All Posts By Toby Amidor

Nutrition Expert at FoodNetwork.com

Weight Gain As You Age: Is It Inevitable?

by in Diets & Weight Loss, Healthy Tips, January 8, 2013

woman on scale
When I was youngster, I dreaded becoming “old” because I kept hearing that weight gain after 30 is unavoidable. As it turns out, I’m hitting 40 soon and weigh less than I did during my college days. The same can’t be said about some of my old college buds. So what gives?

Calorie Count
One of the things I typically hear from clients is that they’ve always eaten the same amount of food yet are still gaining weight. Oftentimes folks don’t realize that your metabolism can slow down as much as 5% each decade after 40. So if you’re eating at 40 or 50 the same way you did when you were 18 years old, of course you’re putting on weight!

Here’s a look at the caloric needs over time for an average-sized man who exercises moderately (30-60 minutes) each day:

  • At 18 years old = 2,800 calories
  • At 30 years old = 2,600 calories
  • At 50 years old = 2,400 calories
  • At 70 years old = 2,200 calories

If his activity level declines over time – which often happens once the kids are born or retirement hits, then calorie needs also decline.

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How to Detox Your Diet Safely

by in Diets & Weight Loss, January 4, 2013

fruit
The holidays have come and gone. You’ve indulged in your favorite meals, guzzled down delicious cocktails and now feel the need to detoxify and start fresh. Instead of trying unsafe plans which drastically cut calories, promote enemas and diuretics, and make you feel sick—how about a simple (and safe) detox plan instead?

The Purpose of Detox
Detox plans promise to defeat inflammation, boost fat-burning and eliminate toxins from your body. There’s limited research behind many of these claims and most are dangerous — especially if followed for a prolonged period of time. The purpose of our organs like the skin, kidneys, intestines, liver and lymphatic system are to naturally detoxify your body. As such, there’s no need to drop lots of dough on potentially dangerous cleanses, pills or teas.

I recently had a conversation with friend who does a popular detox plan. He claimed (as many of my clients do), that he wasn’t sure it really detoxed his body but it was more of a mental and psychological overhaul for him. It’s a way to gain control of what you eat and perhaps even gain control over other aspects of your life. If you feel the need to detox, then do so safely.  Here are three suggestions:

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8 Food Trends to Expect in 2013

by in Food News, December 29, 2012

kale
Each year new diets, super foods and other food trends are splashed over the media and discussed by the water coolers. Sometimes these trends continue for a few years, others are out the door as quickly as they came in. Look for these hot trends in 2013.

#1: Cruciferous Greens
Members of the cabbage family such as kale, chard, turnip greens and mustard greens will start making regular appearances at restaurants. How about kale chips with your sandwich or burger?

#2: Cupcake-Dispensing ATMs
This ATM look-a-like dispenses freshly baked cupcakes 24/7. Other companies like Jamba Juice (JamboGo) and Seattle’s Best Coffee brands also have vending machines to buy their goodies.

#3: Crackdown on Food Claims
In 2012, many folks were surprised to learn that chocolate hazelnut spread wasn’t as healthy as the ads and product label promoted. A producer of Greek yogurt was also sued for using milk protein concentrate — an ingredient that isn’t acceptable by the FDA to be used in Greek yogurt —  in lieu of straining techniques used to make Greek yogurt. Consumers don’t want to be misled by food manufacturers and are raising their voices.

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Why We Love Chestnuts

by in Healthy Recipes, Why We Love, December 25, 2012

chestnut
Roasting chestnuts over an open fire may seem cliché, but it’s one of the best ways to enjoy this sweet nut.

Chestnuts 101
Chestnuts have a dark outer shell that ranges in color from light brown to blackish. The outer skin is pretty thin and easy to cut with a knife. The nut inside is covered with a bitter inner skin called a pellicle, which should be peeled before eaten.

Fresh chestnuts are available from September through February. Most are imported from around the world from countries like Italy, China, Spain and Korea.

Watch how chestnuts go from field to plate in this FoodNetwork.com video.

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35 Vegetarian-Friendly Holiday Recipes

by in Healthy Holidays, December 22, 2012

lasagna
Looking for tasty vegetarian recipes this holiday season? From appetizers to mains to desserts, these 35 recipes will leave everyone (including meat lovers) begging for seconds.

The Criteria
The terms “healthy” and “vegetarian” may seem synonymous but that’s not always the case. All the selected recipes meet our healthy criteria for calories, fat and saturated fat. In addition, in order to meet the nutrient requirements of a vegetarian, a variety of recipes that include whole grains, lean proteins, nuts, seeds, fruits, and veggies were selected.

Although there are various types of vegetarians, we stuck to the basics. These recipes don’t include any meat, poultry, fish or seafood.  Some do include dairy and eggs and would be appropriate for a lacto- or lacto-ovo-vegetarian.

Appetizers

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8 Tricks for Lightening Up Holiday Foods

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Tips, December 13, 2012

eggnog
We heart holiday food, but holiday food doesn’t always show love our waistlines. Use these simple tricks to lighten up your favorites.

#1: Baked Ham
Ham is a lean meat but when recipes call for one pound per serving the calories skyrocket to 760 and the fat climbs to 44 grams! Also, when you’re talking smoked or cured foods, the sodium can get out of control.

To lighten: Stick to 3 to 4 ounce portions and lessen the amount of salt added to flavor the ham or use lower-sodium versions.

Other tips to lighten up baked ham

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Homemade Holiday Gift: Rum Balls

by in Cookies & Other Desserts, Healthy Holidays, December 13, 2012

rum balls
These deliciously decadent chocolate-flavored balls have been a family favorite for decades. Whip them up this holiday season for the ones you love.

Food Safety Note
These rum balls have been modified from the version my mom made when I was younger. The original version calls for a raw egg (the batter isn’t cooked). To make these rum balls kid-friendly and adhere to prevent salmonella, I use a pasteurized whole egg and swapped in rum extract for the real stuff. This means the egg was heat treated to kill pathogens, though it looks like any other raw egg. Many markets carry them—look for the word “pasteurized” on the label.

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Spice of the Month: Star Anise

by in Healthy Recipes, December 12, 2012

star anise
This spice is known for its distinctive licorice flavor and is an ingredient in one of my favorite liquors, arrack.

Star Anise Basics
This member of the parsley family dates back to at least 1500 B.C. For centuries, the seed was used to help with digestion. In India it was eaten after a meal to aid not only in digestion but also act as a breath freshener.

Star anise is the fruit of a small oriental tree. Its shape resembles a star with an average of 8 boat-shaped points. The points are actually seed pods which are hard-skinned and brownish-red in color. The anise seed (found inside the pods) has a greenish-brown color. Star anise is picked before it ripens and is then dried. It has a unique, sweet licorice flavor. You can find star anise whole or ground into a reddish-brown powder.

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32 Diabetic-Friendly Holiday Recipes

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, December 11, 2012

stuffed pork
Finding mouthwatering diabetic-friendly recipes can be a challenge but don’t let anyone tell you that it isn’t possible! Whether you’re throwing a huge holiday shindig or having a more intimate affair, here are 32 diabetic-friendly holiday recipes from appetizers to desserts and every course in between.

The Criteria
In order to be diabetic-friendly, the recipe must contain a maximum of 30 grams of carbohydrates per serving (which equals two carbohydrate exchanges). In addition, all of these recipes are sensible in the calorie and fat department too.

Appetizers

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Talking With the Co-Founder of Garden Lites

by in Grocery Shopping, December 8, 2012

garden lites
This line of gluten-free frozen dishes, soufflés, and veggie muffins has taken the market by storm. I spoke with Garden Lites’ co-founder Jeff Moskowitz to find out the secret of their success.

Q1. How did you come up with the idea of creating Garden Lites foods?
I wanted to make foods that would help people live a healthier lifestyle. There’s no healthier food than vegetables, but people seem to look at veggies as something they HAVE to eat versus something they WANT to eat. I wanted to change that perception.

Q2. You have a delicious line of soufflés. Are they meant to be eaten on their own or can they be used in cooking?
Our consumers eat them for breakfast, lunch or a hearty snack as well as cut them up and serve as a side dish. The soufflés also make a wonderful ingredient. We started a partnership with Meatless Monday where we post meatless recipes using our soufflés on our social media and cross promote it on Meatless Monday’s Facebook page. That has been very successful. We have a lot of really amazing recipe ideas (like our Veggie Lasagna below), which you can find on our website. We will also be expanding our recipe section on our new website starting in January 2013.

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