All Posts By Toby Amidor

Nutrition Expert at FoodNetwork.com

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

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

Vinegar 101

by in Healthy Tips, August 11, 2011

vinegars
Vinegar made our list of top 10 healthy flavor boosters. With so many varieties available, choosing the right vinegar to compliment your dish can get confusing. These vinegar basics will get your taste buds on track.

Vinegar Fundamentals
The word vinegar originates from the French word vin aigre, which translates into “sour wine.” Vinegars are made by introducing bacteria into a fermented liquid like wine, beer or cider and converting it into acetic acid (that’s the sour flavor you taste in vinegar). As for nutrients, most varieties of vinegar contain about 3 calories and not much else.

Vinegar has been used for thousands of years as a cooking ingredient, condiment and preservative (like for pickles!). The acidity in vinegar makes it a great addition to marinades—the acidity helps break down the protein fiber and softens the meat. Vinegar can also be used to balance out the flavor of dishes and cut down bitterness.

Read more

30 Days of Zucchini

by in Healthy Recipes, Healthy Tips, August 5, 2011
zucchini
We've got 30 reasons to fall in love with zucchini.

Whether you’re a sweet or savory zucchini-lover, we’ve got your covered. Check out these 30 creative, healthy recipes and fun zucchini facts.

  1. Create a sensational Tuscan Vegetable Soup with zucchini, spinach and tomatoes.
  2. Bake a loaf of lightened-up zucchini bread. Make a double batch and freeze for later.
  3. Slice zucchini into sticks and dip in homemade, creamy hummus.
  4. Cook Ina’s scrumptious Zucchini Pancakes.
  5. Did you know: zucchini is part of the squash family and is technically a fruit.
  6. Need a light and airy snack? Ellie’s Zucchini Parmesan Crisps will do the trick.
  7. Store zucchini in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Read more

What’s In A Hot Dog?

by in Healthy Tips, August 4, 2011
hot dog
Hot diggity -- do you really know what's in your 'dogs?

Hot dogs are a classic barbecue food, but is there such a thing as a healthy frank? Learn the dog-gone facts about this summer favorite and decide for yourself.

How’s It Made?
Hot dogs are also known as frankfurters, wiener dogs, franks and tube steaks. They’re one of the most widely-sold sausage products in the United States. Hot dogs are made from finely ground cured beef or pork (or both), which are pumped into casings that are twisted and formed into links every 6 inches. The franks are then cooked, passed through hot water or steam, and then hung for smoking (sometimes they’re smoked and then cooked). There are various other techniques that have been developed, but you get the picture. Read more

Herb of the Month: Basil

by in Healthy Recipes, In Season, August 1, 2011
basil on pizza
Basil on pizza, one of the many ways to use this versitle herb.

In parts of Italy, men sport a sprig of basil on their lapel if they’re looking for love. Although an interesting fashion statement, we’ll enjoy basil as part of our healthy eats instead.

Basil Basics
The herb basil (Ocimum basilicum, Labiatae) is part of the mint family. It seems to have originated in India about 4,000 years ago. The ancient Greeks called it the “King of Herbs.” The herb gained popularity in England in the 16th century and was brought to the Americas by English explorers.

Basil can be found in different shapes, sizes, and colors — there are over 60 varieties. The most common are large-leaf Italian sweet, purple opal, Thai, lemon, tiny-leaf and African blue. Sweet Italian (a.k.a. sweet Genovese) is probably the one most recognized. The bright green leaves are rounded, have a pungent flavor that’s a cross between licorice and cloves.

The main producer in the U.S. is California, but basil is also grown commercially in India, Israel, Mexico, Yugoslavia, Italy and Morocco.

Read more

Which is Healthier: Fruit Cobbler vs. Fruit Pie

by in Healthy Tips, July 28, 2011
fruit cobbler and pie
Pie versus cobbler: who wins this food fight?

Summer is all about fruit-filled desserts. When faced with the choice of cobbler or pie, which would you choose? Read the pros and cons of each and YOU vote for the healthier winner.

Fruit Cobbler

Pros:
Cobblers are a combo of fruit filling topped with a crust made of biscuit dough, traditional pie crust or a pour-on batter. Typically, the topping is made from milk, sugar, and flour. It’s easier to control the ingredients in the crust-topping of a cobbler than it is with pie; if you don’t want your cobbler too sweet, you can choose to cut down on the sugar. You can also use less of the topping, since it doesn’t have to cover the entire top of the cobbler.

Read more

Supplement Savvy: Minerals

by in Healthy Tips, July 26, 2011

vitamins and minerals
We told you about popular vitamin supplements and now we’re covering minerals. Folks like to pop certain mineral pills when they can be easily obtained through food. Are these mineral supplements really worth the investment?

Be Advised
Many individuals mindlessly down vitamin and mineral supplements like candy. Many people don’t realize that supplements of any kind interact with various health conditions, medications, herbal supplements and even one another. Furthermore, taking megadoses (very large amounts) on a regular basis can be toxic to your body. That’s why it’s important to consult a physician or registered dietitian before choosing your supplement regimen.
Read more