All Posts By Toby Amidor

Nutrition Expert at FoodNetwork.com

The 7 Worst Calorie Offenders at Your Christmas Table

by in Healthy Holidays, December 21, 2016

The holidays are flowing with food and drink, but Christmas dinner is the ultimate over-the-top meal of the season. Although you should enjoy delicious food at your Christmas feast, you don’t need to feel bloated and have indigestion at the end of the night. Certain dishes, however, rack up the calories more than others. Here are the seven worst calorie offenders at the Christmas table.

  1. Eggnog

One cup of eggnog on average contains 340 calories, 21 grams of sugar and 56 percent of the daily recommended maximum of artery-clogging saturated fat. If you’re a heavy cream fan, know that it adds 50 extra calories per tablespoon. If you like your eggnog spiked, add about 150 calories per 1 1/2 fluid ounces. When all is said and done, you’re talking more like over 500 calories a drink.

Instead try: Food Network Kitchen’s Low-Fat Eggnog

  1. Prime Rib

Ribs just scream calories, with one serving of prime rib (about six to eight ribs) providing over 1,600 calories. Many folks can easily down six ribs, but let’s not forget the additional calories that will be consumed from the rest of the food on the table.

Instead try: Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Pepper and Black Olive Sauce Read more

Hanukkah Un-fried

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, December 17, 2016

Greasy latkes and jelly-filled doughnuts top the list of traditional foods eaten during the festival of lights. But after you’ve eaten these fried goodies for eight straight days, it starts to take a toll on your waistline. Instead, you can enjoy these traditional Hanukkah foods without all that oil-frying.

Latkes

Also known as potato pancakes, these babies can be baked instead of fried. They can also be pan-fried in a few tablespoons of oil to give them crispiness, and then finished in the oven. Or, shake things up by using sweet potatoes or a combo of shredded parsnips, carrots or zucchini and potatoes. Here are two latke recipes to try, plus a few homemade applesauce recipes for dunking: Read more

Healthy Hanukkah Appetizers and Desserts

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, December 14, 2016

The Jewish festival of lights is filled with potato pancakes, jelly doughnuts and chocolate. Instead of making it a holiday celebration of calories, offer a variety of eye-appealing, delicious foods that friends and family will enjoy —including a lighter take on the traditional doughnut. Read more

Trend Alert: Foods with Moringa

by in Food News & Trends, December 4, 2016

Commonly seen as a supplement, moringa (botanical name: moringa oleifera) is now being added to foods. Find out where you can find these foods, and whether they’re worth the money.

About Moringa

Moringa is a plant native to the sub-Himalayan areas of Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The plant can withstand both terrible drought and also mild frost, which means it can grow in a wide variety of areas throughout the world. You could consider it a “super plant” because it can withstand such harsh weather conditions.

The Nutrition

The entire plant, including the leaves, bark, flowers, fruit, seeds and root, contains a plethora of nutrients, which is why moringa has become such a popular supplement.  The leaves, which can be eaten fresh or dried, contain minerals like calcium, zinc, potassium, magnesium, iron and copper. The plant also contains vitamin A, numerous B vitamins, and vitamins C, D and E, along with protein and healthy fat. The plant also provides numerous plant chemicals that help fight and prevent disease, such as flavonoids and saponins.

Although advocates claim that moringa can help conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, a 2012 review paper published in Frontiers in Pharmacology determined that there isn’t enough scientific research and data to show how much moringa is safe to take and what the side effects of consuming it are. Read more

The New World of Lean Meats

by in Food & Nutrition Experts, December 3, 2016

If you’re trying to eat healthy and select lean proteins, facing the meat case may be overwhelming. You can now find more cuts of meat and poultry than ever before, and knowing how to cook them can get confusing. Here’s a low-down on how to make sense of the meat and poultry case.

Defining “Lean”
The 2015 dietary guidelines for Americans recommended choosing lean protein. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration food labeling criteria, to be labeled as “lean,” the cut of meat must be less than 10 percent fat by weight, or it must contain less than 10 grams of fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol and a maximum of 4.5 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams. “Extra lean” contains less than 5 grams of total fat, less than 2 grams of saturated fat and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 100 grams.

All of the following proteins are “complete,” meaning they provide all nine essential amino acids that your body needs. However, portion control is of upmost importance. Aim for 3- to 4-ounce portions and serve with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low or nonfat dairy for a well-balanced and varied diet. Read more

Host a Healthy Holiday Open House

by in Healthy Holidays, November 30, 2016

The holiday season has become so hectic and overscheduled that finding a night to throw a dinner party or cocktail soiree has become nearly impossible. One solution is hosting a laid-back holiday open house, which allows guests to come and go as they please after crossing some holiday shopping off their lists. These shindigs run for about four hours during a weekend afternoon, and the flexibility can help minimize holiday stress for the host and guests alike. Plus, typical open-house fare is cocktails and light bites, which means you won’t bust a pant button on your way out. Use these tips and recipes to help you host a tasty and healthy open house this holiday season. Cheers!

Keeping Things Light

Delicious and healthy can go hand in hand if you follow these tips.

Minimize fried goodies: There are many finger foods and apps to choose that don’t need to be fried.

Add color: Select recipes with seasonal fruits and veggies for gorgeous eye appeal. Fruits and veggies also tend to be light in calories.

Go for lean protein: Choose lean cuts of beef, pork, chicken, and turkey to help keep foods healthier, or opt for fish like salmon or tuna (to boost Omega-3s) and shellfish like shrimp and crab.

Offer small plates: Eating off smaller-sized plates means less food (or at least more trips to the buffet table to get the same amount of food). Instead of 9-inch dinner plates, offer smaller sized dishes.

Use a jigger: To keep calories from alcohol under control and prevent guests from getting overserved, use a jigger to measure alcohol instead of “eyeballing it” when making cocktails.

Offer low- and no-calorie beverages: Serve unsweetened iced tea, hot tea and coffee, and sparkling water with a twist of fruit as low-cal options. Read more

8 Healthy Food Trends to Look For in 2017

by in Food News & Trends, November 13, 2016

This year’s Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo took place in Boston, where I got a firsthand view of the latest foods that you’ll be seeing at your local market. Here’s the inside scoop on eight of these trends.

Pea Protein
The hottest trend in protein comes from pea powder. Bob’s Red Mill sells Pea Protein Powder to add to smoothies, shakes and baked goods. It contains 21 grams of protein per serving and is gluten-free. Earth Balance has also released a Protein Peanut Blend, which is a combo of peanuts and pea protein. It provides 180 calories and 9 grams of protein per 2 tablespoon serving.

Healthier Vending Machines
PepsiCo showcased its new innovative vending machine at the conference. Hello Goodness (pictured above) is a temperature-controlled vending machine that offers healthier on-the-go snack foods like Smartfood Delight Popcorn, Sabra Ready-to-Eat Hummus Cups and Quaker Real Medley Bars. On the machine is a touchscreen that allows customers to find product nutrition info, food and beverage pairing suggestions, and an Apple Pay option. Several thousand of these machines have been placed in select health care, recreational, transportation, governmental, workplace and educational facilities.

FODMAP Foods
The FODMAP diet trend, though created for those with irritable bowel syndrome, has grown in mainstream popularity. Fody is a company that has created FODMAP-approved products, including marinara sauce, salsa and BBQ sauce. Read more

9 Recipes for Hot Toddy Season

by in Healthy Recipes, November 11, 2016

’Tis the season to cozy up with warm bevvies. But be careful: Many drinks are liquid calorie traps, as calories and sugar can get out of control. Enjoy these hot toddies for under 300 calories per serving.

Nonalcoholic

Mulled Cider (pictured above)
Mixing apple cider with cinnamon, allspice and cloves makes a delicious toddy that’s low in calories.

Ginger Spiced Hot Cocoa
There’s nothing better than a warming cup of hot cocoa on a cold day, especially with a touch of soothing ginger.

Orange Tea with Honey
Flavor your everyday tea with orange and lemon peels, which add a bright dose of cold-fighting vitamin C. Read more

Building a Better Nacho

by in Food & Nutrition Experts, Healthy Recipes, November 5, 2016

This Tex-Mex favorite can rack up the calories and fat rather quickly. Instead of ruining your healthy eating plan, use these tips to lighten up this popular appetizer.

Holy Nacho Calories!

Head to the Cheesecake Factory and order the Factory Nachos with Spicy Chicken and that’ll cost you 965 calories, 31 grams of saturated fat, 52 grams of carbs and 1,390 milligrams of sodium. At home, the numbers can be similar if you pile on chili, sour cream, guac and other calorie-laden toppers. Making your own allows you to control the ingredients and portions so you can enjoy the game while indulging in a lightened-up version.

The Base

With a plethora of chips hitting market shelves, you can now find better-for-you varieties that are made with whole grains and contain more fiber. Some chips to choose from include:

Remember, it’s still about portion size, so aim for 1 ounce (about 15 chips) per serving. Read more

Exploring The MIND Diet

by in Cookbooks, October 29, 2016

Diets come and go, but the MIND Diet has the potential to cut the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in half and keep the brain more than seven years younger. The author of The MIND Diet, nutrition expert Maggie Moon, M.S., RDN, claims this approach to nutrition “is heart-healthy and a solid foundation for healthy eating for just about anyone.” So what exactly does the MIND Diet entail?

The Origin of MIND
The MIND Diet is a cross between the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH Diet. “MIND” stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. The diet was developed by researchers at Rush University who created a nutrition plan shown to help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by more than one-third. In this prospective study, 923 people between the ages of 58 and 98 were followed for four-and-a-half years while following the Mediterranean Diet, the DASH Diet and the MIND Diet. Those who adhered to the MIND Diet the most reduced their risk for Alzheimer’s by 53 percent compared with those who did not adhere closely to the diet. Even those who partially adhered to the MIND Diet were still able to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 35 percent compared with those who did not follow the diet.

The Diet
The original diet was developed by Martha Clare Morris, Ph.D., a nutritional epidemiologist at Rush University in Chicago, and her colleagues, who identified 10 “brain-healthy food groups” that were brimming with antioxidants, resveratrol and healthy fatty acids. These foods included berries, green leafy vegetables, olive oil, nuts, whole grains, fish and beans. According to the researchers, strawberries and blueberries were shown to be the most-potent berries in terms of protecting against Alzheimer’s and preserving cognitive function. Read more