All Posts By Toby Amidor

Nutrition Expert at FoodNetwork.com

Taste Test: Healthier Crackers

by in Taste Test, June 21, 2014

crackers
Have you  browsed the cracker aisle lately? In addition to stocking the classic varieties, shelves are overflowing with versions made from whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. But are these options really what they’re cracked up to be?

The Criteria
For this taste test, we chose the plain or original flavor crackers. Each was tasted alone, without any toppings or condiments. The crackers were rated on calories, fat, fiber and sodium, along with ingredients (including preservatives and additives), flavor, texture and cost. Each brand was rated on a 5-point scale, with 5 being highest.

Kashi Original 7 Grain Snack Crackers (above)
Rating: 5.0
Cost (per ounce): $0.44
Nutrition Info (per serving: 15 crackers): 120 calories; 3.5 grams total fat; 160 milligrams sodium; 3 grams fiber
The Healthy Eats Take: With plenty of crackers per serving (15!) and a respectable amount of fiber, these delicious crackers won’t leave you hungry. The snacks have a hearty crunch and a well-rounded list of whole-grain ingredients, including millet, oats, hard red wheat, brown rice, barley, buckwheat and sesame seeds.

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Should You Skip Breakfast? (Sorry, the Answer Is Still No.)

by in Healthy Tips, June 19, 2014

egg in a hole
A study published earlier this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that skipping breakfast doesn’t affect weight loss in dieters. But if you think the findings offer permission to skip breakfast, think again.

The Study
Researchers examined the effect of skipping or eating breakfast on weight loss in 309 healthy overweight and obese people who ranged in age from 20 to 65. One group ate breakfast before 10 a.m., while the second group didn’t eat anything before 11 a.m. A third group consisting of 44 people who normally skipped breakfast and 52 people who normally ate breakfast were not given any instruction.

The study found that eating or skipping breakfast did not affect weight loss one way or the other. But does it truly not matter if you bypass breakfast?

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News Update: FDA Hints at Releasing Long-Awaited Salt Guidelines

by in Food News, June 18, 2014

bowl of salt
As blood pressure and health care costs for chronic disease continue to rise, the Food and Drug Administration is preparing to issue new guidelines on sodium. Americans currently take in about 3,400 milligrams (or 1½ teaspoons) of salt each day, a number well above the 2,300 milligrams per day (or 1 teaspoon) recommended upper limit. By advising food companies and restaurants to reduce sodium level in foods, the FDA hopes to lower the incidence of high blood pressure, strokes and other medical problems.

Voluntary Cutbacks
Talks of salt reduction have been swirling since 2010. Although the new salt guidelines were originally slated for release in 2013, the FDA told the Associated Press this week that the agency will be ready to issue the guidelines “relatively soon.” The FDA’s limits on sodium are expected to be voluntary, yet many food companies and retailers are planning to or have already cut back on salt in their products. Food giant ConAgra says it has already made a 20 percent reduction, while Walmart plans on slashing sodium by 25 percent in many products by next year. Subway restaurants have also claimed a 30 percent salt reduction in the chain’s offerings.

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What To Do When Food Gets Recalled?

by in Food News, Food Safety, June 2, 2014

paper plate and plastic utensils
With a number of sizable food recalls in recent news, it’s important to be aware of products that have been identified as posing a food safety risk and to know what to do when they are.

Recent Recalls
Walnuts and hummus dips were on the recent food recall hit list. Last month, Sherman Produce Company, based in St. Louis, voluntarily began recalling 241 cases of walnuts, after routine sampling of the product purchased by stores in Illinois and Missouri found traces of listeria. Also in May, Massachusetts food manufacturer Lansal Inc. (aka Hot Mama’s Foods) voluntarily pulled 14,860 pounds of their hummus in various retailers, including Target and Trader Joe’s. This was done after a single 10-ounce container tested positive for listeria.

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5 Star Ingredients of Latin Food with a Healthy Side

by in Healthy Recipes, May 29, 2014

pork tenderloin

The ingredients that make frequent appearances in the many variations of Latin cuisine are not only delicious, they can also provide numerous health benefits.

Guava
One delicious guava provides 37 calories, 3 grams of fiber and has twice the daily recommended dose of vitamin C. It’s also rich in potassium and phosphorus. Guava is also packed with the phytochemical quercetin, which may help reduce inflammation.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin a la Rodriguez with Guava Glaze and Orange-Habanero Mojo (above)

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What’s the Deal with Hemp?

by in Healthy Tips, April 26, 2014

hemp
Hemp products are making more appearances at health-food stores, but what exactly is the story with this plant? To answer just one burning question: Yes, hemp is a species of Cannabis sativa, but no, it’s not the same as marijuana.

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What are the Health Benefits of Passover Foods?

by in Healthy Holidays, April 14, 2014

matzo ball soup
This spring holiday is filled with more than just matzo. From traditional dishes to symbolic foods, the Passover feast is filled with a wide variety of good-for-you nutrients.

#1: Egg
Hard-boiled eggs mixed with salt water are served as an appetizer during the Passover feast.

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6 Healthy Eating Apps That Are Worth a Download

by in Healthy Tips, April 5, 2014

rhubarb

Whether by homing in on the nearest farmers market, creating a visual food diary or offering another easy way to eat better, these apps merit a spot on your smartphone.

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Taste Test: Frozen Burritos

by in Taste Test, April 4, 2014

burrito
As more burritos hit the frozen food aisle, Healthy Eats was curious to see which fit the “healthy” bill. Sure, making your own bundle of deliciousness is ideal — but sometimes you’re just in the mood for a grab-and-go meal. So which burrito to heat and eat?

The Criteria
Supermarket freezer cases are overflowing with burrito options, including vegetarian, beef and egg. But for the sake of simplicity, this taste test was narrowed down to chicken. Five brands of burrito were in the running, and each was heated in the microwave according to the manufacturer’s directions. The burritos were rated on calories, saturated fat and sodium, along with ingredients, flavor, texture and cost. Although some brands contain seemingly healthy ingredients, they can also have a laundry list of preservatives and additives. Each brand was rated on a 5-point scale, with 5 being highest.

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5 Foods That Should Always Be in Your Desk Drawer

by in Healthy Tips, March 30, 2014

popcorn
When hunger pangs strike in the middle of a busy work day, don’t run to the nearest vending machine. Stock your desk with these healthy picks.

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