All Posts By Toby Amidor

Nutrition Expert at FoodNetwork.com

Ask the Dietitian: Does Lemon Juice Speed Weight Loss?

by in Ask the Experts, Diets & Weight Loss, March 1, 2013

lemon juice
I’ve been approached with this question more times that I can remember. If you’re looking for a quick-fix weight-loss solution, this isn’t it.

Q: Does drinking lemon just help with or speed up weight loss?

A: If you’re looking to lose weight or speed up your efforts, it’s all about eating right and regular physical activity. Sipping on lemon juice or adding lemon juice to warm water isn’t the magic solution.

There are many myths surrounding lemon juice that just don’t have the scientific evidence to back them up. I’ve heard that lemon juice improves digestion and regulates sugar absorption — both don’t have enough scientific evidence to make strong claims. One of my favorite myths is squeezing lemon juice on chicken in order to melt the fat away– unfortunately, that’s an unfounded claim. Acidic ingredients like lemon juice, however, are used in marinades to help tenderize meat and poultry by breaking down collagen, a fibrous compound that aids in the formation of connective tissue.

A second myth that’s often discussed around the water cooler is that when lemon juice is mixed with cold or lukewarm water it’ll dissolve fat in your body. Again, this doesn’t happen metabolically, though drinking more water (cold or lukewarm) will help you stay hydrated.

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10 Casseroles With 500 Calories (or Less!)

by in Healthy Recipes, February 28, 2013

mexican casserole
Casseroles are perfect when temps dips below freezing, and they’re convenient too — everything’s all in one dish. Whether you like them for breakfast, lunch or dinner, warm up to any of these lighter casseroles — each has 500 calories or less.

Breakfast Casseroles
Weekends are a good time to whip up a breakfast casserole. An egg dish or a French toast bake will help start your day off right.

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12 Healthy Recipes Made With Canned Tomatoes

by in Healthy Recipes, February 18, 2013

chicken parmesan
When fresh tomatoes aren’t in season, turn to canned as a healthy alternative. Check out these 12 ways to incorporate canned tomatoes into recipes.

Health Benefits
Canned tomatoes are low in calories and brimming with fiber, iron, and vitamins B6 and C. They’re also an excellent source of lycopene, an antioxidant that can help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer and macular degeneration (an eye disease that occurs in older folks).

When purchasing canned tomatoes, look for “no added salt” versions—you can always add salt at the end if the dish needs it. For those worried about BPA, companies like Eden Foods sell BPA-free canned tomatoes.

Chicken Parmesan
Using no-salt added crushed tomatoes keeps sodium at bay in this lightened version of an Italian classic.

Recipe: Lightened Chicken and Eggplant Parmesan (above)

Enchiladas
Tyler uses canned stewed tomatoes to make the delicious filling in his chicken enchiladas.

Recipe: Chicken Enchiladas

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How Much Fruit Should You Eat?

by in Grocery Shopping, February 14, 2013

blueberries
The serving size for any food isn’t “one size fits all.” It depends on numerous factors like the food group, shape and nutrients provided. I’ll layout your standard fruit serving sizes and delve into the nitty-gritty details of some not-so-traditional foods (like those squeezable fruit pouches) so you’ll know what one serving of fruit actually is.

The Recommendations
According to the USDA’s MyPlate, any fruit or 100% fruit juice can make up a serving of fruit. Fresh, canned, frozen, freeze-dried, dried, whole, cut up and pureed fruit all count. How much fruit you need each day varies by gender, age, and level of physical activity. Here are the guidelines for men and women ages 19 and older:

Women:

  • 19 to 30 years: 2 cups
  • 31 years and older: 1 ½ cups

Men:

  • 19 years and older: 2 cups

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Romantic Valentine’s Day Recipes

by in Healthy Recipes, Valentine's Day, February 12, 2013

champagne cocktails
Whip up a deliciously romantic menu for your Valentine’s date. These dishes will surely set the mood; pick a few of your favorites and serve them by candlelight.

Sexy Cocktails

Mouthwatering Mains

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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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