All Posts By Toby Amidor

Nutrition Expert at FoodNetwork.com

Herb of the Month: Sorrel

by in In Season, May 17, 2013

sorrel
This spinach-like, tart herb is now in season. Pick up a bunch and get cooking!

Sorrel Basics
Although commonly defined as an herb, sorrel is part of the buckwheat family. It was used by the Greeks and Romans to help digestion. It was also wrapped around meat to help tenderize it. During the Middle Ages, before citrus fruit was brought to Europe, folks used this green herb to add a sour punch to dishes. Once citrus fruit reached Europe, poor sorrel was cast aside. Only recently has this citrus-flavored herb been gaining popularity.

Its tart flavor and tenderizing capabilities come from a compound called oxalic acid, which can also be found in spinach and black tea.

Your best bet is checking your local farmer’s market for sorrel starting in mid-May. Its leaves can either be shaped like a shield or rounded. The color can range from pale to dark green and range from 2 to 12-inches in length. Keep your eyes peeled though, sometimes the young leaves are tossed together with the salad greens. As the herb ages, the acidic flavor becomes stronger.

Varieties also vary in sourness with Garden and Belleville being the strongest flavored, while Dock sorrel is one of the mildest varieties.

Read more

Hot Trend: Artisan Cocktails

by in Dining Out, May 16, 2013

cocktail
Rum and coke is a thing of the past. Instead, you’ll find bars offering up a menu of exotic cocktails created from high-quality booze and fresh ingredients. I had the opportunity to speak with the bar manager Sarah Boisjoli from Beauty and Essex — one of the trendiest bars in New York City, known for their high superb cocktail menu — about hot cocktail trends you’ll see this year.

Q. The term “mixologist” is now being used instead of “bartender.” Is there a difference between the two?

There is a difference. A mixologist develops the recipes while the bartender mixes and serves them. In order to develop a cocktail, we work as a team and put much thought and time into perfecting it using the freshest and highest quality ingredients.

Q. What are some of the infusions that you offer on your cocktail menu?

Many of our drinks are creating by infusing flavors. For example in the Sapphire Seventy-Five Bombay Sapphire is infused with blueberry-brown sugar and in the La Miel we infuse a local Brooklyn gin with vanilla.

Q. How can folks at home infuse their own cocktails?
A great combo is Woodford bourbon infused with cinnamon. Put cinnamon sticks into the bourbon and let it hang out for a few days or weeks (the longer it hangs out, the stronger the flavor). Strain it out and you have delicious cinnamon-infused bourbon.

Read more

How All-Star Moms Talk to Their Kids About Food and Nutrition

by in Kid-Friendly, May 12, 2013

family dinner at table
Ever wonder how moms like The First Lady, celebrity chefs and renowned nutrition experts speak to their children about healthy eating? Find out how four amazing women talk to their kids about food, weight and body image.

Q. How you talk to your daughters about a healthy weight and how do you recommend parents talk their kids about healthy weight?

Michelle Obama: I don’t talk about weight at all. I talk about healthy choices. When I talk about exercise I don’t talk about exercise in terms of you have to look good. Exercise is about competition; it’s about learning a new sport; it’s about being introduced to something interesting; it’s about learning about how to compete and why competition is important. We talk in those terms.

When we talk at the dinner table we talk about eating a balanced meal, not because of how you look but because of what your body needs.

Now that [the girls] are getting older they’re starting to conversations [about weight] in their community, so it’s not coming from us, it’s coming from the outside. But I always shift them back to health and tell them the best way to never have to worry about what you look like is just to get good food in your body.

It’s all about balance. It’s not about never having birthday cake, or going out to lunch and not having a burger. I don’t even want them to think about that. I don’t want them to obsess about food. I just want them to live their lives.

So if they’re doing a sport, if they stay active, if they’re eating vegetables most meals and not overeating, if we treat foods as treats — so the weekend I’ll tell them you can have one breakfast that’s a splurge breakfast, just once a week — because you just don’t need to have pancakes and sweet rolls — at the White House, you walk in and it’s like pancakes and a sweet roll and a biscuit — (laughter.) it’s like, who’s idea was this?

Read more

Cooking With Kids: Mother’s Day Breakfast

by in Healthy Holidays, Kid-Friendly, May 9, 2013

lemon pancakes
My kids always want to prepare a very special breakfast for me on Mother’s Day. But guess who ends up doing most of the cooking AND cleaning? (hint: me!) Instead of getting upset at the thought of extra chores, I take this opportunity to bond with my kiddos while we whip up delicious memories together in the kitchen.

The Menu
A few days before Mother’s Day, my kids and I plan out the menu and hit the market so we’re fully stocked and ready to cook. Here are some mouthwatering Mother’s Day breakfast picks, complete with tasks your kids can do.

Recipe: Lemon Blueberry Pancakes (pictured above)

Kid-Friendly Tasks:

  • Gathering ingredients
  • Measuring ingredients
  • Washing the blueberries
  • Cracking the egg
  • Stirring ingredients

Read more

How Many Vegetables Should You Eat?

by in Healthy Tips, May 8, 2013

carrots
Most folks don’t get enough of the recommended dietary servings of veggies and miss out on the health benefits—like a lower risk of heart disease, possible reduction in blood pressure, and protection against certain types of cancer. Understanding how much counts as one serving can help you plan your meals to meet the recommendations.

The Recommendations
According to USDA’s My Plate 100% vegetable juice, dark green vegetables (broccoli and mustard greens), red and orange veggies (carrots and peppers), starchy vegetables (corn and potatoes), and beans and peas (kidney and soy beans) all count towards your recommended daily servings. Fresh, canned, frozen, dried, whole, cut up and pureed veggies all count.

Adults 18 years and older should aim to take in between 2 ½ to 3 cups of vegetables per day. Here are the specific guidelines:

Women:

  • 19 to 50 years: 2 cups
  • 51 years and older: 1 ½ cups

Men:

  • 19 years to 50 years: 3 cups
  • 51 years and older: 2 ½ cups

Read more

Shop Smarter: Savvy Grocery Shopping Tips from Mary Abbott Hess

by in Grocery Shopping, May 5, 2013

grocery shopping
Confused by all the choices at the supermarket? I had the chance to speak with dietitian Mary Abbott Hess, author of The Pocket Supermarket Guide. Her savvy supermarket shopping tips will have you reaching for healthier choices during your next trip to the market, and saving money too.

Read more

How to Adopt a Mediterranean Lifestyle

by in Diets & Weight Loss, May 3, 2013

salmon
It’s not just about eating more fish and using olive oil. To get the health benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet, you need to embrace the lifestyle.

The Benefits
Many researchers have found that those living in the Mediterranean have a lower risk of certain types of disease. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that incorporating more olive oil and nuts may help reduce the risk of heart disease by about 30% in folks who are at high risk. Since the release of this study in April 2013 the popularity of the Mediterranean diet has skyrocketed—and with good reason. On top of incorporating many good-for-you foods, the cuisine is pretty darn tasty.

Read more

Should Healthy Kids Be On Special Diets?

by in Food News, May 2, 2013

kid eating
It’s becoming more common to see parents eliminating foods or food groups from their healthy child’s diet. Even superstar mom Gwenyth Paltrow reportedly cut all gluten and carbs from her kids’ diets. Is it a good idea for parents to make drastic dietary changes without medical supervision?

Why Eliminate?
We’re not talking about a child who is allergic to a food or needs to avoid it due to a medical reason. Parents are eliminating food groups like gluten, carbs, sugar, eggs or milk because they feel they aren’t healthy. Perhaps they spoke to “specialists” who advised them to do so or they made their own decision based on views they’ve seen in the media. (Oftentimes, these recommendations are geared towards adults, not kids.) They may also decide to follow a hot trend that isn’t scientifically sound.

According to this US Weekly article, Paltrow states that all the doctors, nutritionists and health-conscious folks she’s approached agree that gluten isn’t healthy. However, most registered dietitians agree that gluten shouldn’t be avoided if not medically warranted, especially in children.

Read more

7 Foods to Fight PMS

by in Healthy Tips, April 25, 2013

pineapple
Mood swings, irritability, bloating . . . who needs it? Premenstrual syndrome affects an estimated 40% of American women. Studies have found that eating certain foods may help decrease those pesky symptoms.

#1: Yogurt
A study conducted at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst found that women who ate the highest amount of calcium (around 1,200 milligrams a day) were 30% less likely to develop PMS than women who ate much lower amounts (530 milligrams per day). One cup of nonfat plain yogurt has about 40% of your daily recommended dose (400 milligrams).

Other calcium-rich foods: milk, calcium-fortified orange juice and soy milk, kale, bok choy

#2: Salmon
Vitamin D and calcium work together to help keep bones strong. The same study conducted at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst found that women who took in more vitamin D from food showed a similar risk reduction as when eating a high-calcium diet. Three ounces of cooked salmon has over 100% of your recommended daily dose of vitamin D.

Other vitamin-D rich foods: tuna, vitamin D-fortified milk and orange juice, sardines

Read more

Lose Weight by Eating Mindfully

by in Diets & Weight Loss, April 24, 2013

man eating rice
More and more studies have been supporting the concept of mindful eating when it comes to weight loss, weight control, and overall health. Here’s the 101 on this popular method that can help you develop healthier eating habits.

What’s Mindful Eating?
Eating mindfully involves an awareness of the foods you choose to eat, the environment you eat in and your hunger cues. Many folks don’t pay attention to their daily habits which may be leading to unhealthy eating (such as mindlessly munching in front of the TV). It’s common practice to take a bag of chips and relax in front of the TV for the evening. By the time the commercials hit, you’re wondering where all your chips went.

You really want to use all your senses when eating mindfully. Taste the food by savoring every bite, eat in a quiet environment or with pleasant conversation, smell the delicious flavors, and look at variety of colors (from fruits and veggies) that are on your plate.

Some mindful eating programs also incorporate meditation and gentle stretching. These techniques help decrease overall stress, which can help lower calorie intake if you like to eat when you’re stressed.

Read more

...10...181920...304050...