All Posts By Toby Amidor

Nutrition Expert at FoodNetwork.com

Chicken Nuggets: Are They Healthy?

by in Is It Healthy?, October 7, 2012

chicken nuggets
This kid-friendly and wildly popular food is often DEMANDED by kids.  Should you give into to your kiddos’ requests for these bite-sized poultry pieces?

YES?
At a first glance, breaded and fried chicken isn’t the best nor is it the worst food your kid could be eating. The chicken provides some B-vitamins and protein and served with a side salad or veggies and a whole grain, it can be part of a healthy eating plan.

Much of the nutritional value in nuggets depends on who’s making them. Store-bought and fast-food varieties aren’t without their issues (see below). You can always opt to make your own breaded and baked nuggets. This helps decrease the unpronounceable ingredient list, preservatives, sodium and fat.

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Nuts About Cashews

by in Healthy Recipes, October 4, 2012

cashews
We’ve told you how nuts we are about walnuts, almonds, peanuts, and pistachios but let’s not forget about cashews.

Cashew Basics
These nuts are thought to have originated in northeast Brazil. The kidney-shaped, gray-brown colored cashew nut grows from the bottom of a fleshy stalk that resembles the shape of a pear (though is referred to as the cashew apple). The cashew apple has a bright yellow or red skin and is between 5 to 10 centimeters long. The cashew shell is toxic, that’s why you can only purchase them shelled. Cashews have a distinct sweet, buttery flavor.

Today cashews are primarily produced in India, Brazil, Vietnam and Mozambique. Juice, syrup, preserves, wine and liquor are produced from the cashew apple, though the nut is the main form sold commercially in the U.S.

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10 Healthy Sweet Potato Recipes

by in Healthy Recipes, September 29, 2012

sweet potatoes
Fall in love with sweet potatoes again and again with these 10 deliciously healthy recipes.

Nutritional Goodness
One medium tuber contains 105 calories and 4 grams of fiber. These babies are bursting with antioxidant vitamins A and C, potassium and manganese. They also contain lycopene, another antioxidant that’s been shown to help fight certain types of cancer and heart disease.

Maple-Roasted
Thick pieces of potato wedges drizzled with a touch of maple syrup makes a delightful side dish.

Recipe: Food Network Kitchens’ Maple-Roasted Sweet Potatoes (pictured above)

In Quinoa
Enjoy pieces of roasted sweet potatoes in this protein-packed dish.

Recipe: Sweet Potato Quinoa

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Why We Love Olives

by in Why We Love, September 28, 2012

olives
My friends and family can attest that olives are one of my all-time favorite foods. I heart olives in my morning omelet, chopped into my Israeli-Style Salad and when sipping on a cold brew. There’s no wrong time to munch on this salty, briny fruit.

Olive Facts
Olives date back to biblical times where the olive branch was a symbol of peace. These gems were thought to have originated in the Mediterranean, tropical and central Asia and several parts of Africa. Olive trees were first seen in California in the late 1700s.

Olives grow on trees, have one pit in the center, and contain oil in their flesh. In order to extract their oil the olives must be pressed. The difference between a green and black olive is their degree of ripeness: black olives are the most ripe. Fresh olives picked right off the tree are inedible and must be prepared with brine, salt or cured in olive oil before being consumed.

Some of the most popular varieties include Manzanillo, Mission, Rubra, Sevillano and Gordal. Mission is most commonly used for cold-pressed olive oil from California and Gordal is a very popular table olive from Spain.

Today, over 90% of the world’s olive oil production comes from Spain, Italy, Tunisia, Turkey, Greece, Syria, Morocco and Portugal.

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High-Iron Recipes

by in Healthy Recipes, September 26, 2012

tofu cups
Many folks discover they have iron-deficiency—a condition which can result from not eating enough foods that contain iron. If you’re looking to pump up your iron, here are 5 recipes to help you do so.

The Guidelines
Although women tend to need a bit more iron then men, the general recommended dose is 18 milligrams per day. Each of the recipes below contain at least 1.8 milligrams of iron, which is 10% of your daily requirement.

Iron is an important mineral that helps red blood cells carry oxygen through your body. Lack of iron can result in dizziness, fatigue, weakness and pale skin. Eating foods high in vitamin C, such as peppers, potatoes, tomatoes and citrus fruits, can help absorb iron. Conversely, coffee and foods high in calcium decrease absorption of the mineral.

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7 Ways to Overcome a Weight Loss Plateau

by in Diets & Weight Loss, September 21, 2012

diet
Your weight loss journey began with the pounds melting away. Then one day BOOM, you’ve entered a weight loss plateau and can’t lose another pound. The worst thing to do is give up. Instead follow our tips to help you start losing again.

What’s a Weight Loss Plateau?
During the first week or so of a new weight loss plan, you’ll often find that you’re losing weight at a quick rate. This happens due to a combo of cutting calories, increasing exercise and water weight loss. Once your body becomes accustomed to the changes and settles into a new equilibrium, it needs fewer calories to accomplish the same activities. In order to get your body to continue to lose weight, you don’t want to slash calories to the max. Instead, you need to examine the nitty gritty details of your daily life and activities to see where small changes can be made. Here are 7 places to start.

#1: Measure and Weigh
I often see food records that are inaccurate. You think you ate one serving or  four ounces of meat when in reality it’s much more. Studies also reveal that most folks underestimate how much they really eat. Use a simple food scale and keep your measuring spoons and cups handy.

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Food Fight: Multigrain vs. Whole Wheat Bread

by in Food Fight, September 20, 2012

bread
Terms like “whole wheat” and “multi-grain” are often used interchangeably, but they aren’t actually the same thing. Here’s a closer look into each, plus the winner of this food fight.

Understanding Whole Grains
Before delving into this battle, we need to settle on the term whole grain. All grains are made of 3 parts: the large endosperm (with protein and carbs), the germ (with fat and B-vitamins) and the outer bran (with fiber and vitamins). When a food is labeled as 100% whole grain, this means that the entire grain (all 3 parts) is left intact. When the food is refined or milled (like in white bread), this means the bran and most of the germ has been removed during processing.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that at least half the grain you consume daily should come from whole grains. To do so, choose 100% whole grain over refined bread varieties.

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10 Main Dishes Made With Whole Grains

by in Healthy Recipes, September 16, 2012

risotto
Celebrate Whole Grains Month this September by using more as your main meal. Quinoa, brown rice, whole-grain pasta, barley, and bulgur – dig into these mouthwatering whole grain recipes.

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Popcorn: Is It Healthy?

by in Is It Healthy?, September 14, 2012

popcorn
Is popcorn healthy? The answer to this question: it depends. There are so many types to choose from: kettle corn, movie popcorn, microwave, air-popped and pre-popped, flavored varieties. Some choices are definitely much healthier than others.

Yes?
Air-popped popcorn is a whole grain and has between 30-55 calories per cup. It also has 5% of your daily recommended amount of fiber and is brimming with polyphenols, an antioxidant substance that has been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. It can be made without the addition of oil as seen in this Food Network Kitchens’ homemade microwave popcorn recipe—made in a brown paper lunch bag!

With air-popped popcorn, you can control the added calories when it comes to add-ons like salt, Parmesan cheese, oil or butter. Check out or tips on making your own.

You can also find microwave in lighter and 100-calorie pack varieties to help you control the calories.

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The Fastest Breakfasts for Busy Mornings

by in Back to School, September 13, 2012

smoothies
If you’ve got a hectic household like me, you know the CRAZINESS that ensues every morning. Three kids to dress and feed, dealing with last-minute dilemmas plus I need to be in tip-top shape for work. Here are nutrition-packed, quick go-to breakfast options for any sort of time crunch.

If you have 15 Minutes:
There’s just enough time to quickly cook some warmer breakfast fare.

Egg Wraps
Scrambled eggs wrapped in a whole-wheat or flour tortilla with salsa or cheese. What could be better?

Oatmeal
If you’re cooking during your morning rush, choose quick-cooking oats. You can also cook the oatmeal the night before, store in the fridge, and microwave quickly in the morning.

Smoked Salmon

Smoked salmon, cream cheese and sliced veggies make Ellie’s New York Breakfast a delicious and quick option.

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