All Posts By Toby Amidor

Nutrition Expert at FoodNetwork.com

Diet 101: The 5-Factor Diet

by in Diets & Weight Loss, April 2, 2013

5 factor diet
During the Grammys, Katy Perry was looking pretty va va voom. While I was in Grammy Twitterland, I found ooglers reporting that she’d been hitting the gym and following The 5-Factor Diet.

Overview
From John Mayer to Kim Kardashian, creator Harley Pasternak has built himself a sweet Hollywood client list. His plan promises to lower insulin levels, provide you with more energy, ignite metabolism, improve mood and reduce stress by using the magic number 5 (i.e. 5 meals a day, exercise 5 days a week).

Paternak is educated in and has experience in the field of nutrition and exercise. He earned his Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology and Nutritional Sciences from the University of Toronto, and an Honors Degree in Kinesiology from the University of Western Ontario. He has also worked as a nutritional scientist for the Canadian Department of National Defense.

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20 Healthy Easter Side Dishes

by in Easter, Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, March 28, 2013

asparagus recipe
With a bounty of bright spring vegetables popping up in markets and gardens, there’s plenty of fresh produce available to make delicious and eye-appealing veggies to serve at your Easter feast.

Potatoes-A-Plenty
Sweet or white potatoes are both bursting with nutritional goodness including vitamin C. Mash them, top with cheese or roast. The possibilities are endless.

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Easter Egg Safety

by in Easter, Food Safety, Healthy Holidays, March 27, 2013

Easter eggs
Easter wouldn’t be complete without brightly-colored eggs and a full out egg hunt. But who wants to ruin the festivities with spoiled eggs?

Food Safety Basics
Eggs are considered a potentially hazardous food that may cause illness if they’re not handled correctly. Raw and undercooked eggs have been associated with salmonella poisoning. Most folks infected with the salmonella bacteria develop symptoms about 12 to 72 hours after infected. Most people can recover but if symptoms are severe, hospitalization may be required especially in those with a compromised immune system (like the very young and old). Proper handling, cooking, and hand washing can prevent most of the issues.

Keeping Eggs Safe
Egg safety begins at your market and continues until the time when you reserve leftovers.

  • Purchasing: Inspect egg cartons at the market. Don’t purchase cracked or dirty eggs and be sure to check the sell-by date. Eggs should always be refrigerated, even when on display.
  • Storing: Be sure to get those eggs home quickly. They shouldn’t sit at room temperature longer than 2 hours—1 hour if it’s above 90 degrees. Once home, place the eggs in your refrigerator immediately.
  • Preparing: When preparing eggs, wash your hands, any utensils, and surfaces that will come into contact with the eggs. If you’re not sure if the eggs are safe to eat, toss them. Once the equipment is used for the eggs, be sure to wash them with soap and warm water immediately. Don’t use them for another prep task (that’s cross-contamination!).
  • Cooking: Always make sure that your eggs are safe to eat. For hard-boiled (or any cooked) eggs, you want to cook the eggs until both the white and yolk are firm. Learn how to make perfect hard-boiled eggs.
  • Leftovers: Hard-boiled eggs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. They shouldn’t be frozen.

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Reasons to Love Horseradish

by in Healthy Tips, March 25, 2013


Once the gefilte fish hits the table during our Passover feast, about 20 of us start fighting for the horseradish to top it. But this spicy condiment goes far beyond the Passover table.

Horseradish 101
Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) is a member of the cabbage family and is thought to have originated around 500 B.C. in the Mediterranean. It is one of five bitter herbs traditionally eaten during the Passover feast. In the 1600 and 1700s, Horseradish ale was a very popular drink throughout England and Germany. In the 1700s, German settlers introduced it to the U.S.

Fresh horseradish root is about 6 to 12-inches long with a 3-inch or so width. It is white in color, has a pungent smell and distinct spicy flavor. Many folks prefer prepared horseradish which can be found as white or red varieties at the market. White horseradish is preserved in vinegar, while red is preserved in beet juice.

Although you can find horseradish grown throughout the world, about 60 percent of the worldwide supply is grown in Illinois.

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Make Your Own Chocolate-Covered Matzo

by in Healthy Holidays, March 24, 2013

chocolate-covered matzo
When I was a little girl, chocolate-covered matzo was a prized dessert. With 5 siblings and a dad who all love chocolate, it was tough to get a piece! As a mom, instead of purchasing store-bought for my family I make my own and jazz it up with some fun kosher-for-Passover flavors.

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Do Diet Cocktails Get You Drunk Faster?

by in Food News, March 21, 2013

cocktails
Are you a rum and diet Coke drinker or do you prefer a calorie-free cocktail blend made with artificial sweeteners? Whichever is your poison, recent studies have found that consuming artificial sweeteners with your booze can make you tipsy faster.

The Research
A 2006 study found that mixing vodka with a diet beverage containing artificial sweetener verses a sugar-sweetened beverage got folks drunk 15 minutes faster. Those downing the cocktail with artificial sweeteners also had a higher blood alcohol concentration by 0.02.

Although the recent study conducted by Northern Kentucky University had a pretty small sample size (about 16 subjects), the results pointed to the same conclusion. Researchers determined that sugar-sweetened alcohol is absorbed slower into the blood while the artificial stuff doesn’t hinder alcohol absorption.

While you may think that sticking to calorie free mix-ins like seltzer may be a better option, a 2007 study found that carbonated drinks cause alcohol to be absorbed quicker compared with flat mixers like orange and cranberry juice.

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Kid-Friendly Breakfast Ideas

by in Grocery Shopping, Healthy Recipes, Kid-Friendly, March 16, 2013

breakfast bars
I make quick, easy and kid-friendly breakfast every day for my 3 kids. If you’re not a believer that you can make breakfast happen in a flash, try any of my tips to make it happen.

Food Groups Matter
It’s not just about throwing together easy foods, but making sure your little ones gets the nutrients they need from a variety of food groups. As a rule of thumb, I make sure at least 3 food groups are represented in any of my kid’s breakfasts. Choose from dairy, whole grains, fruits, veggies, and lean protein. The more food groups you can include, the better.

Quick Recipe Ideas
Simple, no-fuss recipes you can throw together in less than 10 minutes.

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7 Signs You’re Getting Bad Nutrition Advice

by in Diets & Weight Loss, March 12, 2013

nutirition advice
There’s tons of nutrition information swirling around and oftentimes you’re left wondering what or who you should believe. Here are 7 signs that you’re receiving bad (and sometimes even dangerous) nutrition advice.

#1: Lack of Significant Research
Nutrition advice should be based on significant scientific research that was conducted in peer-reviewed journals over months or even better, years. The majority of the research will back up a specific theory with a few straggler studies that may point at the other side. If you’re being quoted a study, be sure what you are being told reflects all the research in that area. In addition, ask who sponsored the research as sponsored studies may be one sided. Oftentimes, this will raise a big red flag if someone hasn’t done their homework.

#2: Lots of Persuasive Anecdotes
You may find a diet or a diet expert with tons of followers who all swear that the diet plan or advice is THE BEST they ever followed. These folks will tell you how they lost hundreds of pounds—and that you will too.

Although it may sound like you MUST try it, it’s important to remember that every person is different and has individualized needs. Some diets or advice may be not be safe for folks on certain medications or with certain diseases (like Parkinson’s or diabetes), so you need to check with your doctor before trying anything new. It’s also important to make sure the science is also there to back the advice up — just relying on anecdotes just isn’t enough.

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Order This, Not That: Five Guys

by in Dining Out, March 7, 2013

5 Guys Burger
This chain has been popping up all everywhere — there are over 1,000 locations nationwide. Find out what you should order when you stop by this booming burger and fry joint.

ORDER: Simple and “Little”

It’s tough to navigate this predominately high-calorie and high-sodium menu if you’re trying to stick to a healthy eating plan but it is possible.

If you’re itching for the Five Guys famous burger, the Bunless Little Hamburger is your best bet with 220 calories, 17 grams of fat, and 50 milligrams of sodium. Ask for veggie toppings like mushrooms, green peppers, onions, jalapeno, lettuce and tomatoes for between 3 to 10 calories each per serving.

If you’re more of a hot dog fan, the Bunless Hot Dog weighs in at 285 calories, 26 grams of fat and 800 milligrams sodium. Again, add veggies to add bulk to your meal with minimal calories.

Looking for a meatless dish? The Veggie Sandwich has 440 calories, 15 grams fat, and 1040 mg sodium.

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14 Healthy Slow-Cooker Recipes

by in Healthy Recipes, March 5, 2013

slow-cooker soup
Relieve your dinnertime stress by making a slow-cooker meal. Toss the ingredients in this easy-to-use countertop appliance, press the button, and enjoy a delicious meal a few hours later. Eating healthier couldn’t be any simpler!

Soups
A great dinner can be as simple as a warming soup and salad. Pair one of these on these delicious soups with a homemade salad using whatever veggies are in your refrigerator.

Pork Dishes
Lean cuts of pork are brimming with energy-boosting B-vitamins—just one of the reasons pork made our top-5 list of energy-boosting foods.

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