The Food Guy, Steven Keith Eating his way through the state, plate by plate

Live Online Chat: Eating Right in the New Year

Happy New Year, fellow foodies!

And now that 2012 is here, it’s time to get serious (and resolve yet again) to eat better food — not only to look and feel great, but to be healthier too.

Join me and local dietitian Amy Gannon for a live online chat this Monday, Jan. 2, on how to eat right in the new year. We’ll offer tips to help make the transition to a heathier diet easier, plus take your questions too.

We’ll kick things off at 3 p.m. Monday. Just click here to join the chat!

Some Egg-citing News (Yuk-Yuk) from the USDA

According to new nutrition data from the United States Department of Agriculture, it appears that eggs are lower in cholesterol than previously thought.

The USDA recently reviewed the nutrient composition of standard large eggs from 12 different locations across the country, and results show the average amount of cholesterol in one large egg is 185 mg, 14 percent lower than previously recorded. The analysis also revealed that large eggs now contain 41 IU of vitamin D, an increase of 64 percent.

At first glance this was big news, folks, because I love me some eggs.

But then the press release goes on to say: “Enjoying an egg a day can fall within current cholesterol guidelines, particularly if individuals opt for low-cholesterol foods throughout the day.”

An egg? As in one!

Boo. Hiss.

Guess I’ll just stick with my Egg Beaters since I’m not about to give up my occasional fluffy, fat homemade omelets.

But if cholesterol is not a big concern for you, read on …

The amount of protein in one large egg — 6 grams of protein or 12 percent of the Recommended Daily Value — remains the same, and the protein in eggs is one of the highest quality proteins found in any food. Eggs are all-natural, and one egg has lots of vitamins and minerals all for 70 calories. The nutrients in eggs can play a role in weight management, muscle strength, healthy pregnancy, brain function, eye health and more. At less than 15 cents apiece, eggs are an affordable and delicious breakfast option.”

So there you have it.

Local Raw Foods Expert Offering Mini-Boot Camp

If you’re one of the few people who haven’t yet given up on a New Year’s resolution for healthier eating, a local raw foods expert is offering a weekend mini-boot camp you might want to check out.

Sally Miller, owner of Eats of Eden, will lead an eight-hour workshop – divided into two sessions: “Foods That Can Heal” and “Moving into Raw Foods” – on March 4 and 5. She’ll teach participants about the “Living Foods” philosophy (that all enzymes, vitamins and minerals the body needs to heal and maintain optimal health are found within the foods we eat) and show how proper food preparation is the key to unlocking these benefits.

From 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. that Friday, she’ll focus on the four main foods for healing based on the “Ann Wigmore” program, which includes the concepts of blending and fermenting food. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. that Saturday, she’ll focus on food selection and shopping.

Over the course of both days, everyday recipes will be shared and you’ll get “hands on” experience preparing (and tasting) some of them. You’ll learn how to make dairy replacements, breakfast and lunch items, plus hear important information about organic fruit and vegetable selections. You’ll even learn how to set up your own raw foods kitchen.

This workshop will take place in a private home in Charleston, so space is limited. The cost is $227.90, which includes all instruction, recipes and food throughout the weekend, plus a course manual and all taxes. Reservations and payment are due by Friday, Feb. 25.

For more information, contact Sally Miller at or 304-744-8748.

In case you missed it, my column in today’s Daily Mail offered some healthier game-day snack suggestions for this weekend’s Party of all Junk Food Parties – the Super Bowl. Things like making turkey sliders instead of cheeseburgers, serving veggies and dip instead of chips and drinking flavored seltzers instead of beer.

Although we all know that last one is just crazy talk.

But here are a few more suggestions from NuVal, a new nutritional scoring system that factors in 30 different attributes of foods (from fiber to folate) to give it a score from 1 to 100 on the Nuval scale. The higher the number, the healthier the food. These NuVal scores are starting to show up on some supermarket shelves nationwide, though none in our area yet, listed right next to the item’s price.

Here are some suggested “nutritional trade-ups” to help raise your NuVal snacking score this Sunday …

  • Some refrigerated dips, such as hummus or guacamole, can benefit from their protein, fiber and vitamin E. Fresherized Foods Wholly Guacamole, for instance, scores a 59, a very high score for the category.
  • Gringo Green Mountain Salsa Scores a 9 and Newman’s Own Black Bean and Corn Salsa scores a 48.
  • Don’t let terms like “fat free” or “fruit dip” fool you. T Marzetti Dill Fat-Free Veggie Dip scores an 11 on the NuVal scale, and the cream cheese fruit dip gets a lowly 2.
  • All chips are not equal. While barbecue potato chips rank in the low single digits, other regular-brand chips score in the mid-20s. While “baked” chips score higher, the difference in score may not always justify the difference in taste. Lay’s Baked Potato Chips, for instance, score a 24. Regular Lay’s? A 23.
  • Don’t assume pretzels are more nutritious than potato chips. Rold Gold Pretzel Rods score a 14, while Cape Cod 40% Reduced Fat Chips score a 31. It’s also possible to find chips that score relatively high. If you don’t mind skipping the salt, Garden of Eatin Blue Tortilla Chips score a 52, the highest score in the category.
  • If you’re looking for better nutrition than chips or dips can provide, why not go with some nuts? Whole natural almonds score an 81 and Flavorite sunflower seeds rank a 52. Even Planters’ Honey Roasted Peanuts come in at a respectable 29. Others however, such as toasted corn nuts, are way down in the single digits.
  • If you’re craving a football game staple like buffalo wings, TGI Friday’s Frozen Buffalo wings come in low at 14, while Morningstar Farms meatless “buffalo wings” fare better at 29.

For additional game-day suggestions or to learn more about the NuVal scoring system, visit

Chug-A-Lug, Then Chug Some More

This Double-Big-Gulp, Super-Sized, Triple-Venti drink trend has gotten TOTALLY out of hand.

Before my wife (mostly) kicked a recent crippling Diet Coke habit, I used to make fun of her for walking out of the 7-11 with a vat of soda in her hand. I mean, really, can you be THAT thirsty? Heard of water?

And although a recent bump of corporate guilt-driven downsizing shrank dranks for a while, it looks like those ounces are starting to creep back in. Take a look at this motley crew of the most-searched jumbo drinks on Yahoo:

Top searched XL Drinks on Yahoo!

1.       KFC Mega Jug (64 oz.)

2.       Sonic Route (44 oz.)

3.       7 Eleven Big Gulp (44-40 oz.)

4.       Dunkin Donuts Coolatta (32 oz.)

5.       Gatorade Thirst Quencher (32 oz.)

6.       Starbucks Trenta (31 oz.)

7.       Jamba Juice Power (30 oz.)

8.       Monster Energy Drink (24 oz.)

A 64-ounce soda and a 31-ounce coffee. Seriously?

‘Tis the Season … for Eating!

As I mentioned in this week’s column ( the holidays are a great time for family gatherings, heartfelt gift-giving and, especially, overeating. With office parties and tailgates and potlucks – oh my! – even the most vigilant of calorie-counters can lose their way.

Fortunately, you can adopt a few easy habits to help limit the damage:

  • Eat a substantial snack before going to a dinner party. I know eating before eating may not sound like a sound diet strategy, but it’s the same advice behind the concept of not going grocery shopping when you’re hungry.
  • Cut calories wherever possible. For example, replace regular cream cheese with the reduced-fat variety and you can shave more than 2,000 calories and 120 grams of fat from a typical cheesecake.
  • Give seconds a second thought. Wait 10 minutes before having a second helping. The delay can help keep you from eating too much before your stomach realizes it’s full.

So enjoy the holidays, just don’t ring in the new year with a Santa-sized midsection.