Roanna Martin

"make [food] simple and let things taste of what they are." {Curnonsky}


Eating Out? Watch Out!

Because of my internship, a request was recently passed on to me to come up with nutrition information for a “Fighting the Freshman 15 and the Grad School 20” article in a local magazine.

So, I checked out some local food venues- places that students here in Morgantown are likely to visit, and came up with the following information. These are foods mostly chosen for the shock factor- and while they might be ok to choose (and perhaps share with a friend!) on occasion, these are obviously not foods that should be chosen every day.

Take a look:

Coldstone Creamery

“Gotta Have it” size of the PB&C (Peanut Butter and Chocolate) milkshake has 1750 calories and 118 grams of fat- and that’s not even counting any mix-ins!!!

That is nearly twice the number of daily grams of fat recommended (65 g) for an adult consuming a 2000 calorie diet! And as a reference, an entire gallon of skim milk contains 1440 calories (310 less than 1 milkshake).


The Grilled Quesadilla with a whole wheat flour tortilla, shredded cheese, grilled chicken, pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole, and fajita vegetables contains 1070 calories, and 64 g fat.
It would require about 3 hours and 45 minutes of leisure bike riding (<10 mph) for a 160 pound individual to burn the 1070 calories found in the Q-Doba’s Grilled Quesadilla described above.

Little Caesar’s

Ultimate Supreme Pizza- 1/8 of a 14″ pizza contains 310 calories, and 13 g fat.
A 120 lb individual would need to walk approximately 1 hour and 44 minutes at a 3 mile per hour pace on a level surface to use up the 310 calories contained in just one slice (1/8th of a 14″ pizza) of Little Caesar’s Ultimate Supreme Pizza (and can I see a show of hands: who eats just one slice of pizza?)

Buffalo Wild Wings 

The Ranch Chicken Wrap contains 1020 calories, and 59 g fat.
A 5′ 10″, 154-pound man would need to run/jog about 1 hour and 55 minutes (5 miles per hour) to use the number of calories found in the ranch chicken wrap. 

Jimmy Johns 


Gourmet Smoked Ham Club- 775 calories, 32 g fat
A 140 lb individual would need to freestyle swim at a vigorous pace for about 1 hour and 12 minutes to burn the number of calories in a Jimmy John’s Gourmet Smoked Ham Club sandwich
I hope you find this post interesting- and now you know a few things that you just might want to avoid if you go out to eat at any of these locations!


“Making Everyday Choices for a Healthy, Sustainable Diet”

I recently came across an excellent handout on a sustainable diet through the Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group (HEN DPG), of which I am a member. HEN is a special interest group within the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, formerly known as the American Dietetic Association.

This handout was compiled by Mary Meck Higgins, a Human Nutrition Specialist and Registered Dietitian working with the Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service. I think she does an excellent job of highlighting some of the principles helpful in promoting personal health as well as the health of the planet. She reminds us of the importance of personal choice- we can’t expect the government or big industry to solve the world’s sustainability problems. These entities are shaped primarily by consumer demands. So how are you, as a consumer, going to respond?

 Her suggestions are organized into seven categories:

  1. Choose nutrient-rich foods: Base meals on whole grains, fruits, legumes, and dark green, red, and orange vegetables. Choose fat-free or low fat dairy, lean red meats, and poultry without skin to reduce calories and saturated fat intake. Vary your protein- try non-animal sources. Choose water most of the time, and cook at home often. For more specific recommendations for your age, gender, and body size, visit
  2. Eat locally produced foods when available: Choose foods that are in season. Visit a local farmers market or farmstand, join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), or try growing something of your own.
  3. Buy from businesses with sustainable practices when possible: This can affect not only the health of the environment, but local economic vitality. Support local restaurants who purchase from local producers. Choose certified sustainable seafood products. When you buy tea, coffee, or chocolate, choose at least some that is certified fair trade.
  4. Minimize avoidable food losses and waste: On average, households in the US throw away at least 14 percent of food purchases. Store perishable foods appropriately. [An example: since I shop for myself and I don’t eat a loaf of bread very quickly, I often store it in the freezer and simply pull out a slice or two and toast it to prevent waste]. Even excess milk can be frozen if you won’t drink it by the expiration date! Instead of peeling potatoes or apples, simply wash them well and eat the peels. Extra fiber, less scraps. Speaking of scraps, try composting them! For a variety of reasons, restaurants often generate a sizable amount of food waste- another reason to cook and eat at home.
  5. Limit energy use: Of the energy consumed in the U.S., nearly 20 percent is used for food production, transport, processing, packaging, distribution, storage, sales, and household food handling. Limit how often you drive to the grocery store. Better yet- walk or bike to get a bit of exercise at the same time! Wash with hot water, but rinse with cold water. Let your dishwasher air dry instead of using the heated dry cycle. 
  6. Limit water use: Conserve water when preparing food by keeping an empty pitcher to capture water from the faucet while waiting for it to heat up. Use this to water plants. Use water-efficient kitchen appliances. Turn off the faucet in between rinsing dishes.
  7. Minimize packaging and wrapper waste: Carry a reusable water bottle instead of buying packaged bottled water. Keep your reusable grocery bags in the car so you remember to actually take them with you to the grocery store! Eliminate packaging when possible: purchase whole, unprocessed fruits and vegetables. Instead of buying small packages of food (i.e. individual yogurt cups), try buying a larger container and separating the amount you plan to eat out into smaller containers.

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Food Safety: From Soil to Plate

Locally sourced meats and seafood, and locally grown produce are the top 2 hot menu trends for 2012, according to the National Restaurant Association. It’s a great trend which helps to decrease the number of miles food travels from where it is grown to the point of consumption. I fully support buying local food, but it’s also important to remember some basic safety tips when purchasing and preparing the food.

One of the other interns and I put together a bulletin board describing some of current practices for the hall of the Ag Sciences building where our Division is housed. We split the board into two sections: “On the Farm”, and “Before It Hits the Plate”.

Good Agriculture Practice (GAP) and Good Handling Practice (GHP) audits, set up by the USDA, are voluntary third-party certifications that purchasers (i.e. restaurants) often want in order to know that the producer is growing food safely. Although the products are not guaranteed to be free from microbial contamination, the producer has taken proactive measures to prevent such contamination. 

The audits include simple things such as examining the quality of irrigation water, proper use of animal manure for fertilizer, and cleaning product storage and packing areas regularly.

 More information on the specifics of these audits can be found here

After a restaurant purchases food, there are some basic food safety principles that should be adhered to.

  • Begin with clean hands. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce.
  • Cut away any damaged or bruised areas on fresh fruits and vegetables. Produce that looks rotten should be discarded. 
  • All produce should be thoroughly washed before eating. Wash fruits and vegetables under running water just before eating, cutting or cooking.
  • Store perishable fresh fruits and vegetables (like strawberries, lettuce, herbs, and mushrooms) in a clean refrigerator at a temperature of 40° F or below.
  • Refrigerate all produce that is purchased pre-cut or peeled.