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Hungry G.,

Other than actual BUTTER, what are your go-to products for buttery flavor?

Butter-Lovin' Babe
Dear Butter-Lovin' Babe,

I love the flavor of butter as well, so I am pretty picky with substitutes. And as much as I love "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!" Spray, I think it's only great on some stuff as opposed to being an all-around butter swap. I recommend using it to get a little butter flavor on steamed veggies, on popcorn, and in select recipes. Bottom line? It's best in small doses. And I don't recommend taking the top off and pouring it either. (Click here to find out why!) When you are looking for an actual spreadable swap for butter, go for light whipped butter or light buttery spread with about 45 calories and 5g fat per tablespoon. There are a few good ones out there. Land O'Lakes Whipped Light Butter will satisfy even the pickiest butter-lovers because it pretty much IS butter -- just a tiny bit lighter. But my absolute favorite is Brummel & Brown. It's made with yogurt and it tastes INSANELY FANTASTIC!!!! BTW, there are some fat-free spreads out there with about 5 calories per tablespoon, but I'm not a fan of those. I think it's SO worth it to use the light spreads, instead. Have a guilt-free buttery day!

Hi, HG!

How do you get back on track after having a meal with too many calories? How do you NOT blow the whole day?

Calorie-Counting in California

Dear Calorie-Counting,

You ask some excellent and very important questions. There are many things that can help you bounce back after splurging on a meal, and the more you do these things, the easier they get. I'll break it down for you...

1. Don't turn a bad meal into a bad MONTH. It's all about being aware and able to move forward, and being willing to make conscious, smart decisions. If you eat too much or have a high-calorie meal (and it happens to all of us), there's no reason to give up and blow the rest of the day. Truly. That kind of attitude is not productive and could even lead you to blow the week or even the MONTH, right? Telling yourself you'll get back on track on Monday or on the first of the month? Please! That attitude is so 1985. You'll feel a LOT better if it's just one out-of-control meal, and you'll save yourself thousands of calories, as well.

2. If you overeat or indulge in something high in calories, don't beat yourself up over it. Just deal with it -- and make better choices the rest of the day. There's nothing wrong with splurging every now and then. It doesn't make you "bad" -- it makes you HUMAN. So get over it and move on!

3. Something that ALWAYS helps me get back on track right away is exercise. If I eat too much during a meal, I feel a lot better if I work out that night or the next morning. Even a nice half-hour or hour-long walk really helps.

4. Don't starve or restrict yourself to make up for a high-calorie meal. That'll only make things worse, since your body will be thrown off by the two extremes. The best way to get back on track is to resume eating normally.

The more you actually master this -- the art of being able to balance your meals, both the good and bad --, the easier it will ultimately be to maintain your weight, because you'll know you're able to handle challenges. Again, it's about getting RIGHT back on track (don't put it off!), not beating yourself up, adding some extra exercise, and not trying to cut crazy amounts of calories. Good luck and let me know how it goes!

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