually a seed, though nutritionally it’s categorized as a whole grain. It’s a good source of protein, with one serving providing 15 to 19 percent of the daily recommended amount. It is also loaded with dietary fiber, antioxidants and phytochemicals. According to Manuel Villacorta, M.S., R.D., author and founder of Whole Body Reboot, “Kaniwa is composed of flavonoids, which are antioxidants that have been proven to prevent cardiovascular disease, inhibit the growth of certain bacteria and viruses, reduces the risk of anti-inflammatory disease, and has anti-aging benefits.” Read more

Healthy Kids’ Snacks for Summer

by in Food and Nutrition Experts, June 13, 2016

If you think all kids are looking to devour only junk food, think again! A National Mango Board snacking study, conducted in September 2015, surveyed 501 U.S. parents with children between the ages of 3 and 11, using Research Now’s online consumer panel; the results showed that 41 percent of children ask for fresh fruit more frequently than other snacks. So the next time your little one requests a snack, choose one of these healthy options.

Snack Versus Treat
Snacks are mini meals that should be provided if there is a long stretch of time between meals (about five hours). Snacks are a perfect opportunity for your child to take in the nutrients they need to help them grow and develop, including iron, protein, calcium and vitamin D. Treats, on the other hand, are non-nutritious foods — such as cookies and chips — that do not provide nutrients and should be consumed only once in a while. Read more

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