All Posts By Toby Amidor

Nutrition Expert at FoodNetwork.com

6 Snacks That Are Healthier Than They Seem

by in Healthy Tips, August 16, 2013

popcorn

Some snacks have a bad reputation for being unhealthy—but I’m setting the record straight on these six foods.

#1: Popcorn
Popcorn originally gained a bad reputation thanks to movie theaters frying popcorn in coconut oil and folks drowning it under buckets of artery-clogging butter. But corn is a whole grain and, when air-popped, it contains about 30 calories per cup along with 5% of the recommended daily dose of fiber. Sprinkle with a touch of sea salt or a drizzle of olive oil, and you’ve got a smart snack. (For added flavor, try Ellie’s Parmesan-Paprika Popcorn, above, from Food Network Magazine.)

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Eggs: Myths vs. Facts

by in Healthy Tips, August 12, 2013

eggs

There are so many misconceptions swirling around eggs. I hear egg chatter in crowded elevators or at dinner parties—folks so proud about tossing that golden yolk. The next time you find yourself in the midst of an egg conversation, pipe in with these egg-cellent facts.

Myth: Always toss the yolks (it’s egg white omelets or nothing!).
Fact: To get the scoop on this longtime myth, I spoke with dietitian Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, author of MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better and consultant for Eggland’s Best. Ward says, “It is the fat and cholesterol that scares people most about egg yolks, but I think most folks would be surprised to learn that most of the fat in eggs is unsaturated, or the heart-healthy kind. In addition, eggs are surprisingly low in saturated fat. As you know, saturated fat raises blood cholesterol levels with more force than does cholesterol.”

In addition, “egg yolks have nearly half the protein of an entire egg, plus all the vitamins and minerals and omega 3s, ” Ward says. “Eggs pack in good nutrition for about 70 calories each.”

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9 Surprising Smoothie Add-Ins

by in Healthy Recipes, August 9, 2013

green smoothies

Beyond the usual fruits, juices or milk, a variety of ingredients can be blended into a smoothie. At breakfast, I try and surprise my kids with new smoothie flavors and play the “guess what’s in it” game. We end up having fun each time.

Here are nine additions worth giving a try.

#1: Oats
Made without using a blender, this smoothie combines cooked old-fashioned oats with milk, sugar and vanilla extract. It’s one technique you can use when adding oatmeal to your smoothie.

Recipe: Old Fashioned Avena Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie

#2: Spinach
In Melissa D’Arabian’s Green Morning Smoothie, uncooked oats are blended with vanilla almond milk to rehydrate them. The peaches and bananas add sweetness, while nutrient-packed spinach adds the gorgeous green hue.

Recipe: Green Morning Smoothie (above)

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10 Stepped-Up Cucumber Salads

by in Healthy Recipes, August 6, 2013

smashed cucumber salad

It’s the time of year when cucumber season is in full swing! There are so many ways to dress up salads made with this cool summer vegetable. Here are delicious ideas to add to your recipe box.

Getting Creative
Traditional cucumber salads are made with a vinegar-based dressing, like in my 5-ingredient version. I’m proud to say that it’s always requested at my annual family Labor Day barbecue. Without an overwhelming dose of oil, calories can stay pretty low per serving.

To get creative, you can opt for a yogurt-based dressing or a touch of mayo. Spice it up with freshly chopped chile peppers, crushed red pepper flakes, toasted cumin seeds, or sesame seeds. Or add fresh herbs, like dill or mint. Try sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix in flavorful fruit like lychee, mango, dates, orange or avocado or opt for veggie add-ins like watercress, red onion, or snap peas.

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12 No-Cook Breakfasts

by in Healthy Recipes, No-Cook Choices, August 2, 2013

honeydew smoothie
In the sweltering days of summer, the last thing I want to do is cook anything over a hot stove. It’s the perfect time for those easy breakfasts where no heat is required.

Smoothies
It’s as simple as placing your ingredients in a blender and pushing a button. The only caveat is to watch portions so you don’t go overboard on calories.

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5 Food Safety Rules You’re Breaking (Without Knowing It)

by in Food Safety, August 1, 2013

cutting board

Skipping out on simple food safety rules may have bigger consequences than you think. Beyond resulting in a belly ache, it can have more serious outcomes for those with weaker immune systems, like young kids, pregnant women and older adults. Here are 5 food safety guidelines that most people forgo because they are busy, forget or just don’t know any better.

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Diet 101: The Fast Diet

by in Diets & Weight Loss, July 30, 2013

cottage cheese

This diet became all the rage after it aired on the BBC during the 2012 London Olympics, and The Fast Diet book has become a best-seller. But is frequent fasting the healthiest way to lose weight, stay healthy and live longer?

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How Often Should You Eat?

by in Diets & Weight Loss, July 29, 2013

clock
Many experts recommend eating small meals frequently throughout the day. However, a new school of thought has emerged that recommends eating larger, less frequent meals. So how often should you be eating?

Eating Smaller, Frequent Meals
The Theory: Nutrition experts tend to recommend eating 3 balanced meals (350 to 600 calories each) and 1 to 3 snacks per day (between 150 and 200 calories each). The calories for each meal and snack depend on a variety of factors including, height, weight, age, gender and activity level. The philosophy is to make sure you don’t go longer than 5 hours or so without eating. After going without food for a prolonged period of time, folks tend to become ravenous and their decision-making skills plummet. They end up choosing any food they can find, including fast food or high-calorie treats.

Pros: Having a small, healthy snack between meals (like cut veggies and hummus or half a PB&J on whole-wheat bread) can curb hunger until the next meal and enable people to make sensible food choices.

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7 Summer Foods That Sound Healthier Than They Are

by in Healthy Tips, July 26, 2013

beer
The hot weather brings with it a bounty of delicious, seasonal foods that may seem healthy but are anything but. Be in-the-know and avoid some of these health-halo booby traps.

#1: Light Beer
I love kicking back with a light beer on a hot summer day. But if you’re guzzling 4 or 5 beers—the calories will quickly overflow. If you want to booze it up, the USDA’s recommendations are 1 beer per day for women and two for men. (And no, you can’t save all your drinks for a Saturday night.)

#2: Fro-Yo
Although they may start out at a reasonable amount of calories (about 100 to 140 per half cup), many people eat WAY more. And when you add toppers like crushed cookies, syrups and other goodies, you sabotage a perfectly calorie-friendly treat. Keep a mindful watch on portions (especially from fro-yo machines) and go light on the toppings.

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