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Hey HG,

I'm IN LOVE with your recipes, but I prefer not to use too much artificial sweetener. Do you have any stevia suggestions for recipes that call for no-calorie sweetener packets? Which brands are best? Also, is there a natural swap for the granulated version of Splenda that's called for in some of your recipes? Thanks, HG!

Naturally Sweet in Sarasota
Dear Naturally Sweet,

Thanks for emailing; these are some great questions. I have to confess that I'm not always crazy about the flavor of stevia products. I think I'll always prefer the taste of Splenda. But I've tried many versions of stevia, and I definitely have opinions on which taste the best. In terms of zero-cal packets, Truvia comes out on top. PureVia and Stevia Extract In The Raw are pretty good, too. I also like Sun Crystals, a stevia/sugar combo with five calories per packet. My least favorite brands are the old-school ones that have been around forever and come in plain packaging -- those have a bit of a chemical taste. (They're mostly sold in natural foods stores, since they aren't as mainstream as newer brands.) As for an alternative to Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated), I'm happy to report that we just found one that works pretty well! It's Stevia Extract In the Raw's Cup for Cup granulated sweetener -- it comes loose in the bag, just like Splenda's granulated stuff. We recently used it in place of Splenda in our Grab 'n Go Breakfast Cookies, and the results were really good! One tip, though: Stevia Extract In the Raw's Cup for Cup product is a bit sweeter than Splenda's version, so you may want to use a little less in recipes. Try it out and let me know what you think! P.S. Some other stevia brands make similar products, but we haven' tried them yet. If anyone out there has discovered one they LOVE, let me know...


 


Dear HG,

I am OBSESSED with BBQ sauce -- I put it on everything! Most of the bottled sauces I've seen have about 60 calories a serving, which adds up when you use as much as I do. Any tips for lower-cal BBQ sauces that taste great and won't add tons of calories to my meal if I pour 'em on generously?

Saucy Shannon
Dear Saucy Shannon,

I am a HUGE fan of BBQ sauce as well. I even use it as a salad dressing sometimes. I try to be careful, though, because it is definitely too easy to use more than a 2-tbsp. serving in one sitting. In fact, it's almost impossible for me! So, I have a few saucy tips and tricks for you...

For starters, there are some brands that have just 30 - 45 calories per 2-tbsp. serving. If you can't find any at the supermarket, they might be worth ordering online. I really like the kinds by Chris' & Pitt'sStubb's, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, and (my latest obsession!) Duke's Roadhouse. Another BBQ sauce tip is to mix a serving of it with a little fat-free sour cream or fat-free ranch dressing. The result will be a nice large serving of a creamy BBQ sauce that makes a fantastic dip and/or salad dressing. Yum! Or, if the BBQ sauce is very thick, try adding a tiny bit of water to make it go further. And if you're grilling up items like chicken or fish, add the sauce afterward instead of slathering it on first -- you'll save loads of calories that way. Finally, I've got a SUPER-DELICIOUS BBQ sauce concoction (it's used in a few HG recipes). You can easily quadruple the recipe and keep a container of it in the fridge. It's really low in calories and tastes fantastic! Here it is... 

HG's Not-So-Secret BBQ Sauce
PER SERVING (half of recipe, about 3 tbsp.): 37 calories, 0g fat, 347mg sodium, 9g carbs, 0.5g fiber, 8g sugars, <1g protein -- PointsPlus® value 1*

Ingredients:
1/4 cup canned tomato sauce
2 tbsp. ketchup
2 tsp. brown sugar (not packed)
2 tsp. cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Directions:
Mix well. (That's it!)

MAKES 2 SERVINGS

Happy BBQ-ing!

 
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