Getting Back on Track, Plus Bacon Finds and Recipes!

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Hi HG,

Now that summer's ending, I'd like to get back on the diet bandwagon. Do you have any tips?

Back-on-Track Betty

Hi Betty,

Fantastic Q! Between vacations and backyard BBQs, a lot of people get off track during the warmer months. But getting back into the swing of things can be easier than you might think. Here are some tips to jump-start your efforts...

Give your pantry, fridge, and freezer a makeover. Dump (or give away) the half-empty bags of potato chips, the leftover brownies from that Labor Day cookout, the pint of gourmet full-fat ice cream... whatever tempting indulgent goodies are lurking in your kitchen. Then hit the grocery store for smart staples. Our supermarket list should give you plenty of ideas!

Try a week of "clean eating." While I'm ALL about low-calorie craving busters as alternatives to fattening favorites, I'm also big on filling your diet with tons of nutritious stuff. Think lean protein (skinless chicken breast, shrimp, egg whites, etc.), fresh fruit (Fuji apples are fantastic), and lots of veggies (chopped romaine for salads, broccoli slaw, sugar snap peas, and steamable bags of frozen veggies). When it comes to carbs, go for fiber-packed versions like brown rice and whole-wheat pasta (watch those portions!). Sticking to these basics is a good way to shake off any excess eating you did over the summer.

Eat at home more often. While there definitely are smart options you can order at restaurants, and the availability of nutritional info is helpful, you never REALLY know how many calories and fat grams are in your meal. If you want to kick-start your diet, dining out less often can really help. When you do eat out, keep it simple: salads without fatty toppings (light dressing on the side; dip, don't pour!), plain lean protein (like steamed seafood or broiled chicken breast), and steamed veggies.

Adjust your workout to the season. Switch out your summer activities for fall-friendly routines. Renew your gym membership, or buy some new exercise DVDs. Don't have time for a full-on workout? Go for a fast-paced 20-minute walk around the mall on your lunch break! Every little bit helps.

Good luck!  

Dear Hungry Girl,

I LOVE bacon, but I know it's fattening. Are there any ways to get a guilt-free fix?

Burnin' for Bacon

Hi Burnin',

Good news! Bacon isn't always a calorie catastrophe. Here are a SLEW of smart picks to satisfy that craving for B-A-C-O-N!

Bacon basics... When it comes to REAL (a.k.a. pork) bacon, always go for center-cut -- it's less fatty than the usual strips. Turkey bacon is also great. In fact, the stats on center-cut bacon and turkey bacon are very similar -- about 30 calories and 2.5g fat per slice (PointsPlus® value 1*). Some favorite brands at the HG HQ? Jennie-O and Oscar Mayer. And we love Hormel's Black Label Center Cut Bacon. If you want to go the all-natural route, Applegate makes a ton of great options, including turkey bacon and reduced-sodium slices. Oscar Mayer also makes a lower-sodium variety.

More market finds… Speaking of Oscar Mayer, I LOVE O.M.'s Real Bacon Bits, which are precooked and crumbled. They're great for a fast fix and have only 25 calories and 1.5g fat per tablespoon (PointsPlus® value 1*). There's also a turkey-bacon version, and Hormel has one with a kick of jalapeño. YUM! And for ready-made, bacon-packed meals, try Weight Watchers Smart Ones Turkey Bacon Melt Quesadilla and Jimmy Dean Delights Bacon, Egg & Cheese Honey Wheat Flatbread.

Fun faux-bacon fix... For a creamy no-guilt spread infused with bacon flavor (but no actual bacon), check out Baconnaise Lite. A 1-tbsp. serving has only 30 calories and 3g fat (PointsPlus® value 1*). It is SO good! Stock up if you find it because we've heard it's been discontinued!

Bacon recipe bonanza... Click here for our Big Bacon Mac 'n Cheese and Scoopable Chicken Club with Extra Bacon, plus a BIG bacon-packed recipe roundup! And definitely check out the BLT Pizza, Hawaiian Stuffed Burgers, Bacon Cheeseburger Egg Bake, and Cheesy Zucchini Skins.

AHHHH, so much bacon deliciousness!!!!

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Did you know that today, September 4th, is Eat an Extra Dessert Day? If you're gonna have two, keep 'em guilt-free, people! Hungry Girl 200 Under 200 Just Desserts has just what you need.

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*The PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe, or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark and SmartPoints
® trademark.

SmartPoints® value not what you expected? Click here for more info on how the values are calculated, plus more FAQs about PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values on our website.

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