All Posts By Toby Amidor

Nutrition Expert at FoodNetwork.com

Hot Topic: Clean Eating

by in Food News, July 20, 2011
woman eating tomato
How clean is your diet?

Clean Eating is a term that’s been thrown around a lot lately, only it’s not necessarily understood. We’ll explain what it is and if it’s advisable to eat this way.

What Is It?
Although you’ll find Clean Eating “diets”- it’s more of a way of living than a temporary weight loss solution. The term Clean Eating is relatively new, but it dates back to the 1960s when the natural health food movement looked down on diets filled with processed foods.

Author Terry Walters helped fuel the Clean Eating movement into mainstream America. According to the author of Clean Food and Clean Start, it’s all about consuming natural, unprocessed foods. Her philosophy is:

  • Eat a varied diet
  • Eat a rainbow of colors
  • Enjoy food and mealtime
  • Eat locally grown and seasonal food
  • Eat all 5 tastes (sweet, salty, bitter, sour, umami)

This means eating whole grains, fruits and vegetables and lean proteins (a.k.a. real food) instead of fast food or highly processed, packaged foods, and giving new foods a try that you may not recognize at the farmers market— a lot like Dana’s Market Watch series.

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Okra 5 Ways

by in Uncategorized, July 16, 2011
smoky okra
Food Network Magazine's Smoky Okra on skewers.

Not sure how to prepare okra in a healthy way? Fried okra is a classic, but this green-hued veggie can also be prepared with few calories and fat added. Here are 5 mouthwatering recipes to get you started.

Pickled
Pickling is an easy way to preserve the summer goodness of produce. Prepare the pickling mixture and just sit back and relax—that’s all there is to it.
RECIPE: Pickled Okra

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In Season: Plums

by in Healthy Recipes, In Season, July 12, 2011
plums
Plums in many colors.

Finally…plum season has arrived! This juicy stone fruit is only in season a short period of time. Be sure to enjoy it while it lasts.

What, Where, When
The plum (Prunus domestica, Rosaceae) belongs to the rose family with cherries, peaches, and apricots. There are hundreds of plum varieties grown throughout the world. Common varieties include French, Italian, Imperial, Greengage, Long John, Castelton, and Fellenburg.

Plums grow on trees in clusters, have smooth skin and a pit in the center. Plums can be oval or round in shape. The skin can be deep purple, red, green, blue, or multicolored. The flesh can be orange, red, purple, yellow, or white. Plums also vary in taste—some are sweet while others are tart. They’re available from July through October.

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Healthy Recipe Essentials: En Papillote

by in Healthy Recipes, Healthy Tips, July 10, 2011
shrimp en pappillote
Emeril Lagasse's Shrimp en Papillote: A healthy meal in a packet.

If you’ve never tried cooking in foil or paper, trust me . . . it’s easy! En papillote is considered a healthy cooking method as it uses heat (not fat) to cook food, keeping calories in check. Here are simple steps to get you started:

En Papillote Basics
En papillote is French for “in parchment,” so the food is baked inside parchment paper or foil. The main food and accompanying ingredients (like herbs, vegetables, or sauce) are placed inside packets and either baked in the oven,  cooked in microwave, or even grilled. As the food bakes, steam is created which cooks the food. As the steam is released, it also causes the parchment paper to puff up into a dome shape. To serve the meal, all you need to do is slit open at the table to reveal the goodies inside.

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Mayo: Good or Bad?

by in Healthy Tips, July 8, 2011
mayonnaise in jar
Mayonnaise: friend or foe?

It’s the quintessential “bad” food laden with artery clogging saturated fat. For years, we’ve been told to “hold the mayo,” but is it really as bad as they say?

Nutrition Lowdown
There’s no doubt that mayo is brimming with fat. One cup contains 1440 calories, 160 grams fat, and 24 grams saturated fat. It is an excellent source of vitamins E and K, but  it also contains almost 50 percent of your daily recommended amount of sodium.

Compromising Fat and Flavor
Fatty foods like mayo have flavor and mouth-feel that many folks enjoy. Adding a cup of mayo to a dish will rack up the calories quickly. So what’s a mayo-lover to do?

Moderation is one direction to take. Instead of drowning tuna or pasta salad in boatloads of mayo, use 1 tablespoon per person. One tablespoon contains 103 calories, 12 grams fat, and 2 gram saturated fat. This keeps things much more reasonable.

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Which is Healthier: Burger vs. Hot Dog

by in Healthy Tips, July 5, 2011
hamburger hot dog
Burgers or dogs, which is the healthier picnic pick?

In this new series, we’re pitting some of your favorite foods against each other. We’re starting out with the hottest fight of the barbecue season: burger verses hot dog. Who’s the winner of this battle?

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Why We Love Fennel

by in In Season, June 30, 2011
fennel
How do we love thee, fennel? Let us count the ways.

Show some love to this under-appreciated veggie from the parsley family. Don’t be turned off by its licorice-like flavor. When prepared right, it’s easy to love.

Fennel Facts
The Puritans used to chew on fennel during long church services and came to be known as the “meeting seed” for this reason. Fennel is composed of a bulb which is white or pale green in color, with stalks topped with green feathery leaves called fronds. Each part of the plant is edible – though the texture varies (the bulb is crisp while the fronds are delicate and tender with a stronger flavor) Raw fennel is slightly sweet with and resembles the taste of anise (or licorice). Knowing how to compliment the delicate flavor of this veggie will unlock its goodness. Read more

Bad Habits = Weight Gain

by in Diets & Weight Loss, Food News, June 28, 2011
potato chips Could too many of these lead to weight gain? You shouldn’t be surprised that the answer is yes.

Most studies try to tell us what we should be eating or doing. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed top habits that rack up the pounds. See if the top “bad” habits are some of your own.

Understanding Bad Habits
The obesity epidemic is costing us our health and money. More than one-third of adults and close to one-fifth of kids in the U.S. are obese. These folks are at a much higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, liver disease, and certain forms of cancer. It’s estimated that it costs the U.S. nearly 10 percent of its medical spending to treat these diseases – that’s equivalent to $147 billion a year! Read more

What To Order: The 5 Healthiest Restaurant Chicken Dinners

by in Dining Out, June 27, 2011

restaurant menu

This new series focuses on finding the healthiest options when dining out. We’re starting out with one of the most popular items on the menu—chicken. Here are our top 5 picks.

Olive Garden: Venetian Apricot Chicken
Nutrition Info:
380 calories; 4 grams fat; 1.5 grams saturated fat; 1420 milligrams sodium; 8 grams fiber
This entrée consists of grilled chicken breasts in an apricot citrus sauce. It’s served with broccoli, asparagus and diced tomatoes. The calories and fat are well controlled while the veggies add a healthy dose of fiber. Our research revealed that almost all restaurant choices contained over 50 percent of the recommended daily amount of sodium. This entrée was no exception. Read more

5 Ways To Move More at Work

by in Diets & Weight Loss, Food News, June 24, 2011
Make Time to Stretch at the Office
Take a break to stretch and walk around once an hour while at work.

It’s not news that we’re having an obesity epidemic. Contributing factors include extra-large portions, too many processed foods and…our jobs? New research published in the journal PLOS One (Public Library of Science) shows that a drop in physical activity in the workplace also plays a role in our growing waistlines. Research also indicates that desk potatoes are 54 percent more likely to die of a heart attack! Here are 5 ways to make sure you move throughout your work day.
5 ways to stay active at the office »