All Posts By Toby Amidor

Nutrition Expert at FoodNetwork.com

Nuts About Almonds

by in Healthy Recipes, Healthy Tips, October 13, 2011

almonds
We’ve told you all about grains, legumes, herbs and seasonal produce. In this new series we’ll explore the nuts we’re crazy about —  let’s get cracking!

Almond Basics
Almonds originated in central Asia and their cultivation has been traced back to Biblical times. In ancient Egypt, almonds were left in King Tut’s tomb to keep him nourished in the afterlife. These crunchy goodies were brought over to the United States from Spain in 1700. Two hundred years later, the almond industry was booming in California.

Almonds are the seeds of a fruit tree that’s related to the rose family. They’re grown in California, Australia, the Mediterranean and South Africa. There are two main types of almonds: sweet and bitter. Sweet almonds have a delicate and slightly sweet flavor and are the variety that most folks eat. Bitter almonds contain a toxic chemical called hydrocyanic acid and can be lethal when eaten raw. The chemical is destroyed once it is heated and the almond is then safe to eat. Bitter almonds aren’t allowed to be sold in the United States, though processed bitter almonds are used in flavor extracts and liqueurs.

Read more

Dr. Oz’s Apple Juice Experiment

by in Food News, October 12, 2011

Dr. Oz
Dr. Oz made headlines recently after his September 14th show, when he pointed a finger at the FDA for not regulating the amount of arsenic found in apple juice. The FDA, on the other hand, is claiming that Dr. Oz is guilty of irresponsible reporting. Who should we be listening to?

Read more

Veggie Chips: Are They Healthy?

by in Healthy Tips, Is It Healthy?, October 10, 2011

vegetable chips
These potato chip-alternatives have been cropping up on market shelves everywhere. But are veggie chips a healthier pick? Here’s a look at the crunchy details.

YES?
Some of the more popular brands of veggie chips are much lower in sodium than traditional varieties. One ounce of Original Terra Chips contains 50 milligrams of sodium while an ounce (about 15 chips) of traditional potato chips contains over three times that amount (180 milligrams). The amount of salt, however isn’t always lower in veggie chips. Some brands contain even more than potato chips and other snack foods.

Both potato and veggie chips usually contain 10 percent of your daily dose of vitamin C, but some varieties of veggie chips (like sweet potato) also contain 50 percent of your recommended amount of vitamin A.

Read more

10 Ways To Reduce Sodium

by in Healthy Tips, September 29, 2011
food label
Are you paying attention to your sodium intake?

Nine out of 10 Americans eat too much salt. It’s estimated that 77 percent of our salt comes from processed and restaurant foods. If your goal is to eat less salt, here are 10 simple ways to do it.

#1: Use fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned
One-half cup of canned vegetables has about 15 percent of your daily sodium requirements. This is no surprise since sodium is used to preserve canned food. Instead, choose fresh or frozen vegetables whenever possible. If you’re stuck on the convenience of canned veggies, low sodium varieties are also available.

#2: Make your own potato chips
Chips are brimming with salt, but luckily you can make your own in a snap! My kids and chip-addicted husband loved Ellie’s Cracked Pepper Potato Chips. You can always adjust the spices to your liking.

Read more

Store-Bought Juice Blends: Are They Healthy?

by in Healthy Tips, Is It Healthy?, September 28, 2011
juice blends
They seem healthy, but are they really?

Store shelves are lined with juice blends promising various health benefits. But are they really as healthy as they’re hyped up to be? Here’s the lowdown on 3 popular store-bought juice blends.

Naked’s Green Machine
Naked makes a variety of juice blends including one of their more popular varieties called the Green Machine. They promote their product saying “Greens are one of the most underconsumed foods in the average person’s diet. Drink ‘em up!” One 15.2 fluid ounce contain has 140 calories, 50 percent of your daily dose of vitamin A, and 11 percent of the daily recommended amount of potassium.

Read more

Rosh Hashanah Side Dishes

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Recipes, September 27, 2011
jicama-orange salad
Food Network Magazine's Jicama-Orange Salad.

Scrambling to find creative sides for the Jewish New Year? Look no further. This collection includes fresh ideas and some lightened up classics.

Recipes To Try:

Have extra apples lying around after the holiday? Turn them into a delicious applesauce.

Diet Myths Debunked: Can Chewing Help You Lose Weight?

by in Diets & Weight Loss, September 23, 2011
man chewing
Will chewing a whole bunch make you lose weight?

One tactic some dieters use to shed pounds is chewing. They chomp each bite as many as 50 times before swallowing. Is chewing a legitimate was to shed pounds? We’ll delve into this longtime dieting strategy.

Chew On This
A 2011 article published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared the chewing habits of obese verses lean men. Researchers found that after 40 chews, the men took about 12 percent fewer calories than after 15. Even though the obese men’s bites were smaller than the leaner men, the obese folks ate more calories overall.  Although this study does show promise, we need to remember that there were only 30 total men tested (which isn’t very many).

Read more

How Safe Is Your Supermarket?

by in Food Safety, Grocery Shopping, September 21, 2011

grocery store
We all buy food somewhere – from the grocery store, farmers’ market, membership clubs or specialty markets. These places must all follow food safety practices to keep food safe. Sadly, this isn’t always the case. Keep your eyes peeled for some of these frequent “ick” factors wherever you shop.

DIY Inspection
All establishments that sell food must adhere to food safety guidelines. They get inspected just like restaurants. During your next trip to the market, take a few minutes to visually inspect the premises yourself. Here are few things to take notice of:

  • Do the floors look clean?
  • Are spills being cleaned up immediately?
  • Is the canned food dusty?
  • Do the deli and other service counters appear clean?
  • Is the stock well organized?
  • Is food displayed within its expiration date?
  • Does the produce look fresh?
  • Are there signs of pests like mouse droppings or roaches?

Read more

Talking to the Experts: Fabiola Gaines on Soul Food

by in Cookbooks, September 18, 2011

The New Soul Food Cookbook for Diabetics

Good old soul food is famous for excess fat, salt and sugar. Thank goodness for soul food expert and registered dietitian Fabiola Gaines, who told us how to lighten up soul food without compromising taste.

Q: What inspired you to write The New Soul Food Cookbook for Diabetes, especially for diabetics?

Several years ago, the American Diabetes Association asked my partner and I to sit in on a cultural diversity committee. They came up with this recipe card that wasn’t appropriate for the African American population with type 2 diabetes– the recipe was for sweet potato pie with raisins.  In the typical African American cuisine raisins are not included in sweet potato pie. We became a critical part of choosing recipes for this project, and the American Diabetes Association asked my partner and I if we would be interested in writing the first African American cookbook. Both of our fathers died of complications from diabetes and the book is near and dear to our hearts. It was important that we show that soul food is not bad but needs a facelift.

Read more

What’s the Best School Lunch Program?

by in Back to School, Food News, September 16, 2011
kids at school lunch
How does your local school's lunch program rate?

With Michelle Obama’s push to promote healthy eating, some schools are taking action. We looked at public schools around the country to check out what they’re doing to make lunches healthier. We found some forward thinkers and amazing programs.

Washington State
The Bellevue School District in Washington State has implemented several healthy eating programs. The first is their Fruit, Vegetable and Grain of the Month Program. For the past 4 to 5 years, one food is featured from each category and information can be found on the district website. There are also educational signs posted in the lunch room and tasting that’s done in the elementary, middle and high schools. Some featured grains have been farro, brown rice, wheat pasta, wheat berries, couscous, and bulgur. Hot, grain-based sides will also be offered this year such as lentil-barley pilaf and wheat berry stuffing.

This year, the Bellevue School District is also implementing Meatless Mondays. Some featured items on the menu are cheese-stuffed pasta shells, cheese enchiladas and a hummus platter.

Read more