All Posts By Toby Amidor

Nutrition Expert at FoodNetwork.com

Nutrition Myths Debunked: Does Chicken Soup Cure a Cold?

by in Healthy Tips, November 29, 2011
chicken soup
Can soup cure the sniffles?

Going as far back as the 12th century, Jewish scholars have touted the effectiveness of chicken soup for a variety of ailments, including the common cold. Even today, when you’re in bed with a cold, someone has either reminded you of its goodness or brought you a piping hot bowl. Are the wonders of chicken soup just cultural myths passed down from generation to generation, or can soup really cure a cold?

What’s In It?
Chicken soup is made from a stock or broth and a variety of veggies. In a stock, the chicken bones are cooked for a few hours. This gives enough time for minerals like zinc, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium to seep into the liquid stock. These same minerals won’t be in a broth since a broth is typically made from the meat only. Don’t discount out the nutritional goodness of broth though,  it’s still brimming with minerals like selenium and phosphorus. Of course both soups and stocks are made from a variety of veggies like celery, onion, carrots, leeks, parsnips, or turnips —  all of their minerals seep into the liquid too.

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Leftover Canned Pumpkin 5 Ways

by in Healthy Recipes, November 27, 2011
canned pumpkin
It's not just for pie.

Did you buy too many cans of pumpkin this year? Don’t let them sit in the pantry and collect dust! Whip up any of these mouthwatering recipes.

Rice Pudding
This spin on traditional rice is both eye and belly pleasing for both kids and adults!
RECIPE: Pumpkin Rice Pudding
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Thanksgiving Strategy

by in Thanksgiving, November 22, 2011
turkey dinner
Indulge, but don't overdo it on Turkey Day with our easy tips.

We’re not going to tell you to give up your beloved turkey and stuffing, so you can breathe easy and keep reading. But there are some super simple strategies you can use to help keep calories in check while still enjoying your meal.

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The Rules of Thanksgiving Food Safety

by in Food Safety, Thanksgiving, November 21, 2011
thanksgiving dinner
Safe turkey, safe fixins' = safe family.

Thanksgiving is the start of the holiday season where friends, family, and loved ones gather to have one fantastic meal after another. It’s not the time to skimp on those food safety habits that can make or break the festivities. Here are some simple reminders.

Purchasing the Goodies
At the market, be sure you check the quality of all the products you buy. Look at the color, firmness, and texture of the produce and meats and don’t forget to check the expiration dates on packaged foods. Once you pay for your groceries, be sure to get them stored in the proper place immediately—refrigerator, freezer or pantry. A few extra stops on the way home is plenty of time for bacteria to have a party on your food.

Make room for your turkey—overcrowding your freezer or fridge can actually raise temperatures dangerously high and spoil your food and ruin your equipment.

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Deciphering Deli Meats

by in Food Safety, Grocery Shopping, November 17, 2011
deli salami
What should you look for, and how much should you buy?

Not all foods at the deli are created equal. Check out some healthier and safer options to order up next time you’re at the counter.

Be In The Know
Not all deli “meats” are straight from the cow (so to speak). Here’s the breakdown on where all the deli goodies come from.

  • Whole cuts: A part of the meat or poultry is cooked and sometimes flavored with spices, sugar or salt. It’s then sliced and sold by the pound. These cuts tend to be pricier.
  • Sections and formed meat products: Parts of meats or poultry are “glued” together to create a single, larger piece (like cooked ham). These are typically cheaper than whole cuts.
  • Processed meat (or sausages): These include liverwurst, bologna, knockwurst, salami and other such products. The meat can come from pork, poultry, beef, mutton and veal. Byproducts like heart, kidney, liver, lips and pork stomach are often tossed into the mix.

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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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