Lightened-Up Avocado, Plus Mediterranean Food Survival!

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Hey Hungry Girl,

I went to pick up some groceries and came across something called a SlimCado. Supposedly, it has fewer calories and a lot less fat than a Hass avocado! Have you heard anything about this little miracle?

Avocado Aficionado

Hi Avocado Aficionado,

Yes, I've definitely come across these Florida-grown avocados. Like you, I was pretty impressed with the nutritionals! Avocados are delicious and healthy, but they're also high in fat. A regular Hass avocado has about 45 calories and 4g of fat per ounce, which is about 1/4th of an avocado. SlimCados have about 35 calories and 2.5g of fat per ounce -- they're much larger, though, so an ounce is closer to 1/8th of one. The taste isn't quite the same as traditional Hass avocados. It's a bit sweeter with less of that creamy, buttery flavor. SlimCados also have higher water content (which is why the stats are lower and the flavor isn't as rich). They're really good but not my #1 choice for guacamole; try 'em on salads, sandwiches, and burgers. Despite the lower stats, keep your serving sizes in check 'cuz those numbers can add up quickly.

Wondering how to tell the two varieties apart? The SlimCado is pear-shaped with green skin that's pretty smooth in texture. Hass avocados are oval-shaped with dark, slightly bumpy skin. And BTW, our recipe stats are calculated with the more common Hass variety. However, feel free to slim down the recipes with your new favorite avocado pick! 

Hi HG,

My family LOVES Mediterranean food, and so do I, but I'm watching my weight. What are some guilt-free, HG-approved picks at a Mediterranean restaurant? And what do I need to watch out for? I'm clueless. Help!

Grub Med

Hi Grub Med,

Mediterranean cuisine can be a challenge, but I have some tips, tricks, picks, and skips to help you make the best choices. Here's a mini Mediterranean survival guide that I've put together just for YOU...

To start, watch out for pita bread and hummus.
These are like the chips and salsa of Mediterranean restaurants -- they typically arrive at your table as soon as you sit down and seem to be magically replenished throughout your meal. It's way too easy to overdo it. If you have enough self-control, stick with a few triangles of pita bread and a couple of tablespoons of hummus. But if you're likely to inhale the whole basket of pita bread and entire bowl of hummus, ask your server to hold the freebies. Then order stuffed grape leaves (a.k.a. dolmades) as a starter, and just have one or two.

Don't go Greek... salad. Although it might seem like a safe bet, there's typically too much feta cheese, and the dressing is high in fat. Order your greens with the cheese on the side, and just sprinkle a small amount on your salad. And ask for balsamic or red wine vinegar in place of that dressing. If you really want to have the dressing, get it on the side; then dip, don't pour.

For your entrée, go for the chicken. You can typically get grilled chicken kebabs with extra veggies, and ask your server (nicely!) if the chef can go easy on the oil. Then drizzle some tzatziki (a yogurt-based sauce) over your chicken and veggies. You could get grilled beef or lamb instead of chicken, but those are a bit higher in fat and calories. If you've got to have a carby side, choose bulgur over white rice -- it has more filling fiber and protein.

Here are a few more items to avoid (and HG at-home swaps for 'em). Spanakopita -- it's fatty phyllo pastry stuffed with spinach and cheese. Instead, make our Spanako-pieces. Falafel is another one to watch out for -- it's deep-fried and fattening. If you've gotta have it, make our swap at home. We also have an awesome hummus recipe (made with a surprising ingredient). And check out our Crispy Lavash Squares with HG Hot Couple Dip -- super-easy and Mediterranean-inspired!

Hope you're feeling more confident with all of this info. Now go enjoy some time (and some delicious food!) with your family... Opa!

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Today, December 14th, is National Bouillabaisse Day. We don't have a recipe for bouillabaisse, but we do have a FIVE-MINUTE recipe for a similar type of seafood stew -- it's our Lean-O Cioppino!

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