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11.14.07
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Dear HG,

There's all this talk about canned pumpkin, but what about pumpkin SEEDS? How many calories do they have, and are they good for me?

In Need of Seed Info
Dear In Need,

You're right. Everyone (including me) makes a big fuss over canned pumpkin, but we all seem to forget about the poor neglected seeds. Truth is, we shouldn't ignore them. They taste great (roasted pumpkin seeds ROCK!), and they're good for you, too. An ounce of pumpkin seeds in the shell (about 90 of 'em) contains around 150 calories and 10 grams of fat, plus it contains 2g fiber (POINTS® value 3*). They're loaded with nutrients like zinc, magnesium, iron, copper, vitamin K and more, and they've been known to help with symptoms of arthritis. You can roast 'em yourself using the ones from those leftover Halloween pumpkins -- just preheat the oven to 250 degrees, rinse and dry 'em well, toss them with a little cooking spray and some spices, and pop 'em in the oven for about 45 minutes. Or you can pick up pre-roasted packaged ones at the store (be sure to check those labels, though, because some have added ingredients and more calories per serving). For the full 411 on pepitas (aka pumpkin seeds), click here -- our friend George Mateljan, author of The World's Healthiest Foods, has lots to say about 'em.


Hungry Girl,

I am obsessed with sauces, but I know they can be loaded with fat and calories. Do you have any suggestions for me? What are some of your favorite condiments?

Ob-sauced in Ohio
Dear Ob-sauced,

I never get tired of this question because so few people truly understand just how bad some sauces can be -- they can add SO many calories and fat grams to an otherwise sensible meal. When it comes to sauces, try to avoid anything CREAMY, gooey, sugary or oily (there are exceptions, but it's a good guideline). Instead, stick with simple and flavorful. Here's a little list I threw together. BTW, packaged sauces in general tend to be high in sodium, so if you're watching your salt intake, you may want to go easy on 'em or seek out low-sodium versions.

Here are my current TOP ATE Favorite Sauces & Condiments:

1. Vivi's Original Sauce Classic Carnival Mustard - Quite possibly the best sauce ever created. It's part mustard, part relish, part salsa, part hot sauce -- but even if you HATE all of those other sauces, there's a good chance you'll still LOVE this stuff. I put it on tuna, veggie burgers, turkey, celery -- you name it. I dream about it! The best part is that it only has 15 calories and no fat per tablespoon (POINTS® value 0*).

2. Frank's RedHot - Hot sauce ROCKS and Frank's is the BEST one out there. I have no clue why Tabasco is so much more popular than Frank's, when Frank's is 100 times better (I guess it's similar to the whole PC vs. Mac thing -- the best product isn't always the most popular). FRANK'S is #1!!! A teaspoon of it is calorie-free and fat-free too (POINTS® value 0*).

3. Hellmann's/Best Foods Dijonnaise - It's insane that this stuff has only 5 calories and no fat per teaspoon (POINTS® value 0*) considering it tastes like it's packed with creamy mayo. This mustard/mayo combo is ALWAYS in my fridge.

4. Salsa - Salsa is a staple in my house. I cook with it, spoon it on top of b-fast scrambles, use it in place of salad dressing and as a dip -- you name it. It's fat-free and low in calories (a 2-tbsp. serving of your average salsa has 5 - 10 calories, no fat, and a POINTS® value of 0*).

5. Mustard - From yellow to spicy brown, this stuff can add zazzle to cooked dishes, sandwiches, dressings and dips -- great for adding flavor without extra calories! For most mustards, 1 teaspoon has 0 - 5 calories and no fat (POINTS® value 0*.) A few of the fancier ones have a few more calories per serving, but those are still a great option, as long you don't go overboard with 'em.

6. Canned Tomato Sauce - This stuff is so much lower in calories and fat than the jarred sauces (I just had to point that out). I use canned tomato sauce ALL the time -- just flavor it up yourself using spices (or even sweetener like Splenda, if you want!). You can also find canned tomato sauces already seasoned with Italian spices. Typically a 1/4-cup serving has 15 - 20 calories, 0g fat, and a POINTS® value of 0*.

7. KC Masterpiece Low Calorie Classic Blend - Most BBQ sauces have 60 calories per 2 tablespoons. Each 2-tbsp. serving of this stuff has just 10 calories and 0g fat (POINTS® value 0*) -- unreal!!!

8. Soy Sauce - A little of this stuff goes a looong way and can make any steamed dish taste like Chinese food. (BTW, the reduced sodium kind tastes just as good as the regular.) Use this low-cal stuff to flavor stir-frys and soups (1 tbsp. = 10 calories, 0g fat -- POINTS® value 0*). Enjoy!

 
CHEW ON THIS:
Today, November 14th, is National Pickle Day. Pickles are crunchy, flavorful, low in calories, and fat-free. WE HEART PICKLES!!!
 
 

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*The Points® 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 Points® registered trademark.