All Posts By Toby Amidor

Nutrition Expert at FoodNetwork.com

10 More Healthy Foods Under $3

by in Uncategorized, September 8, 2011
oatmeal
Rolled oats will cost you just 20 cents per 1/2 cup portion.

Our original top 10 list was so popular, Healthy Eats readers asked for more. Here are 10 more healthy foods that won’t break the bank.

#1: Carrots
Cost:
$0.89 per 1 pound bag (about 9 carrots)
Even my kids tout the benefits of carrots, “They give you healthy eyes, mom” they always tell me. But beta-carotene has more benefits than meets the eyes. It also helps promote healthy bones, skin and hair. Make carrot soup, add to a stir-fry, or slice into strips for an easy kids snack.

#2: Low fat cottage cheese
Cost:
$2.75 per 16-ounce container
This perfect combo of protein, carbs and fat will help keep you satisfied. It’ll also give you a boost of calcium with 10% of your daily recommended dosage in every ½ cup serving. If you’ve been passing this underappreciated food in your dairy aisle, check out more reasons why we love it.

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Labor Day Sides

by in Healthy Recipes, September 3, 2011
grilled summer squash
Grilled summer squash, from Food Network Magazine.

Celebrate the end of summer with these healthy sides — each has fewer than 250 calories per serving. Side dishes should add color, flavor, and a variety of nutrients to your meal. Take your pick from these scrumptious options.

Recipes To Try:

You Might Also Like:

Ask the Experts: Top Back-To-School Tips

by in Ask the Experts, September 2, 2011

back-to-school kids lunches
The hustle and bustle of getting the kiddies back to school can make your head spin. We’re not just talking about the youngsters either. People of all ages are getting ready to start their studies – and let’s not forget about mom and her hectic schedule too! We asked nutrition experts from around the country to share their top back-to-school tips to help ease the stress of this busy time of year.

Start Off Right
Our experts agree, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Healthy Eats contributor Katie Cavuto Boyle says “it’s tough to learn when you’re hungry so remember to eat breakfast; it fuels your mind and body so your school day is productive and enjoyable.” But if you’re like most families, mornings are hectic. Registered dietitian Sherri Hoyt suggests some advance planning. Kids (and parents!) may be tempted to skip breakfast or grab a sugar-laden pastry or fatty breakfast sandwich on the run.  Instead, “take time to make time”. . . in other words, plan for tomorrow’s breakfast the night before.

In need of a few quick breakfast ideas? Check out our Top-5 Quick Breakfast Ideas.

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Packing a Safe Lunch

by in Back to School, Food Safety, August 31, 2011
kids looking into lunchbox
Feed them well, keep them safe.

A new study published in the August issue of Pediatrics may change the way you pack your child’s lunch this school year. Find out the shocking results and what you can do to keep your child safe from food-borne illness.

The Study
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin tested temperatures of pre-school lunches in 9 Texas day care centers. Lunches of 235 kids with at least one perishable food items were checked 90 minutes before lunch. The researchers also noted whether lunches contained ice packs. The results were astounding:

  • 39% of the lunches had no ice packs.
  • 45.1% of the lunches had at least 1 ice pack.
  • 88.2% of the lunches were found to be at a hazardous temperature.
  • 1.6% of perishable items checked were found to be safe.
  • Even lunches with multiple ice packs were found to be at unsafe temperatures.

This means that most kids (at least from the sample studied here) were eating food that was unsafe. This is especially scary since we’re talking about young children who are more susceptible to becoming sick from food bugs due to a weaker immune system. So what’s a parent to do to keep their kiddies safe?

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Ketchup: Is It Healthy?

by in Is It Healthy?, August 24, 2011
ketchup
Ketchup: friend or foe?

Ketchup goes with just about everything—French fries, eggs, hash browns, burgers, deli meats . . . the list goes on and on. This red condiment has been touted as being healthy by some, but does that mean we should be using endless amounts of it?

Yes?
Ketchup is a low-calorie condiment, made from tomatoes, vinegar, salt, pepper, and spices. It contains 15 calories per tablespoon and vitamins A and C. Compared with its competitor mayonnaise, ketchup has no fat and far fewer calories per tablespoon (mayo contains 103 calories, 12 grams fat). This makes it a healthier choice for those trying to cut out added calories.

Processed and cooked tomatoes were also found to have high levels of the antioxidant lycopene. In 2004, a study released from the Harvard School of Public Health revealed that women who had higher levels of lycopene in their blood had a 50% lower risk for developing heart disease. That study also proved useful for ketchup manufacturers who got the word out that their product is “healthy.” After that I found friends, family and even clients who’d squeeze bottles of ketchup on their plate and rationalize its overuse by saying, “hey, it’s good for me!”

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Why We Love Tomatoes

by in In Season, August 23, 2011
heilroom tomatoes
Tomatoes. We love 'em. (Who doesn't?)

For all you die-hard tomato fans, these babies are now in season! We’ve dedicated this week to celebrating these red gems. Pick some up during your next visit to the farmers’ market and whip up some tomato-licious recipes.

Tomato Facts

Tomatoes were introduced to Italy in the early 16th century but many folks feared they were poisonous since they belonged to the nightshade family (peppers, potatoes and eggplant also belong to this family). The French, however, felt differently about tomatoes and called them “pomme d’amour” (a.k.a. love apples). Colonists who settled in Virginia brought tomatoes with them, but they didn’t become popular until the 19th century.

Tomatoes are technically a fruit since they grow on vines. They come in various shapes, sizes and colors, too. Don’t be fooled into thinking they should all be round —check out some of the crazy tomato finds out there. Read more

Snacks with 200 Calories (or Fewer!)

by in Healthy Recipes, August 22, 2011
chips and salsa
A snack of baked tortilla chips and 1/4 cup of salsa has just 180 calories.

Having a snack attack? Forgo the last minute trip to the vending machine and be prepared when hunger strikes with these snacks with fewer than 200 calories each.

#1: Basic Edamame
Munch on baby soy beans packed with protein and hunger-fighting fiber.
Calories: 150

#2: Apple and Peanut Butter
Top a sliced apple with natural peanut butter for a smooth and crunchy combination. This snack is packed with heart-healthy unsaturated fat and the antioxidant vitamins E and C. Check out how your favorite brand did in our taste test.
Calories: 190

#3: Rainbow Fruit Skewers With Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
This snack consists of 2 fruit skewers plus 3 chocolate-dipped strawberries. What better way to get a healthy dose of antioxidants plus your chocolate fix!
Calories: 184

#4: Chips and Spicy Salsa
An ounce of baked tortilla chips (about 15) dipped in ¼ cup salsa will give you a boost of vitamin C and lycopene.
Calories: 180

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Top 10 Nutrition Misconceptions

by in Healthy Tips, August 18, 2011

diet and exercise
You may not realize it, but every day you make unconscious decisions about how you eat. Some healthy and some not-so-healthy. We’re revealing the top nutrition misconceptions people have and the truth behind the myths.

#1: You can never eat “junk” food
Some folks religiously stay away from all chocolate bars, chips, candy, cookies, cakes and other foods that are categorized as “junk”. They’ll skip the slice of birthday cake or a trip to the ice cream store with their kids. But food is part of our social nature and should be enjoyed. These types of foods can be part of a healthy eating plan. Knowing how to stay in control of your cravings and eating these foods sensibly is the trick.

#2: You should purchase a food because it claims to be “natural”
The term “natural” is so loosely defined by the government that you’ll find it on everything from cereal boxes to soda to packages of meat. You’re better off ignoring the word on any package and taking the time to read through the ingredients and nutrition information. Don’t be fooled into believing that natural means healthy.

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Brown-Bag Lunch Menus

by in Back to School, Healthy Recipes, August 17, 2011
pasta salad Ellie Krieger’s Rainbows and Butterflies Pasta Salad, part of a well-balanced lunch.

To get you off to the right start with our September Brown-Bag Challenge, we’ve put together a one-week menu of quick, tasty and nutritious lunches. To make things even easier, pre-plan your meals, make a shopping list and have all ingredients ready-to-go. Are you up for the challenge?

Monday: Tuna Pockets

  • Stuff tuna salad into a large whole wheat pita
  • 1 medium banana
  • Sparkling water

Tuesday: Pasta Salad

Make Your Own Babaganoush

by in Healthy Recipes, August 16, 2011
It's easier than you think to make this restaurant favorite at home.

My family originates from the Middle East so it’s traditional to find babaganoush alongside typical appetizers like hummus, tahini, pita bread, pickled vegetables and olives. Here are the basics to making a killer babaganoush.

The Eggplant

Babaganoush is basically a pureed eggplant salad. It’s typically used as a condiment or dip for veggies and pita bread. Make babaganoush by selecting a shiny and firm eggplant that’s heavy for its size. Rev up your oven and roast it for about 30 to 40 minutes until the center is tender. Some recipes call for peeled and diced or sliced eggplant, while others tell you to bake it whole. The main goal is to get the inside of the eggplant soft enough so you can puree it.

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