by Dana Angelo White in Is It Healthy?, May 1, 2013
by Toby Amidor in Is It Healthy?, December 4, 2012
Can the key to healthy cooking be found in an aerosol can? There are pluses and minuses to using cooking spray.
Using cooking spray as a replacement for oil and butter can help cut back the calories. Since butter and oil have 100 to 120 calories per tablespoon (respectively), switching to a spray can mean fewer calories (and grams of fat) in your cooking.
Many brands use actual oils (such as olive and canola) as the primary ingredient, others rely on other types of oil and artificial flavorings– check ingredient lists on your brand of choice.
When used in a nonstick pan, a light coating of spray can allow for grilled cheese, French toast and eggs that aren’t glued to the pan. Spray is also good option to help give oven-baked breadings a crispier crust. A neutral flavored spray (like canola oil) can also be used to grease baking dishes and cupcake pans.
by Toby Amidor in Is It Healthy?, October 7, 2012
Red wine has been coined the good-for-you alcohol. My clients often tell me they choose red wine over other alcoholic beverages because it’s good for their heart. Does red wine really provide this amazing-for-you benefit or is it an over-hyped health halo? Mull over the pros and cons.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans say that if you would like to sip on alcohol, have a maximum of one drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men. When it comes to wine (red or white), one drink is equivalent to 5-fluid ounces of wine (or about 125 calories). For beer, one serving is 12-fluid ounces and hard alcohol it’s 1½ -fluid ounces of an 80-proof liquor (like rum or vodka)—both range between 100-150 calories per serving.
For those looking to maintain or lose weight I often recommend sticking to wine because the calories are easier to control. Hard alcohol is typically used in mixed cocktails. The combo of multiple shots along with juice and/or other mixers can skyrocket calories in a flash.
Many folks choose red wine because of the health benefits. Studies have found the polyphenol antioxidant resveratrol found in red wine may help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart.
Studies have also found that red wine may be linked to breast cancer prevention. A 2011 study published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology found that resveratrol help stop breast cancer cells from growing.
You can also find delicious bottles of red wine at a low cost. See our top 5 red wines for those on a budget.
by Toby Amidor in Is It Healthy?, September 14, 2012
This kid-friendly and wildly popular food is often DEMANDED by kids. Should you give into to your kiddos’ requests for these bite-sized poultry pieces?
At a first glance, breaded and fried chicken isn’t the best nor is it the worst food your kid could be eating. The chicken provides some B-vitamins and protein and served with a side salad or veggies and a whole grain, it can be part of a healthy eating plan.
Much of the nutritional value in nuggets depends on who’s making them. Store-bought and fast-food varieties aren’t without their issues (see below). You can always opt to make your own breaded and baked nuggets. This helps decrease the unpronounceable ingredient list, preservatives, sodium and fat.
by Toby Amidor in Back to School, Is It Healthy?, August 28, 2012
Is popcorn healthy? The answer to this question: it depends. There are so many types to choose from: kettle corn, movie popcorn, microwave, air-popped and pre-popped, flavored varieties. Some choices are definitely much healthier than others.
Air-popped popcorn is a whole grain and has between 30-55 calories per cup. It also has 5% of your daily recommended amount of fiber and is brimming with polyphenols, an antioxidant substance that has been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. It can be made without the addition of oil as seen in this Food Network Kitchens’ homemade microwave popcorn recipe—made in a brown paper lunch bag!
With air-popped popcorn, you can control the added calories when it comes to add-ons like salt, Parmesan cheese, oil or butter. Check out or tips on making your own.
You can also find microwave in lighter and 100-calorie pack varieties to help you control the calories.
by Dana Angelo White in Is It Healthy?, August 16, 2012
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?
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.
by Toby Amidor in Is It Healthy?, July 21, 2012
If caffeine gives you the jitters you may opt for coffee that’s “de-buzzed.” But is this a healthy choice?
While caffeine does have some health benefits, too much can be harmful, especially if you have a heart condition. For this reason, many folks opt for the decaf version of their morning (or evening) Joe. Decaf can also come in handy if you’re trying to break the caffeine habit. Pregnant women sometimes switch to decaf to keep their morning ritual somewhat intact.
Coffee is also famous for it’s antioxidant content. Some of the specific antioxidants vary depending on the type of coffee bean, but both decaf and regular provide some of these cell protecting nutrients.
by Dana Angelo White in Is It Healthy?, June 26, 2012
A health halo has been placed on baked chips while fried chips have been getting a bad rap. But are you really making a healthy choice when you toss a bag of baked chips into your shopping cart? Let’s take a closer look.
One ounce (about 15 chips) of baked potato chips has 14% fewer calories (153 vs. 131), 50% less fat (10 grams vs. 5 grams) and 67% less saturated fat (3 grams vs. 1 gram) than traditional potato chips. If you’re looking at the calories and fat alone, then you would assume it was the healthier choice.
by Toby Amidor in Is It Healthy?, June 7, 2012
Can butter be a part of a healthy diet?
One of the most controversial debates in the nutrition world – can butter be part of a healthy diet?
There’s something deliciously simple about good old butter. It’s made from nothing but cream and salt, not the laundry list of ingredients you’ll find in tubs of butter alternatives. One tablespoon has 7 percent of your daily needs for vitamin A and even a hint (45 milligrams) of omega-3 fats.
The flavor and velvety smooth texture is second to none. Lobster rolls, croissants, fettuccine Alfredo and chocolate cake just wouldn’t be the same without at least a little.
by Toby Amidor in Is It Healthy?, April 27, 2012
- Is hot sauce healthy?
A little goes a long way but is this fiery sauce worth the heat? Here are the cool facts.
One teaspoon of hot sauce has zero calories, 6 percent of your daily dose of vitamin C and 119 milligrams of sodium. This condiment helps spice up dishes for very few calories.
Hot sauce gets its burn from a compound found in hot peppers known as capsaicin. The spiciness of hot sauce depends on the type of chili pepper and spices used. That’s why the heat (and capsaicin) will vary from brand to brand.
Although some folks believe spicy foods including hot sauce is a stomach irritant, researchers believe that capsaicin can help decrease the risk of peptic ulcers. Though too much can also irritate your stomach — the ideal amount still needs to be further studied. Studies have shown that it can slightly increase your metabolism several hours after eating.
- Is sushi a good idea for lunch today?
My husband and I make a weekly sushi lunch date. It’s quick and easy to do in the middle of a busy work day and sushi is made with fish, veggies and rice, so it’s a healthy choice . . . or is it?
Sushi can be a balanced meal with fish, veggies and steamed rice. Opt for fatty fish like salmon and tuna and get your daily dose of omega-3 fats or choose lean white fish or low-calorie shellfish like shrimp or scallops. Veggies like cucumbers and carrots are low in calories and avocado adds heart healthy monounsaturated fat. Many places now serve brown rice in their sushi rolls instead of white for an extra boost of fiber.
You’ll also get a healthy dose of sea vegetables like nori in sushi rolls and wakame in miso soup. These low-calorie veggies are packed with minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese and iodine along with vitamins like E, C, A and various B’s.