All Posts By Toby Amidor

Nutrition Expert at FoodNetwork.com

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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12 Healthy Lemon Recipes

by in Healthy Recipes, January 12, 2013

lemon cookies
This citrus fruit is extremely versatile and can be used to flavor recipes both sweet and savory. Pucker up for these 12 lemony dishes.

Nutrition Lowdown
For the burst of flavor lemons provide, the calories are pretty minimal at a mere 12 for the juice of one. Lemons are also an excellent source of the antioxidant vitamin C, providing over one third of your daily dose. It’ll also give you a splash of folate, vitamin B6, thiamin, magnesium and potassium.

Waffles
Lemon juice isn’t the only way to add flavor to dishes. These waffles use grated lemon zest for an extra special burst of flavor.

Recipe: Lemon and Walnut Waffles

Bruschetta
Dazzle guests with this easy appetizer made with a few simple ingredients: toasted bread, lemon juice, parsley, garlic and olive oil.

Recipe: Lemon-Parsley Bruschetta

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New Products to Stock Up On

by in Grocery Shopping, January 10, 2013

quinoa
It’s a new year and a good time to stock up on fresh, healthy foods. The next time you hit the supermarket, take a good look around—you’ll see many new products on the shelves. Here are some of our favorite finds.

Whole Grains

Colored Quinoa
Besides the basic pale yellow color, quinoa can be found in a vibrant shade of red. Several companies including Eden Foods, Trader Joe’s and Quinola sell them. You might see black quinoa on the market as well.

Freekah
This ancient grain is derived from young green wheat. It cooks up similar to wheat berries and is a great way to mix up your daily grains. It does take a bit more time to cook than rice– so cook up a double batch to use throughout the week in dishes like soups, salads and pilafs.

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FDA Updates Food Safety Laws

by in Food News, Food Safety, January 9, 2013

washing a pepper
The government is finally moving forward with the biggest overhaul of food safety rules since the Great Depression—it’s about time! With major recalls in the past few years of melon and peanut butter, the safety of the U.S. food supply has been under major scrutiny. Food safety advocates are thrilled, but will these government plans really keep our food supply safe?

The Plan
The Food Safety Modernization Act was signed into law by President Obama and hailed to be the first major overhaul in the safety of our food system in 70 years. The entire system shifts the focus to prevention rather than reaction when a problem occurs. There are 2 new rules proposed by the FDA that would govern about 80% of the U.S. food supply, excluding meat and poultry.

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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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