All Posts By Toby Amidor

Nutrition Expert at FoodNetwork.com

Is Your Job Killing You?

by in Healthy Tips, June 24, 2013

sitting at work
Hours of sitting at your desk, trips to the vending machine, stress, lack of sleep . . . is your job bad for your health? Get out of these 5 terrible work habits and create lifelong healthier ones.

1. Too Much Tushie Time
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that sitting for a prolonged period of time increases your risk of death—even if you DO engage in regular physical activity. Folks who sat for more than 11 hours a day had a 40 percent higher chance of dying within the next 3 years over those who only sat for 4 hours a day. Furthermore, those who sat between 8 to 11 hours a day had a 15 percent higher chance of dying compared with those who sat fewer than 4 hours a day.

In addition to working, we spend a lot of time lounging out in front of the TV, driving, and eating which all count as sitting-down time.

Solve it: Use small windows of opportunity to get up and walking. Use your lunch break to take a walk around the block, stand up during long calls or use wireless headsets that allow you to easily pace around, or get off a stop earlier on the bus or subway.

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The Best Beverages For Your Health

by in Healthy Tips, June 20, 2013

healthy beverages
When it comes to healthy beverage choices, water tends to always top the list. But where do other favorites like juice, coffee, tea, milk, and even alcohol fit into a healthy lifestyle?

So Many Choices?!
With so many beverages lining store shelves plus media hubbub swirling about the so-called positive and negative effects of various drinks, what you should be sipping? Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition reviewed the wide selection of beverages available and ranked them into 6 levels based on the amount of calories, good-for-you nutrients, and scientific evidence on the negative and positive effects on health. Not too surprising, water topped the list, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only healthy choice.

Top Beverage Choices
Unsweetened tea, coffee and milk have a place in your healthy eating plan, while juice, alcohol and sweetened beverages should be consumed sparingly.

Water
Water helps restore fluid losses and helps rehydrate your body. Although we’re often told to drink 8 cups of water each day, the amount of water we need varies from person to person. It depends on the amount of food you eat, how active you are and the climate you live in. Most people get about 80% of their fluids from beverages, the rest comes from food. The Institute of Medicine’s guidelines are 15 cups per day for men and 11 cups per day for women (coming from a combo of food and drinks).

Tea and Coffee
Tea and coffee are two of the most commonly consumed beverages in the world. Without all the fancy add-ins (like whipped cream, shaved chocolate, heavy cream), they can provide numerous nutritional benefits and help meet your daily fluid requirements. Green tea has been touted for helping prevent heart disease while coffee has been shown to have explosive amounts of cell-protecting antioxidants. Although studies have found that up to 3 or so cups of coffee or tea are okay, these drinks also tend to leach out calcium and iron, so try to keep it to that amount.

Low-Fat, Skim and Soy Milk
Milk provides 9 essential nutrients including protein, calcium, and vitamin D. The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines recommended choosing low-fat or fat-free (AKA skim) milk to minimize saturated fat and cholesterol. Drinking milk and soy milk can also help you meet the recommended 3 servings of dairy each day.

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Is Prep Time Cutting Into Your Exercise Time?

by in Healthy Tips, June 19, 2013

cutting vegetables
Having hectic work schedules, family life, and a social life leaves us pressed for time when it comes to taking care of ourselves. Although folks are starting to cook more at home, new data shows that it may be cutting into our exercise time. Are we stuck in a new catch-22 or can we find time to do it all?

The Study
Data from the U.S. Census from over 112,000 U.S. adults found that when folks take an additional 10-minutes to prepare meals, they are more likely to exercise for 10 fewer minutes. This was found in both men and women, single and married people and those with and without kids. On average, participants spent an average of less than an hour on both exercise and meal prep on the same day. The big takeaway from this study is that one healthy behavior can take time away from another. It also highlights the importance of planning out your meals and exercise time.

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13 Healthy Steak Recipes

by in Healthy Recipes, June 15, 2013


In my house, we always grill steaks for dad on Father’s Day. The secrets to making a steak dinner a healthy one are simple: it’s all a matter of buying the right cuts of beef and making sure portions aren’t outrageous.

Healthier Cuts
Lighter cuts of beef include flank steak, top loin, sirloin, T-bone, filet mignon, and tenderloin. Trim off any visible fat before adding your marinade or rub. Grilling your steak will also allow even more fat to drip off.

Aim for 6-ounces of raw steak and get rid of that bottled sauce. Flavor the steak using fresh herbs, spices, fruits, veggies and other wholesome ingredients. Make a batch of Dana’s Spicy Montreal Steak Seasoning and send the other dads home with their own jar.

Use our lightened-up steak ideas on your favorite dad-worthy recipe, or surprise dad with one of our favorite healthy steak recipes this weekend.

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28 Healthy Father’s Day Recipes

by in Healthy Recipes, June 12, 2013

cheeseburgers
Dad deserves delicious grub on his special day but he doesn’t have to know it’s good for him. Cook him any of these mouthwatering dishes and feel good that you’re feeding him healthy eats.

Starters

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The Healthiest Restaurant Mexican Food Options

by in Dining Out, June 11, 2013

steak taco
If you think a night out at a Mexican restaurant will sabotage your healthy eating plan, think again! With a little knowledge and planning, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Chipotle Mexican Grill
After playing around with their nutrition calculator, I found the most balanced option was a salad with lettuce, 1 serving of steak, black beans, green tomatilla salsa and fajita veggies.

Nutrition Info: Calories: 355; Total Fat: 8 grams; Saturated Fat: 2 grams; Protein: 40 grams; Carbohydrates: 34 grams; Sodium: 975 milligrams

If you’re in the mood for a taco, choose the soft corn tortilla and one protein (chicken, steak, barbacoa, or carnitas) and top with veggies (lettuce and fajita veggies) and your favorite salsa. This will give you a nutritious meal for around 400 calories.

Check out more healthy Chipotle options.

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Food Fight: Turkey Burger vs. Beef Burger

by in Uncategorized, June 7, 2013

burgers
It’s an all-out war! With grilling season here, which type of burger should you be tossing on the barbecue?

Turkey Burger
Ground turkey has a reputation for being a very lean meat, but that’s only the case if you choose ground turkey breast. Unless otherwise specified, the dark turkey meat and skin gets mixed in with the light making it fattier than you may think.

A 4-ounce cooked turkey burger (made from a combo of dark and light meat) has 193 calories, 11 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat and 22 grams of protein. It’s an excellent source of niacin and selenium and a good source of vitamin B6, phosphorus and zinc. Choosing ground turkey made from only breast will have 150 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, and 0 grams saturated fat. Since it’s so lean, it can end up being too dry and not-so-tasty.

Undercooked ground turkey has been associated with salmonella, so make sure your turkey burger is safe to eat by cooking it to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Check that the proper temperature is reached by using a thermometer.

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20 Healthy Picnic Salads

by in Healthy Recipes, June 6, 2013

farro salad
Need a few new ideas for picnic side dishes? Here are 20 mouthwatering salads you can easily tote along for your next outdoor shindig.

Packing Your Salad
Be sure to pack your salad safely to avoid potential illness. If you’re heading on a long drive, keep it in a cooler surrounded with ice. If you also have raw meat, chicken, or hot dogs, those should be packed in a separate cooler to avoid cross-contamination. The cooler should be stored in the air-conditioned car, not in the hot trunk or roof rack.

To avoid a soggy leafy green salad, pack the salad and dressing separately in the cooler and mix them together right before serving.

Grain & Legume-Based Salads

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5 Reasons to Eat Breakfast

by in Healthy Tips, May 28, 2013

chocolate oatmeal
A recent survey found that 31 million people—about 1 in 10 Americans – skip breakfast every day. But there’s no need to go all out with an over-the-top breakfast spread. All you need is a few quick and easy healthy choices to take full advantage of the benefits. If you’re STILL not a breakfast believer, these 5 reasons will have you re-thinking your philosophy.

#1: Quick Fix of Essential Nutrients
Wake up and give your body and quick boost of many much needed nutrients. Easy-to-prepare foods can give you a terrific nutritional bang for your buck. Milk and dairy products have you taking in 9 essential nutrients in one shot plus they can help you meet your recommended 3 servings of dairy for the day. Fruits are brimming with vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals (plant compounds that help prevent and fight disease). And starting the day off with whole grains can help meet the Dietary Guidelines recommendation to make half your daily grains whole.

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Should You Follow an Acid-Alkaline Diet?

by in Diets & Weight Loss, May 24, 2013

acid-alkaline diet
Should you follow an acid-alkaline diet? This question was the hot topic at the last cocktail party I attended. The answer, however, isn’t as straightforward as it’s made out to be.

What’s the pH Diet?
The theory behind this plan is that if you consume loads of acid-producing foods it will lead to a metabolic imbalance. The body will try very hard to regain its equilibrium, making you sick in the process.

The diet claims that if you eat more alkaline and less acid-forming foods, it will help reduce inflammation and increase your resistance to disease.

According to the diet, you should be eating 80% alkaline-forming foods and 20% acid-forming foods. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association determined how different foods affect the urine’s acidity. The results found that the most acid-forming foods included poultry, fish, dairy products, meat, caffeine, sugar and salt. Grains were found to be slightly acid forming. The most alkaline-forming foods were fruits and vegetables.

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