All Posts By Toby Amidor

Nutrition Expert at FoodNetwork.com

7 Signs You’re Getting Bad Nutrition Advice

by in Diets & Weight Loss, March 12, 2013

nutirition advice
There’s tons of nutrition information swirling around and oftentimes you’re left wondering what or who you should believe. Here are 7 signs that you’re receiving bad (and sometimes even dangerous) nutrition advice.

#1: Lack of Significant Research
Nutrition advice should be based on significant scientific research that was conducted in peer-reviewed journals over months or even better, years. The majority of the research will back up a specific theory with a few straggler studies that may point at the other side. If you’re being quoted a study, be sure what you are being told reflects all the research in that area. In addition, ask who sponsored the research as sponsored studies may be one sided. Oftentimes, this will raise a big red flag if someone hasn’t done their homework.

#2: Lots of Persuasive Anecdotes
You may find a diet or a diet expert with tons of followers who all swear that the diet plan or advice is THE BEST they ever followed. These folks will tell you how they lost hundreds of pounds—and that you will too.

Although it may sound like you MUST try it, it’s important to remember that every person is different and has individualized needs. Some diets or advice may be not be safe for folks on certain medications or with certain diseases (like Parkinson’s or diabetes), so you need to check with your doctor before trying anything new. It’s also important to make sure the science is also there to back the advice up — just relying on anecdotes just isn’t enough.

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Order This, Not That: Five Guys

by in Dining Out, March 7, 2013

5 Guys Burger
This chain has been popping up all everywhere — there are over 1,000 locations nationwide. Find out what you should order when you stop by this booming burger and fry joint.

ORDER: Simple and “Little”

It’s tough to navigate this predominately high-calorie and high-sodium menu if you’re trying to stick to a healthy eating plan but it is possible.

If you’re itching for the Five Guys famous burger, the Bunless Little Hamburger is your best bet with 220 calories, 17 grams of fat, and 50 milligrams of sodium. Ask for veggie toppings like mushrooms, green peppers, onions, jalapeno, lettuce and tomatoes for between 3 to 10 calories each per serving.

If you’re more of a hot dog fan, the Bunless Hot Dog weighs in at 285 calories, 26 grams of fat and 800 milligrams sodium. Again, add veggies to add bulk to your meal with minimal calories.

Looking for a meatless dish? The Veggie Sandwich has 440 calories, 15 grams fat, and 1040 mg sodium.

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14 Healthy Slow-Cooker Recipes

by in Healthy Recipes, March 5, 2013

slow-cooker soup
Relieve your dinnertime stress by making a slow-cooker meal. Toss the ingredients in this easy-to-use countertop appliance, press the button, and enjoy a delicious meal a few hours later. Eating healthier couldn’t be any simpler!

Soups
A great dinner can be as simple as a warming soup and salad. Pair one of these on these delicious soups with a homemade salad using whatever veggies are in your refrigerator.

Pork Dishes
Lean cuts of pork are brimming with energy-boosting B-vitamins—just one of the reasons pork made our top-5 list of energy-boosting foods.

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Talking to Matthew Wagner: Creator of the Perfectly-Portioned Office Treat

by in Food News, March 5, 2013

candy machines
When I head to the Food Network offices for a meeting, I always pass by the cutest vending machines that dispense a handful of treats for a quarter (or two). Little did I know that the creator of these perfectly-portioned snacks, Matthew Wagner, lives down the street from me—and that I was friends with his charming wife! Over dinner one night I got the inside scoop on how Wagner Vending came to be. This inspirational story is one I had to share.

Q: The idea of Wagner Vending is to provide small portions of snack foods (like chocolate-covered almonds) without going overboard. How did you come up with the idea to create the company?

I’ve always been into fitness and staying in shape. Ever since I saw my older cousin lifting weights, I became hooked. When I was 12 years old, I decided I wanted to strive for a strong, powerful physique, but I’ve also always had a real sweet tooth. By the age of 26, I lived in New York City and was working as a broker for a large commercial real estate company. The compensation was pure commission and the job was high stress. I was full of energy and drive but I wasn’t happy with the direction of my career. My office had one of those large vending machines which I  visited daily after lunch. One day, I bought a bag of M&Ms and as I sat there enjoying my snack I began to contemplate how I could get out of this stressful job — what else I could do? Before I knew it, I devoured the bag of M&Ms and calculated an additional ½ hour of cardio to burn those extra calories. I wished I only ate half the bag or a healthier snack instead. But it’s impossible just to eat ½ the bag once you start. I needed portion control!

And that’s the moment when the idea of my business came to me.  My vision was the old-time gum ball machines that were in front of the supermarket—for a coin you’d receive a handful of candy. I wanted to purchase attractive machines and fill them with delicious gourmet and healthy upscale snacks (like dark chocolate almonds and trail mix) and place them in office pantries so people could enjoy a portioned-controlled, healthy treat. So I took a risk, scraped some money together and purchased 6 machines.

The first machines were placed in some of the offices where I’d made real estate deals. I’d swing by the offices daily hoping the machines would empty. In the meantime, I was still working at the real estate firm and would carry in a large suitcase with all of the candy to fill my new venture. I would tell co-workers who inquired that I was carrying workout clothes and my own weights. After two weeks of doing this, I returned to the machines to find them empty. Boy was I thrilled! Finally the day arrived when I said goodbye to commercial real estate and focused on my own vending company, Wagner Vending.

When the company began in 1996, I canvased the entire Empire State Building from the top floor to the bottom to secure accounts. Now in 2013, I have 1,500 machines in offices within New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

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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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