All Posts By Toby Amidor

Nutrition Expert at FoodNetwork.com

Low-Calorie Fast-Food Menu Items

by in Dining Out, February 12, 2013

chicken sandwich
You’re stuck on the road, or didn’t have a chance to eat and end up in some fast-food joint that’s all too conveniently placed in your neighborhood. What should you choose? Your best line of defense is to be prepared. I checked out popular fast-food restaurants and found options that can fit any calorie requirements; whether you’re looking for a quick snack or a sensibly-sized meal, I’ve got you covered.

Meals
A reasonable lunch or dinner has about 400 or 500 calories, depending on your overall calorie needs.

500 Calories

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In Season: Cara Cara Oranges

by in Healthy Recipes, In Season, February 9, 2013

cara cara oranges
This unique variety of oranges has been gaining popularity. But if you want to catch them, get to the market now; they’re only in season for a short time.

What, Where, & When?
These oranges were first discovered in 1976 at Hacienda Cara Cara in Venezuela (hence the name) and are now grown in California. They’re a type of navel orange that’s a cross between the Washington and Brazilian Bahia navel oranges.

The seedless orange has reddish-pink flesh and a sweet yet tangy flavor similar to cranberries, strawberries and raspberries. They’re available December through April.

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Should You Follow An All-Fruit Diet?

by in Diets & Weight Loss, Food News, February 8, 2013

bananas
The all-fruit (AKA fruitarian) diet has gone viral ever since Ashton Kutcher ended up in the hospital after eating only fruit. The actor was throwing himself into his new role as Steve Jobs in the film about the early life of the Apple co-founder. Jobs was known to be an extreme dieter since his freshman year in college.

What’s A Fruitarian Diet?
The fruitarian diet is a variation on a vegan diet but it consists primarily of fruit. It’s an extreme type of plan where nuts and seeds are also on the menu, but fruit makes up about 90% of the food.

Steve Jobs was reported to have read Mucusless Healing System by Arnold Ehret, where the recommendations are to only eat fruit and starch-less veggies.

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Tea: Facts vs. Myths

by in Healthy Tips, February 7, 2013

herbal tea
I’ve heard it all when it comes to tea and oftentimes what’s said just isn’t true. Here’s the real truth when it comes to one of the most popular drinks in the world.

Myth: Herbal teas are true teas
True teas including black, green, white and oolong come from the camellia sinesis plant. Herbal teas are made by steeping fresh or dried flowers, herb, seeds, roots or plant barks in hot water. The so-called “teas” are really called tisanes.

Fact: Green tea has caffeine
Green tea has about 35 milligrams per cup. Iced green tea also contains caffeine — about 15 milligrams per 16 fluid ounces. If you’re an avid green tea consumer, be careful—the caffeine can add up quickly.

Myth: Decaffeinated tea is caffeine free
Decaffeinated teas do contain some caffeine, about 2 to 10 milligrams per cup. If you’re looking to go caffeine free, herbal teas are your best bet. If you do go for the caffeinated stuff, keep in mind that the amount of caffeine differs from tea to tea: Black tea has around 60 milligrams of caffeine per 8 ounces, about double that of green tea.

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15 Valentine’s Day Desserts

by in Cookies & Other Desserts, Valentine's Day, February 5, 2013

strawberry cupcakes
These lightened-up goodies are the perfect way to show your sweetie you care without busting their waistline.

The Guidelines
Each of these desserts has 400 calories or less, 20 grams of total fat or less, 10 grams of saturated fat or less, and a max of 400 milligrams of sodium per serving. Dessert should be a special treat and most definitely can be enjoyed on Valentine’s Day. If you’re trying to watch your figure, cut calories even further by sharing dessert or cutting the portion in half.

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500 Calorie (or less) Comfort Foods

by in Healthy Recipes, Meal Makeovers, January 28, 2013

lasagna
As I was driving home yesterday, my car thermometer showed an outside temperature of 17 degrees F. In these frigid temperatures, comfort foods make you feel warm and cozy. But they don’t have to be over-the-top indulgent; here are 12 comfort food classics with fewer than 500 calories per serving.

Fried Chicken

Ellie’s super-simple spin on fried chicken uses crushed corn cereal flakes plus a blend of spices for a very crunchy dish. It’s a staple in my busy house with only about 10 minutes of prep time!
Recipe: Oven-Fried Chicken

Lasagna
A touch of sweet Italian turkey sausage makes this pasta dish hearty, yet sensible. The cheese layer’s filled with part-skim ricotta and low fat cottage cheese along with some part-skim mozzarella, which helps keep the calories in check at 350 per serving.

Recipe: Food Network Kitchen’s Sausage Lasagna

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11 Healthy Kale Recipes

by in Healthy Recipes, January 24, 2013

kale salad
This hearty winter green is expected to gain popularity in 2013. Get ahead of the trend and start cooking these outstanding kale recipes now.

Nutrition Lowdown
One cup of chopped kale contains 33 calories, 2 grams of protein, and 1 gram of fiber. It has more than twice the recommended daily dose of vitamin A and almost seven times the vitamin K. It’s an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese and a good source of copper.

This green leafy is also a member of the cruciferous veggie (AKA cabbage) family, which has been shown to help protect against various types of cancer.

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7 Reasons You’re Gaining Weight

by in Diets & Weight Loss, January 22, 2013

woman on scale
You’ve been trying so hard to shed pounds, but notice the scale tipping the other way. Before you toss your arms up in defeat, perhaps there are reasons why you’re gaining weight that you never thought of. My clients often tell me they’re sure they should be losing weight, but sometimes I point out the little things that really make a difference.

#1: Oil Overkill
Olive oil is a healthy fat—and so are some hyped-up expensive oils like grape seed and macadamia nut oil. Regardless of which type of oil you use, they all contain 120 calories per tablespoon. You need to be VERY careful about how much oil you’re cooking with or using in dressings and marinades.

Solve it: Aim for 1 to 2 teaspoons per person in one sitting to get your oil fix without going overboard.

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Dips, Lightened Up

by in Healthy Recipes, January 18, 2013

hot crab dip
Creamy blue cheese, artichoke and other cheesy dips can sabotage your waistline long before the main course even begins. Lighten up these bad boys with a few quick tricks—they’ll still taste fantastic.

Nutrition Facts
Folks LOVE to take their veggies, pita, and chips for a dip—actually, let’s call it a plunge. Creamy dips aren’t the only culprit out there but those are the ones highest in artery-clogging saturated fat and cholesterol. Here are the nutrition facts for ¼ cup of commercially-prepared popular dips. (Keep in mind that many folks down 2 to 4 times that amount in one sitting.)

  • Blue Cheese: 220 calories, 24 grams total fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 500 milligrams sodium, 0 grams sugar
  • Artichoke: 200 calories, 16 grams total Fat, 9 grams saturated fat, 360 milligrams sodium, 2 grams sugar
  • Ranch: 240 calories, 24 grams total fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 740 milligrams sodium, 4 grams sugar
  • Onion: 120 calories, 9 grams total fat, 6 grams saturated fat, 420 milligrams sodium, 2 grams sugar

Other dips like hummus and guacamole aren’t shy in calories either, but at least there’s more healthy fat in them. Here are the average numbers you’ll see on ¼ cup of popular commercial varieties:

  • Hummus: 140 calories, 12 grams total fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 260 milligrams sodium, 0 grams sugar
  • Guacamole: 120 calories, 10 grams total fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 180 milligrams sodium, 0 grams sugar

Commercial varieties of dips typically add a bunch of additives and preservatives, which is one of the biggest reasons we suggest making your own.

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5 Signs You’ll Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

by in Small Steps, January 16, 2013

calendar

The new year brings New Year’s resolutions. If you’re making the same ones year after year and they’re not sticking, it’s time to rethink your strategy. But if you’ve been successful so far, these 5 signs will let you know that the resolution you made this year is a promise you can keep.

#1: You Made a Specific Resolution
In order to become healthier, you want to make specific and achievable short-term goals. These goals become habits over time. Instead of making a resolution that you’ll lose 50 pounds this year, make a more specific goal on how you will achieve it. Some specific goals include:

  • I will eat 5 servings of vegetables 3 days a week.
  • I will go to Zumba class twice every week.
  • I will switch from white to brown rice.
  • I will make time for breakfast every day.

Here are more examples of small goals that pave the way to bigger changes.

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