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Hi, HG!

I am a HUGE fan of the McRib at McDonald's. Any way I can replicate this taste sensation for fewer calories in the privacy of my own home?

McCraving the McRib
Dear McCraving,

Yes, yes, YES! The elusive McRib has come and gone unpredictably ever since it was introduced back in 1981. It has been featured on the Late Show with David Letterman (twice!) and spoofed on The Simpsons (once, in episode #303!). And while it may be the butt of many jokes, there are those who are McRib-obsessed and therefore need to know that the saucy mess of a sandwich has a whopping 500 calories and 26 grams of fat (POINTS® value 12*). The good news is you can make a version at home that tastes just as good yet has fewer calories and a fraction of the fat. The key ingredient: a Gardenburger BBQ Riblet. Each meatless Riblet with sauce has 220 calories, 3.5g fat, 35g carbs, 5g fiber, and 18g protein (POINTS® value 4*). Look for Riblets in the freezer aisle -- they're usually near the veggie burgers (click here to find a store near you that stocks 'em). Just take one of those BBQ-sauce-drenched things, slap it on a light bun or between 2 slices of toasted light bread (see our grocery list for our picks), toss two dill pickle chips and some onion slices on it, and you're good to go! Your McRib sandwich will have around 340 calories, less than 5g fat, and a POINTS® value of about 6*. Those are HUGE savings. You can cut those numbers even more by eating the thing open-faced with only half the bun or 1 slice of bread and/or not using ALL the sauce the Riblet comes in (there's a LOT of sauce!). It's up to you. This McRib swap is PERFECT -- the BBQ sauce, pickles, and onions make it taste EXACTLY like the McD's version. And if you want to get a low-carb McRib fix, enjoy the Riblet, onions, and pickles over lettuce for only around 240 calories and a POINTS® value of 4*. That's great, as well. (BTW, I am NOT some sort of McRib groupie who had all of those crazy facts memorized. I Googled all that.)

Hungry Girl,

What's the deal with Subway's new Flatbreads? Are they lower in calories than the subs? How many calories (and POINTS®) are in those things?

Flatbread Fanatic
Dear Flatbread Fanatic,

Don't let the name fool you. Those Flatbread Sandwiches at Subway aren't any lower in fat or calories than other sandwiches. In fact, Subway's two signature Flatbread offerings, the Chicken Florentine and the Steak & Bacon Melt, have 520 and 440 calories respectively, 16 - 22g fat, and a POINTS® value of 10 - 11*. And while you can order any sandwich with Flatbread, it's not your best bet. That bread alone has 240 calories and 5 fat grams (POINTS® value 5*). You're better off sticking with 6-inch Wheat Bread (200 calories, 2.5g fat, 4g fiber -- POINTS® value 3*) or another 6-inch bread option without any cheese baked in (the cheese-free ones each have a POINTS® value of 4*). The Mini Wheat Bread (140 calories, 2g fat, 3g fiber -- POINTS® value 2*) and Mini Italian (White) Bread (130 calories, 1.5g fat, 1g fiber -- POINTS® value 3*) are also great, but only if you aren't super-hungry. As for building your sandwich, ditch mayo (and mayo-packed deli salads), cheese (unless it's your only protein), and fatty dressings. Opt for lean deli meats, lots of veggies (lettuce, tomato, peppers, pickles, onions, etc.) and mustard or fat-free sauce. Other standouts at Subway? The sides. Go for apple slices, Baked! Lay's, or yogurt. The salads are also good -- create your own with the guilt-free stuff listed above, and then finish it off with a fat-free dressing. As for the soups, just skip the Chili Con Carne, Cream of Potato with Bacon, Golden Broccoli & Cheese, and (believe it or not) the Wild Rice with Chicken -- all the others have 80 - 170 calories and 0.5 - 5g fat (POINTS® value 1 - 3*). Nice! BTW, wanna check out our ATE Qs with Subway's Jared? Click here!

December is National Fruitcake Month. Does a Hostess 100 Calorie Pack of Strawberry Cake count as fruitcake?!
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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.