All Posts By Toby Amidor

Nutrition Expert at FoodNetwork.com

Food Fight: Beer vs. Liquor

by in Healthy Tips, August 30, 2012

beer versus liquor
Labor Day is around the corner—should you grab an ice-cold beer or choose a spirits-filled cocktail? This battle is a tricky one…

Beer
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends no more than 1 drink per day for women and no more than 2 drinks per day for men. For beer, a “drink” is defined as a 12-fluid ounce bottle. Moderate alcohol consumption (as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines) can help reduce your risk of heart disease, reduce the risk of stroke, and lower the risk of gall stones.

The calories in a 12-fluid ounce bottle of regular beer vary from around 150 to 300. Lighter varieties usually run around 100 calories for 12-fluid ounces  and are widely available in bars, restaurants and retail markets.  However many bars offer pints (equivalent to 16-fluid ounces) with around 200 to 400 calories each.

If you’re looking for nutritional goodness, dark beer is the way to go. A 2011 study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture found that dark beers have more iron than both pale and non-alcoholic beer.

See the results of our light beer taste test.

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New Study Reveals Fewer Calories in Almonds

by in Food News, August 30, 2012

almonds
Calling all almond lovers! A new study found that almonds have fewer calories than originally thought. We’ve got the inside scoop on this news.

The Study
A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that almonds have 20% fewer calories than originally thought. The results found that a one-ounce serving of almonds (about 23 nuts) has 129 calories as opposed to 160 that’s currently listed on the Nutrition Facts Panel.

Interestingly, it has nothing to do with the composition of the almond—rather, the way we metabolize it. Although it sounds nutty (pun intended), I had the pleasure to speak with Jenny Heap, MS, RD Manager, Healthy Professional Marketing for Almond Board of California to help decipher these findings.

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Fruit Snacks: Are They Healthy?

by in Back to School, Is It Healthy?, August 28, 2012

fruit snacks
My three kids go gaga over fruit snacks—and they’re not the only ones. You can find them at the movies (in the kids snack pack), in birthday party goodie bags and in school snack or lunch bags. But are these chewy goodies good for our kiddos or just too good to be true?

Yes?
Fruit snacks run around 80-90 calories per small pouch—which is a reasonable amount of calories for a kids’ snack. They’re free of fat, cholesterol and are very low in sodium. Many also provide vitamins A and C.

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Taste Test: Juice Boxes

by in Back to School, Grocery Shopping, Taste Test, August 23, 2012

apple juice
With all the so-called “healthy” messages on juice boxes, it’s tough to decipher which is really the best choice for your little ones. We’ve tasted and anylized popular juices so you’ll be better informed on your next trip to the market.

Juicy Guidelines
Even if you’re giving your kids 100% juice, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the following:

  • 1 to 6 years: Limit juice to 4 to 6 fluid ounces per day
  • 7 to 18 years: Limit juice to 8 to 12 ounces per day

Remember, fruit juice shouldn’t be used as a substitute for whole fruit. There are no nutritional benefits of drinking juice over whole fruit. It’s important to stick to the AAP guidelines as too much juice in your kiddos’ diet can lead to obesity, poor nutrition and tooth decay.

When shopping for juice, not all boxes are created equal and not all markets are stocked with the same brands. You want to look for those that are made from 100% juice as opposed to mostly sugar + water. Size also matters—for kids 6 and under, opt for the smallest (4.23 fluid-ounce) box whenever possible.

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10 Antioxidant-Rich Foods

by in Healthy Tips, August 21, 2012

raspberries
When visiting your local farmers’ market, you’re not only picking up deliciously seasonal produce, you’re also bringing home a wide array of antioxidants that can help protect your body. Here are 10 foods that should be on your shopping list.

The Power of Antioxidants
Antioxidants can be found as vitamins, minerals or phytochemicals (special plant compounds). They help repair cell damage caused by free radicals, which can mess with your immune system. Some researchers also believe that free-radical damage may be involved in promoting chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.

If you’re thinking about picking up an “antioxidant-rich” supplement—don’t be fooled. Each fruit and veggie has their own unique combination of various antioxidants—you won’t find any of these specialized combos isolated in a pill. Your best bet is to eat a variety of seasonal produce so you can reap all the benefits.

#1: Tomatoes
Tomatoes are brimming with the antioxidant lycopene which is more potent in cooked tomatoes. To get the most lycopene out of your fresh tomatoes, turn them into gazpacho, tomato sauce or jam.

Antixoidants: Vitamin A, vitamin C, lycopene

Recipe: Tomato-Fennel Salad

#2: Berries
Berries like strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are overflowing with antioxidants called anthocyanins. We’ve got 30 ways to enjoy these gems.

Antioxidants: Vitamin C, anthocyanin, quercetin

Recipe: Red, White and Blue Fruit Cups

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In Season: Honeydew

by in In Season, August 18, 2012
honeydew granita
Food Network Kitchens' Honeydew Granita

This green melon is my 5-year old’s hands-down favorite. I’ve never seen anyone so thrilled when a fruit’s in season—she devours fresh chunks at breakfast and bedtime snack. As a mom, I’m happy that she enjoys a food filled with good-for-you nutrients. Though as a food lover, I’m happy to report that there are many other ways to enjoy the heavenly taste of honeydew.

What, Where, & When?
Honeydew is part of the muskmelon family, along with cantaloupe and person melon. This family is also known as netted melon; their skin looks like its covered with a thick, rough netting. Honeydew is very aromatic, but if they’re picked too early they won’t become as sweet and flavorful.

The oval-shaped melon has a smooth, cream-colored rind and green-colored flesh that’s bursting with sweetness. You can also find gold and orange honeydew varieties, with flesh colors described by their name, though they’re not as easy to find. These melons range from 4 to 7 pounds in size.

This scrumptious melon is thought to have originated in Persia and was also prized years later by ancient Egyptians. Today honeydew is grown in Mexico, California, Arizona, and parts of the southwest and is most abundant from late summer through early fall.

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Taste Test: Hot Sauce

by in Taste Test, August 14, 2012

hot sauce
With so much talk about hot sauce, we had to taste test all the popular varieties for ourselves. We got our mouths fired up for this spicy taste test. Find out who topped our list.

It’s All About Sodium
Hot sauce is the new ketchup. Dab a little on sandwiches, pizza, pasta dishes, chili, grilled meats, eggs – almost any dish. If you check out the label, you’ll notice that there’s not much nutrition information per serving—no calories, fat, saturated fat, carbs, or protein (or at least so little that it can be listed as zero by food labeling guideline). What it does have is sodium—and some brands have more than others.

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Coconut Diet 101

by in Diets & Weight Loss, August 10, 2012

coconut
This popular diet has a die-hard following. We’ll tell you if coconut oil is the ultimate superfood that’ll help you shed pounds or just another fad diet making waves.

Overview
The theory behind this diet is that when coconut oil is combined with a low-carb diet, it’ll help melt the pounds away. This is due to the fact that coconut oil is made from medium-chained triglycerides which are more easily absorbed by the body (as opposed to long chained triglycerides found in most other oils).

The alleged secret ingredient to this weight loss plan is eating 2 to 3 tablespoons of coconut oil every day. The diet discourages high-carb foods like refined grains, potatoes, sugars, desserts and alcohol while encouraging antioxidant-rich veggies and lean protein. After following this plan, it promises that you’ll lose weight — a staggering 10 pounds or more in the first 3 weeks, which then slows to 1-2 pounds a week — and your food cravings.

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Produce Safety 101

by in Food Safety, August 7, 2012

washing peppers
You know you should be eating your fruits and veggies. But it’s just as important to your health to make sure your produce is clean and free of harmful pathogens. Luckily, there are simple tips you can follow to keep you and your loved ones safe.

Foods Involved
The culprits include raw fruits and veggies and fresh juices made from them. Choosing organic or sticking to the clean 15 can help decrease the amount of pesticides in your produce but it won’t change the possibility that harmful microorganisms may be present.

At the Store
Whether you’re buying from your local supermarket, farmers’ market or belong to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) keep these tips in mind:

  • Purchase in-season fruits and veggies, especially in the summer when so much is available.
  • If you’re heading to your local farmers’ market, go early! You don’t want to buy fruits and veggies that have been sitting out in the heat for many hours or that have been touched by lots of people.
  • Buy only what you need for the week. You’re better off making several quick trips to the market rather than stocking up and risking having the excess go bad.
  • Choose produce carefully. Look for signs on spoilage such as mold, bruises, mushiness or cuts.
  • Instead of buying pre-packaged produce, choose loose produce. It gives you a better opportunity to check for signs of spoilage.
  • When buying fresh juice, be sure it’s pasteurized (treated with heat to kill harmful germs). If you’re not sure, ask or don’t buy it. Remember, young kids, pregnant and lactating women, older adults and those with a compromised immune system should lay off unpasteurized juices.
  • If you’re bagging your produce in reusable bags, be sure to wash the bags regularly.

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5 Ways to Overcome Emotional Eating

by in Diets & Weight Loss, Healthy Tips, August 6, 2012

doughnut
We eat when we’re happy, upset, stressed, bored — you get the picture. Oftentimes, these emotional indulgences become a more frequent event leading to weight gain. Use these 5 tactics to gain control.

#1: Recognize Hunger
Do you find yourself having an overwhelming desire to munch even when you’re not truly hungry? It could be that you’re bored or stressed—this type of emotional eating is a behavior we teach ourselves over many years— it takes time and effort to really gain control of it.  The next time you get the urge to dig in, ask yourself “What I am really feeling”?

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