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Fattening Food Fakers & Snack Tips for Commuters!
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Fattening Food Fakers & Snack Tips for Commuters!

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05.16.12
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Hello Hungry Girl,

I really (I mean really) like crunchy wasabi peas. I could eat them all day long. My friend told me they're bad news. Is that true? They're just peas, after all. Thanks!

Peas Please

Hi Peas Please,

Great question! Your friend has a point. Most crunchy wasabi peas you find at the store are what I call food fakers -- meaning they seem like they'd be completely guilt-free, but they're really not. Just because something is veggie-based doesn't mean it's low in calories and/or fat. And unfortunately, that's the case with these peas. They're often FRIED (which is what gives them that crunchy outer layer) and then coated in wasabi powder or sauce mixed with sugar, salt, and/or oil. A 1/3-cup serving has around 150 calories and 5g fat -- not terrible, but as you know, it can be difficult to stop at a third of a cup.

But that doesn't mean you have to completely give up the snack you love. Freeze-dried peas, like the ones from Just Tomatoes, Etc.!, are crunchy and delicious like wasabi peas, but without all the fat and excess calories. They're basically just peas that have been zapped of their moisture, leaving you with a light 'n crispy snack with a nice serving size. If you're feeling crafty, try spritzing them with a little nonstick spray and then sprinkling them with some wasabi powder or spicy seasonings.

If you're not quite ready to give up your favorite pre-packaged wasabi peas, try adding a small handful to lighter foods, like salads and savory snack mixes made with 94% fat-free microwave popcorn. You'll get the flavor you love without going overboard.

BTW, for those of you following Weight Watchers, regular green peas don't fall under the category of veggies that have a PointsPlus® value of 0*. Good to know! And for more food fakers to watch out for, click here! 

Hey HG,

My husband's daily commute is two hours long. He's so hungry by the end of the day that he stops for fast food on the way home and ends up skipping dinner with me. Any ideas for light snacks I can send with him that'll hold him over 'til dinner?

Snackless in Seattle

Hi Snackless,

I'm a pro when it comes to emergency snacking, and I've got lots of ideas that are guy-friendly.

Jerky is a no-brainer. Although it's often associated with being a manly snack, I eat it all the time because it is packed with protein, tastes great, and is typically low in fat and calories. Plus, there are so many to choose from -- plain beef, seasoned chicken or turkey... even meatless soy jerky.

If you know he goes for carby stuff like French fries, pack him some portion-controlled light chips. Some of my favorites are Popchips (especially the Barbeque ones; and I always say that Salt & Pepper is totally a boy flavor!), Cape Cod reduced-fat chips, and Baked! Lay's. Other light and crispy snacks? Mini rice cakes in savory flavors and pretzel flats (like Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps). If he's all about quantity, mini bags of 94% fat-free microwave popcorn are the way to go -- you get about FIVE cups of popcorn for 100 calories or so. Just pop it first and pack it up.

Invest in a mini cooler, and you'll really expand his snacking options. Individually wrapped cheese, like light string cheese or Mini Babybel is great -- click here for my favorite cheesy picks! Other things to pack for him? Lean slices of deli meat (the protein will hold him over until dinner) and easy-to-pop-in-your-mouth fruit like grapes and blueberries. And don't forget about beverages to keep your man hydrated. It's easy to mistake thirst for hunger. If he craves soda but not all the calories, check out Coke Zero and Dr Pepper TEN... very guy-friendly!

You can also get creative and DIY. Make snack mixes using his favorite treats (click here, here, and here for a few ideas), or make a batch of these oat-packed cookies. Good luck! And remember, safety first... Tell your hubby to pull over before busting out his snacks!

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*The PointsPlus® 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.

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