All Posts By Toby Amidor

Nutrition Expert at FoodNetwork.com

The Worst People For Your Diet

by in Diets & Weight Loss, June 28, 2013

office coworkers
One of the most difficult barriers dieters face are folks who try to sabotage their weight loss efforts. These are the folks who will shove an over-sized piece of cake in your face at a party or insist on having fried food at every meal. Every dieter faces them; your best defense is to be prepared.

Kids
Those sweet little ones can be a dieter’s worst nightmare! Yelling for candy at the check-out aisle or insisting on eating chicken nuggets at every meal. Oftentimes you end up giving into their whining for processed foods and end up becoming the garbage disposal for their leftovers.

Your best defense: Both adults (dieting or not) and kids should be eating fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy foods. There are many deliciously healthy recipes that everyone can enjoy; get the kids in the kitchen to help choose and prepare healthy recipes and the whole family will benefit.

Office Buddies
There’s always one office pal who brings in the basket of baked goodies, insisting on watching you eat it. Then there are office-mates who go in groups to pick up the latest fancy coffee drinks, some with no less than 350 calories a pop. And if you try and explain that you’re watching your weight—that’s the center of conversation for the next 2 weeks.

Your best defense: Stick to your guns (and your plan)– overcoming office buddies is all about mind over matter.

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5 Overly-Processed Foods

by in Healthy Tips, June 27, 2013

doughnuts in box
Did you clean your kitchen out after reading our list of the scariest processed foods a few months ago? Here are 5 more overly-processed foods that you might want to toss if you’re looking to clean up your diet.

Flavored Rice & Pastas
Check out the sodium on those seasoning packets — you could be downing 35 to 45 percent of your daily recommended dose in 1 cup. Plus you’ll get an laundry list of additives and preservatives (and they’re not even made with real cheese!)—it’s just so easy to make your own.

Healthier Alternative: 5-Ingredient Spicy Cheesy Rice

Processed Pastries
Boxed cakes, cookies and doughnuts might bring up those feel-good childhood memories, but they’re just a high-fat, nutrient-empty junk food. Some boxed doughnut varieties can have as much as 65% of your daily recommended dose of artery-clogging fat for just one! You’ll also find trans fats in some varieties, such as cakes made with shortening-based frosting and cream-filled cookies.

Healthier Alternative: Marbled Banana Bread

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New Study: Kids Eat More Veggies With Dip

by in Healthy Recipes, Kid-Friendly, June 26, 2013

green goddess dressing
If you’re looking to up your kids’ veggie intake, read this! A new study found that serving vegetables alongside dip leads to munching on more veggies. Interestingly, kids were also found to prefer dips flavored with herbs and spices over plain, more bland dips.

The Study
A 2013 study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that adding herbs or spices to a reduced-fat dip increased a child’s willingness to eat veggies. The portion-controlled 3 ½ tablespoon dips served to the kids had 50 calories, 4 grams of fat and 90 milligrams of sodium.

Pre-school children ages 3 to 5 years told researchers from the Center for Childhood Obesity Research at Pennsylvania State University that they liked veggies when paired with a favorite flavored dip compared to eating a veggie without a dip or with a plain dip. Thirty-one percent of kids liked a veggie alone while 64% liked a veggie when it was served with their favorite dip. In addition, 6% of kids refused the vegetable when served with a flavored dip as compared with 18% who refused the veggie when served without any dip.
During a second experiment, researchers found that kids ate significantly more of a previously rejected or disliked veggie when it was offered with a favorite reduced-fat herb dip compared to when it was offered alone.

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How Long Will the Food in Your Refrigerator Last?

by in Food Safety, June 25, 2013

refrigerator
Go ahead, open your fridge. How long have most of the items been in there? You’re probably thinking to yourself, when should they be tossed? Since the sniff test or a quick eyeball over isn’t the best way to make that determination, take a look at the guidelines and then get ready to keep or toss ‘em.

The Guidelines
Your refrigerator and freezer are temporary storage facilities that can extend the shelf life of food. However, the food stored in your fridge and freezer can definitely spoil within a specific time frame. Here are guidelines for common foods but if you’re ever in doubt, toss the food out.

Baby Food

  • Leftover baby food (jarred or canned): 2 to 3 days (refrigerator)

Beverages

  • Opened canned juices: 5 to 7 days (refrigerator)
  • Fresh orange juice: 6 days (refrigerator) or 6 months (freezer)
  • Opened sodas or carbonated beverages: 2 to 3 days (refrigerator)
  • Soy or rice milk: 7 to 10 days (refrigerator); don’t freeze

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7 Secret-Weapon Foods for Weight Loss

by in Diets & Weight Loss, Healthy Tips, June 24, 2013

shrimp
Don’t waste your money on secret potions and potentially dangerous supplements to lose weight. Instead, include these real foods in your diet to help trim your waistline.

#1: Popcorn
Did you know popcorn is a whole grain? One cup of air-popped popcorn has between 30 to 55 calories and 5% of your recommended daily dose of hunger shielding fiber. Snack on 2 cups with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese or 1 tablespoon of whipped butter with ¼ teaspoon sea salt. You can also make your own in the microwave in a flash.

Recipe: Chocolate-Orange Brown Butter Flavored Popcorn

#2: Greek Yogurt
With more protein than traditional yogurt per ounce, nonfat plain Greek yogurt can fill you up so you’ll be less likely to mindlessly snack. Not sure which brand to choose? Check how popular brands fared in Dana’s taste test.

Recipe: Fruit Salad with Limoncello and Greek Yogurt

#3: Shrimp
These crustaceans pack a protein punch for very few calories. One ounce (4 large shrimp) has 30 calories, 6 grams of protein and has minimal fat.  Shrimp is also a good source of vitamin D and selenium and even contains several energy-boosting B-vitamins. If you’re allergic to shellfish or just don’t care for shrimp, choose skinless, boneless chicken breast which has 46 calories, 9 grams of protein and 1 gram of fat per ounce.

Recipe: Robin’s Coconut Shrimp

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Is Your Job Killing You?

by in Healthy Tips, June 24, 2013

sitting at work
Hours of sitting at your desk, trips to the vending machine, stress, lack of sleep . . . is your job bad for your health? Get out of these 5 terrible work habits and create lifelong healthier ones.

1. Too Much Tushie Time
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that sitting for a prolonged period of time increases your risk of death—even if you DO engage in regular physical activity. Folks who sat for more than 11 hours a day had a 40 percent higher chance of dying within the next 3 years over those who only sat for 4 hours a day. Furthermore, those who sat between 8 to 11 hours a day had a 15 percent higher chance of dying compared with those who sat fewer than 4 hours a day.

In addition to working, we spend a lot of time lounging out in front of the TV, driving, and eating which all count as sitting-down time.

Solve it: Use small windows of opportunity to get up and walking. Use your lunch break to take a walk around the block, stand up during long calls or use wireless headsets that allow you to easily pace around, or get off a stop earlier on the bus or subway.

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The Best Beverages For Your Health

by in Healthy Tips, June 20, 2013

healthy beverages
When it comes to healthy beverage choices, water tends to always top the list. But where do other favorites like juice, coffee, tea, milk, and even alcohol fit into a healthy lifestyle?

So Many Choices?!
With so many beverages lining store shelves plus media hubbub swirling about the so-called positive and negative effects of various drinks, what you should be sipping? Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition reviewed the wide selection of beverages available and ranked them into 6 levels based on the amount of calories, good-for-you nutrients, and scientific evidence on the negative and positive effects on health. Not too surprising, water topped the list, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only healthy choice.

Top Beverage Choices
Unsweetened tea, coffee and milk have a place in your healthy eating plan, while juice, alcohol and sweetened beverages should be consumed sparingly.

Water
Water helps restore fluid losses and helps rehydrate your body. Although we’re often told to drink 8 cups of water each day, the amount of water we need varies from person to person. It depends on the amount of food you eat, how active you are and the climate you live in. Most people get about 80% of their fluids from beverages, the rest comes from food. The Institute of Medicine’s guidelines are 15 cups per day for men and 11 cups per day for women (coming from a combo of food and drinks).

Tea and Coffee
Tea and coffee are two of the most commonly consumed beverages in the world. Without all the fancy add-ins (like whipped cream, shaved chocolate, heavy cream), they can provide numerous nutritional benefits and help meet your daily fluid requirements. Green tea has been touted for helping prevent heart disease while coffee has been shown to have explosive amounts of cell-protecting antioxidants. Although studies have found that up to 3 or so cups of coffee or tea are okay, these drinks also tend to leach out calcium and iron, so try to keep it to that amount.

Low-Fat, Skim and Soy Milk
Milk provides 9 essential nutrients including protein, calcium, and vitamin D. The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines recommended choosing low-fat or fat-free (AKA skim) milk to minimize saturated fat and cholesterol. Drinking milk and soy milk can also help you meet the recommended 3 servings of dairy each day.

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Is Prep Time Cutting Into Your Exercise Time?

by in Healthy Tips, June 19, 2013

cutting vegetables
Having hectic work schedules, family life, and a social life leaves us pressed for time when it comes to taking care of ourselves. Although folks are starting to cook more at home, new data shows that it may be cutting into our exercise time. Are we stuck in a new catch-22 or can we find time to do it all?

The Study
Data from the U.S. Census from over 112,000 U.S. adults found that when folks take an additional 10-minutes to prepare meals, they are more likely to exercise for 10 fewer minutes. This was found in both men and women, single and married people and those with and without kids. On average, participants spent an average of less than an hour on both exercise and meal prep on the same day. The big takeaway from this study is that one healthy behavior can take time away from another. It also highlights the importance of planning out your meals and exercise time.

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13 Healthy Steak Recipes

by in Healthy Recipes, June 15, 2013


In my house, we always grill steaks for dad on Father’s Day. The secrets to making a steak dinner a healthy one are simple: it’s all a matter of buying the right cuts of beef and making sure portions aren’t outrageous.

Healthier Cuts
Lighter cuts of beef include flank steak, top loin, sirloin, T-bone, filet mignon, and tenderloin. Trim off any visible fat before adding your marinade or rub. Grilling your steak will also allow even more fat to drip off.

Aim for 6-ounces of raw steak and get rid of that bottled sauce. Flavor the steak using fresh herbs, spices, fruits, veggies and other wholesome ingredients. Make a batch of Dana’s Spicy Montreal Steak Seasoning and send the other dads home with their own jar.

Use our lightened-up steak ideas on your favorite dad-worthy recipe, or surprise dad with one of our favorite healthy steak recipes this weekend.

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28 Healthy Father’s Day Recipes

by in Healthy Recipes, June 12, 2013

cheeseburgers
Dad deserves delicious grub on his special day but he doesn’t have to know it’s good for him. Cook him any of these mouthwatering dishes and feel good that you’re feeding him healthy eats.

Starters

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