All Posts By Toby Amidor

Nutrition Expert at FoodNetwork.com

Diet 101: DASH Diet

by in Diets & Weight Loss, March 22, 2012

dash dietThe Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet has been traditionally recommended for those with high blood pressure. However, this diet was recently ranked as the Best Overall Diet for Healthy Eating by U.S. News.

Overview
The DASH Diet was created by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in order to help prevent and lower high blood pressure (AKA hypertension). The diet promotes nutrients like potassium, calcium, fiber and protein, which have been shown help reduce high blood pressure. The plan emphasizes that you take in these nutrients by eating a variety of foods especially fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. High calorie meats (like red meat), high fat and high sugar foods are all discouraged, and reducing salt intake is encouraged. Although this plan was created for those with high blood pressure, it is no more than a well-balanced diet where whole foods are encouraged while high calorie and processed foods are discouraged.

The plan also encourages regular exercise and an overall healthy lifestyle including not smoking.

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Get Your Plate in Shape: Dinner

by in Healthy Recipes, March 21, 2012
sausage lasagna
A piece of this lasagna plus a green salad and even some dessert equals a well-balanced meal.

In honor of National Nutrition Month we’re giving you meal ideas that follow the USDA’s MyPlate recommendations. We’ve covered breakfast and lunch—now it’s dinner time.

The Guidelines
Ending the day with a well-balanced meal is important. This is your last big change to take in any nutrients you may not have gotten enough of during the day. For example, if you have pasta primavera for lunch, be sure to include 3 to 4 ounces of protein for dinner. If you didn’t get in all your fruits during the day, make sure to add one for dessert.

Meal 1: Lasagna
Sausage Lasagna
Green Salad With Strawberry-Balsamic Vinaigrette
Baked Banana With Cinnamon and Honey

Food groups: protein, grain, dairy, fruit, veggie

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Weight Loss Success Story: Comedian Lenny Clarke

by in Diets & Weight Loss, March 16, 2012

lenny clarke
Actor and comedian Lenny Clarke (star of Are You There, Chelsea? and Rescue Me) shed close to 200 pounds and has kept it off for 5 years. How’d he do it? I had the opportunity to chat with him about his weight loss success.

Q: You weighed 388 pounds, then went on Weight Watchers and lost 182 pounds. What was your “aha” moment that made you start taking action to lose weight?
Everything bad that I could do, I did do, including years of booze and drug abuse. To weigh myself, I had to go on a truck scale— at my heaviest it said 388 pounds. People were coming up to me and said “you look good” with horror in their eyes. They would rub my belly like Buddha and that was hurtful.

Even when I was filming my weight was an issue. During a scene in Fever Pitch, I was supposed to drive Jimmy Fallon to a baseball game. I was so fat I couldn’t fit behind the steering wheel and they needed to adjust it for me. When they shot There’s Something About Mary, I played the fireman who was supposed to come through the window to help Ben Stiller when he got himself stuck in his pants. I was too fat to fit through the window, so they needed to rewrite the scene.

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Get Your Plate in Shape: Lunch

by in Healthy Recipes, March 15, 2012
peanut butter and jelly sandwich
Pack a lunch that meets the MyPlate guidelines.

We’re continuing our celebration of National Nutrition Month; last week we gave you breakfast options that follow the USDA’s MyPlate guidelines; now on to lunch.

The Guidelines
The guidelines for lunch are pretty similar to breakfast. You want to make sure half of your plate is filled with fruit and veggies, ¼ with grains and ¼ with lean protein. Although the MyPlate photo shows milk as a side beverage, it’s not a must at every meal. You can get in your dairy in the form of low-fat or nonfat cheese or yogurt too.

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The Healthiest Social Pages

by in Healthy Tips, March 14, 2012
social pages
Who should you follow?

The food and nutrition information on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest can make your head swirl. With so much information, it’s also tough to know if you’re getting up-to-date reliable facts.  Here are our top recommendations.

Twitter
Some awesome tweeps to follow include:

Rebecca Subbiah RD
Founder of Chow and Chatter, Rebecca is a food blogger and dietitian in both the U.S. and U.K. Her tweets are full of excellent nutrition articles, tips, and healthy recipes.

Twitter handle: @chowandchatter

Rachel Begun
Registered dietitan and gluten-free guru Rachel Begun shares sound advice about going gluten-free and links out to tasty gluten-free products. She also sprinkles in some general nutrition info, too.

Twitter handle: @RachelBegunRD

Rebecca Scritchfield
Rebecca Scritchfield is a registered dietitian who encourages healthy food and daily movement and fun. She encourages putting #mefirst (so you’ll often see her using the hashtag). Her nutrition info is always informative and engaging.

Twitter handle: @ScritchfieldRD

Jill Weisenberger
A registered dietitian and diabetes expert, Jill provides a plethora of information, links and recipes.

Twitter handle: @nutritionjill

Food Safety News
This is a great resource to follow to keep up with food recalls and the latest food safety information.

Twitter handle: @foodsafetynews

And don’t forget to follow Healthy Eats on Twitter, plus our Healthy Eats writers: Toby Amidor, Dana White, Robin Miller, Katie Cavuto Boyle, Janel Funk and Silvana Nardone.

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Label Decoder: Carrageenan

by in Grocery Shopping, Label Decoder, March 13, 2012
dairy aisle
Carrageenan is on the ingredients list of many products in the dairy aisle, but what is it?

This ingredient is found in foods like ice cream, jelly and even infant formula. Find out what it does and if it’s safe to eat.

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Healthy Snacks to Grab on the Fly

by in Healthy Tips, March 12, 2012

lead
With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, there’s often very little time to plan for meals and snacks, let alone cook. So what do you do when your stomach grumbles when you’re on-the-run? If you’re super hungry, maybe you grab those month-old candies at the bottom of your purse or the candy bar sitting around since Halloween. It truly doesn’t have to be this way. With a little advanced planning and some creative HealthyEats ideas, you can grab nutritious and delicious snacks even on your busiest days.

Homemade

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Label Decoder: Diacetyl

by in Grocery Shopping, Label Decoder, March 9, 2012
popcorn
What's this movie night treat made with?

There’s no better snack for movie night at home than a bucket of buttery popcorn. But you may think twice about the microwave stuff after we tell you about and ingredient it contains, diacetyl, and the trouble it has caused.

What is it?
Diacetyl was first synthesized more than 80 years ago and can now be found in about 6,000 food products. It’s used as a preservative in unsalted butter to lengthen shelf life, but higher amounts are added to butter-flavored products like microwave popcorn, cooking oils and sprays and margarine.

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Get Your Plate in Shape: Breakfast

by in Healthy Recipes, March 8, 2012

myplateMarch is National Nutrition Month, and in honor of this official campaign sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, we’re giving you meal options that follow the USDA’s MyPlate guidelines. This week we’re hitting up 5 breakfast options.

The Guidelines
MyPlate is about giving you a visual of which foods should be on your plate at each meal. You want to build a healthy meal from the 5 food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, lean proteins and nonfat or low fat dairy. You don’t need to have all 5 groups on your plate at each meal, but you should focus on getting in as many as possible, especially fruits and veggies.

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Which is Healthier, Lasagna or Mac & Cheese?

by in Which is Healthier?, March 8, 2012
lasagna versus macaroni and cheese
Which is healthier?

Our next head-to-head battle is between two popular pasta entrées. We’re pitting cheesy layers of lasagna against gooey mac & cheese. Who’ll win this food fight?

Lasagna

Pros:
If your lasagna includes pasta, veggies, cheese and meat, you’ve got yourself a pretty balanced meal. Plus the tomato sauce is a great way to get in the antioxidant lycopene.

This dish is also easy to modify— pile on more veggies or eliminate the cheese to accomodate a dairy allergy. It’s also a very easy dish to cook and freeze in individual portions—a plus for those busy weeknights.

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