by Toby Amidor in Healthy Tips, November 1, 2012
by Toby Amidor in Ask the Experts, Halloween, October 25, 2012
This is going to be our toughest food fight yet! Two natural sweeteners pitted against each other – it’s a very difficult decision.
Most agave nectar is produced from the blue agave plant grown in desert regions like the hilly areas in Mexico. The syrup is extracted from the “honey water” found at core of the plant, filtered, heated and then processed to make it into thicker nectar you see at the store. This makes agave a good sweetener for vegans (who don’t eat honey).
Agave nectar has a dark amber color, but has a more neutral flavor than honey. One tablespoon of the sweetener has about 60 calories compared to about 45 and 60 in the same amount of granulated sugar and honey, respectively. It’s 1 ½ times sweeter than sugar and so you can use less of it. Agave easily dissolves in cold liquids like smoothies and iced tea and can be used to replace granulated sugar in baked products (see instructions below). Many food manufacturers also use agave nectar in products like energy drinks and bars because of its light flavor and over-hyped nutritional benefits.
by Leah Brickley in Healthy Tips, October 17, 2012
As a registered dietitian, my philosophy is to embrace holidays like Halloween without going overboard. This means allowing my children to go trick-or-treating and indulge in SOME treats. I’m not the only nutrition expert with this philosophy—I spoke to top experts around the country who weighed in on their favorite Halloween treats.
Ding Dong at the Dietitian’s House
Nutrition consultant Alexandra Oppenheimer, MS, RD claims “It’s not all apples and raisins at my house; I do give out candy but purchase ones that have some redeeming qualities. When picking out my Halloween offerings, I choose chocolates with nuts like peanuts or almonds and skip the sugary caramel. I choose chocolates (and lean towards the darker varieties) because of the potential heart-health benefits and antioxidants. In addition, they also provide fiber, protein and calcium. For these reasons, I prefer passing out chocolates versus candies made completely out of sugar with little to no other nutrients. Although plain chocolates and those with nuts do contribute nutrients, it’s important to remember they are still a treat and should be eaten in moderation.”
by Dana Angelo White in Ask the Experts, October 2, 2012
Planning ahead is key for healthy cooking. Keep your kitchen stocked with simple, inexpensive ingredients and weeknight cooking will be much easier (and more fun!). Here’s what the experts in Food Network Kitchens have in their kitchens:
1. Eggs: Whip up a quick omelet, poach eggs in tomato sauce or hard-boil a few for quick snacks throughout the week.
2. Parmesan cheese: Invest in a microplane zester and grate Parmesan into salads and soups just to name a couple. Remember a little goes a long way. We also love to throw pieces of the cheese rind into simmering soups for a flavor boost.
3. Low-fat plain Greek yogurt: Perfect on its own as a snack with fresh berries or the base for a healthy creamy dressing.
4. Real maple syrup: Keep stored in the fridge, add a quick drizzle when you’re craving a little sweetness in things like your oatmeal or coffee.
5. Pickles: Think beyond just dill cucumber pickles. We love pickled green beans, beets, cauliflower and okra. These are great to have on hand for a quick, low-calorie snack or on the side for dinner.
by Healthy Eats in Ask the Experts, September 25, 2012
Dietitians are always trying to dispel the obscene amount of nutrition myths floating out in the world. We asked nutrition experts around the country about their favorite (or rather, least favorite!) nutrition myths and how they set the record straight.
MYTH #1: Organic foods are more nutritious
BUSTED: Bonnie Tandy Leblang, MS, RD clears this issue up by saying:
“In terms of vitamins and minerals, organic foods are generally no more nutritious than conventionally grown foods. Organic refers to the way the food is grown, handled and processed — that is without the use of pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, hormones or, in the case of milk and meat, steroids.”
Shopping for Organic Produce? Use the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen
by Maria Russo in Healthy Tips, September 18, 2012
Leah Brickley is a recipe developer in the Food Network Kitchens and is also a dietetic technician (DTR), working toward her master’s degree in nutrition. Leah works on developing recipes for Food Network Magazine, Food Network Magazine Cookbooks, Food Network Apps and foodnetwork.com. We caught up to find out about her schooling, her secrets for healthy home cooking and how she maintains a healthy diet while working in one of the busiest test kitchens in the world.
Can you tell us more about what you do as a recipe developer-nutritionist at Food Network?
Sure! I have a combined degree in culinary arts and nutrition and I’m a DTR (dietetic technician registered). I’m also getting my master’s degree in nutrition. So, I get to develop a broad range of recipes from barbecued brisket to apple pie but with a special interest in healthy recipes. I’m here as an internal resource for my coworkers who have nutrition-related questions and I keep up on current health news and trends.
Do you sample every recipe made in the Food Network Kitchens? Is it difficult to eat healthy when you’re around food all day long?
I eat almost everything! We have two set times for tastings and everyone who participates has to taste and give feedback. Eating healthy isn’t as difficult as it sounds, even with that volume of food. We develop recipes using real and fresh ingredients. When I first started I did need to learn moderation because I often overate. Now it’s a few bites of everything and lots of water (and a jog or kickboxing after work)!
by Jason Machowsky in Healthy Tips, September 7, 2012
As a dad to two young children, Jose Garces is no stranger to the challenges that come with cooking for little eaters, but that doesn’t stop him from serving healthful fruits and veggies at home. This Iron Chef knows how to transform everyday ingredients into flavor-packed meals that are not only kid-approved but packed with nutrition, too. We checked in with Jose to find out his simple strategies for kid-friendly cooking and asked him to share a few simple suggestions to start the school year on a healthy note. Check out his best lunchbox picks, after-school snack solutions and more below, then get his top five healthy-eating tips for kids.
by Cameron Curtis in Healthy Tips, September 4, 2012
A common point of discussion on the this blog is what to eat, I wanted to take a moment to discuss another important topic: when should we eat, and how often? What follows is a combination of research findings and my own experiences working with clients as a registered dietitian.
Current research has shown that we should be eating somewhere between three to six times per day, though no one frequency has been proven to be better than others. If you find yourself consistently starving at a certain point in the day (and maybe making a less-than-ideal food choice), then consider adding in an additional healthy mini-meal or snack to your routine. Here are a couple great options to consider:
Energy Bars (above)
Cracked Pepper Potato Chips With Onion Dip
Vegetable Pizza Snacks
Figs With Ricotta, Pistachio and Honey
by Toby Amidor in Healthy Tips, August 30, 2012
Restaurant: Impossible host Robert Irvine calls his diet “clean and super.” And his passion for clean eating is not surprising considering he chatted with us at a recent event in his workout gear. Though he’s often on the road filming a new episode or making appearances, he keeps his eating habits in check with these easy tips:
1. Snack Right: Robert snacks on almonds, oatmeal and egg whites. He also makes a “peanut butter hummus” (if you’re curious, try Alton’s recipe) that’s chock full of protein.
2. Protein-Pack Your Breakfast: Robert eats oatmeal the minute he wakes up, then has a serving of protein: either egg whites or turkey bacon and whole-wheat toast.
by Toby Amidor in Healthy Tips, August 21, 2012
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…
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.
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.
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
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