All Posts By Toby Amidor

Nutrition Expert at FoodNetwork.com

Ask the Dietitian: All About Cholesterol

by in Healthy Tips, November 11, 2011
cholesterol
Concerned about cholesterol? Get the facts.

When it comes to our cholesterol, there’s a lot of confusing information out there. So we asked our Facebook fans their burning cholesterol questions. Here are two great questions about cholesterol that many dietitians are commonly asked.

Q: I read that the cholesterol you eat does not affect your cholesterol numbers, but rather it’s the saturated fat you need to watch. Is this true? Can I eat shellfish and lean meat and not worry about my cholesterol?

A: It’s true that saturated fat influences your cholesterol numbers more than the cholesterol you eat.

Studies show that it’s really the saturated fat found in foods like whole milk and dairy products, baked goods, fatty beef, pork, and lamb and chicken (especially the skin) that have a bigger influence on raising your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. Shellfish are high in cholesterol, but they’re pretty low in calories and saturated fat too. Three ounces of raw shrimp has 90 calories, 1 gram fat, minimal saturated fat, and 129 milligrams of cholesterol (which is 43 percent of your daily recommended amount of cholesterol). Moderation is still important. You can get a low-calorie meal with a 3 to 4 ounce portion of shellfish and still be within your recommended amount of cholesterol for the day. The same goes for eating lean meats. You don’t need to be afraid to incorporate these “high” cholesterol foods into your diet. Many of them are actually good for you.

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Get The Facts: Melon Safety

by in Food News, Food Safety, November 9, 2011
canteloupe
Is your melon safe?

The recent Listeria outbreak has made us aware that our food supply isn’t as safe as we may think. This isn’t the first time melon has caused illness or even death. Here’s a look at melon outbreaks and simple tips to keep your loved ones safe.

Past Melon Outbreaks
Sliced melon is no stranger to foodborne illness. It’s considered a potentially hazardous food, meaning a food that has the ability for bacteria to grow and thrive. One of the most memorable stories I can recall happened in 2000. A 2-year old girl fell ill and died after eating at a Milwaukee Sizzler. Although the girl never ate the E. Coli tainted ground beef, it was argued that the sliced melon she ate contained the bacteria. The alleged faux pas made during preparation was cross-contamination.

The recent outbreak of cantaloupe has shed light on the importance of keeping melon safe. As of today, 133 people have become ill and 28 have died throughout 26 states from Listeria-tainted cantaloupe. Although Jensen Farms in Colorado recalled the cantaloupes on September 14, symptoms of Listeria can take up to 2 months to appear. So the numbers can still go up through November.

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Recipe Essentials: Mashes

by in Healthy Recipes, November 7, 2011
mashed potatoes
Alton Brown's Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes

Fall is in full swing and Thanksgiving is around the corner. Fun mash ingredients like potatoes, parsnips, acorn squash, carrots, turnips are all in season. Now’s the time to practice your mashes!

Mash Basics
A mash is usually made from vegetables, a touch of liquid like milk or butter, and seasonings. Once you get the hang of it, you can mix and match your favorite veggies and flavors.

The first step is to choose the veggie or veggies to mash. Once you do so, wash, peel, and trim them. Cut into uniform sized pieces so they’re evenly cooked. Be sure the pieces aren’t too small, or they end up absorbing too much water resulting in a runny mash.

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Herb of the Month: Rosemary

by in In Season, November 4, 2011
rosemary
This herb will add loads of flavor without extra calories.

Fresh herbs are becoming tougher to find as the weather becomes colder. Luckily, rosemary is still available, so grab a bunch while you still can!

Rosemary Basics
This symbol of love and fidelity is a member of the mint family. It has needle-shaped leaves that are very fragrant with hints of both pine and lemon. Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean, but today is grown in France, Spain, and the United States where California is the main grower of the herb. Popular varieties for cooking include “Tuscan Blue,” “Spice Island,” and “Miss Jessup.”

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Non-Messy Kids’ Snacks

by in Healthy Tips, Kid-Friendly, November 3, 2011
kids ans snacks Grapes, carrots and cucumber slices aren’t so messy.

I have 3 kids with completely different personalities, but one thing is for sure—they’re all messy eaters. Like most moms, cleaning up after their mess becomes never-ending and frustrating. There are several things I do to make snacking less messy, especially when I’m on the go. Hopefully these tips can clean a little mess out of your life.

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America’s Worst Eating Habits

by in Healthy Tips, November 2, 2011

kids eating in front of tv
Don’t you wish there were 25 hours in a day so you can get more of your “to do” list done? This is the mentality of many Americans as they rush to balance work and home life. As a result, we end up having terrible eating habits by shoving food down our throats without taking time to enjoy it. Here are some of the worst eating habits we see every day.

#1: Eating in front of a screen
How many times do you try to get your work done during your lunch hour and eat in front of your computer? You end up mindlessly eating and not even realizing how much you ate. This tends to cause folks to overeat. Even worse, these eating habits are mimicked by our kids. Think about it, do your kids like to eat in front of the TV at night or while they are doing homework?

Solve it: Walk away from the screen, clear your mind and enjoy your food.

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US News Releases List of the Best Diets For Healthy Eating

by in Diets & Weight Loss, Food News, November 1, 2011
health and diet
Which diet plan is the best?

With the holidays around the corner, the idea fitting into sparkly holiday outfit is starting to make some folks sweat. Many are tempted by diets that’ll help them lose 5 or 10 pounds in a flash. But is that really healthy or safe? U.S. News just released a new list of the healthiest diets, ranking the most popular diets from 1-20. You’ll want to give this a read.

What Are U.S. News Best Diets Rankings?
Many clients and friends ask me, “Which is the best diet?” That’s the million dollar question U.S. News set out to answer. To do so, they spent 6 months researching and analyzing 20 diets. In June, Twenty-two experts — medical doctors, dietitians, health educators — then rated each diet from 1 to 5 (5 being highest) in seven categories such as how easy it is to follow, short and long-term weight loss and its ability to prevent or manage heart disease or diabetes. Each diet was then ranked in 5 categories: Best Diets Overall, Best Weight Loss Diets, Best Diabetes Diets, Best Heart-Healthy Diets, and Best Commercial Diet Plans. You can see the results here. Today, US News added an additional category: The Best Diets for Healthy Eating.

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Food Day 2011

by in Food News, October 20, 2011

food day
October 24, 2011 is the date of the first annual Food Day. Each year on this date Americans will celebrate and push for healthy, reasonably priced food that’s produced is an eco-friendly and sustainable way.  This year you’ll find schools, communities, health professionals, chefs, and foodies celebrating Food Day in their own way.

What’s Food Day?
Food Day is sponsored by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which is a nonprofit group that has been working to improve nutrition, health and food labeling since 1971. The Co-Chairs for Food Day are Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT). On the National Advisory Board are a collection of impressive public figures including Dr. Marion Nestle, Walter Willett, Alice Waters, Morgan Spurlock, David Katz, Michael Pollan, Ellie Krieger, and many more.

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Inside Scoop: Hot New Foods

by in Food News, October 18, 2011
new foods
Hot new foods to look for at the grocery store.

Is your head swirling with all the newest “healthy” products you see on market shelves? I just attended the annual Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo in San Diego, California where I was able to check out several hot new items. Here are my top 7 tasty finds.

pom juice1. Lite Pom
Who doesn’t love the goodness of pomegranate juice? But many folks find juice in general to be overly sweet with too much sugar. Pom Light contains 75 calories per 8 fluid-ounce serving and 18 grams of sugar. That’s 50 percent fewer calories and almost half as much sugar than the regular version of Pom juice. Yes, light juices exist but Pom cuts down on the sugar by mixing it with water. Sound crazy? Think about this: Many folks who find juice too sweet or they want to cut down on calories mix juice with water at home. And since you’re getting less juice, the cost is cheaper too. Pom Light comes in really fun flavors like dragonfruit, black currant, blackberry, and pomegranate (the dragonfruit was particularly tasty).

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Nutrients A Vegetarian Should Worry About

by in Healthy Tips, October 17, 2011
fruit on plate
Do vegetarians get the nutrients they need?

The term “vegetarian” can pretty broad and can mean different things to different people. We’ll walk through the basic types and fill you in on which nutrients those with a meat-free diet need to pay special attention to.

Vegetarian Basics
There are different types of vegetarians depending on what someone chooses to include in their diet. But all vegetarians include plant foods from the following categories:

  • Grains such as rice, wheat, oats, and millet
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes which include beans, peas, lentils
  • Nuts
  • Seeds like sesame and sunflower

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