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Hungry Girl Today: 10.01.08


Dear Hungry Girl,

Your recipes sound great, but I've noticed that you use a lot of packaged
foods in them. Why do you use so many packaged foods? I heard someone
on TV say it's best to only shop the "perimeter of the grocery store" and
avoid the inner aisles -- is this good advice?

Confused in Aisle 1

Dear Confused,

I am actually asked these questions A LOT. Yes, I have heard that you
should only shop the perimeter of the supermarket as well as a bazillion
reasons why you should only eat natural and/or organic foods. And while
those ideas are good in theory, they're not 100% realistic for most of us.
Here's the bottom line. I personally eat a ton of fresh fruit and veggies -- I
also eat a lot of lean meats and low-fat dairy. Those are all great things, and
I encourage others to eat them. The HG book and emails have many recipes
with a lot of fresh fruit, veggies, and lean protein. And there ARE some HG
recipes that don't call for any packaged foods at all -- check out our Bake-
tastic Butternut Squash Fries, Yummy Yummy Eggplant Goo, and Fiesta
Tropical Fruit Salsa. But telling people to never eat the other stuff isn't
entirely reasonable. I don't think people are going to live their lives never
eating a crunchy chip or a scoop of ice cream... never indulging in a piece of
cake or a brownie. It's not realistic to think most people can live that way.
Also, a lot of people think that if they get their cake or brownies at Whole
Foods, it is automatically a good choice for them and somehow diet-friendly.
This is completely untrue. You will never convince me that eating thousands
of calories' worth of "natural" foods is somehow better for you than a calorie-
controlled diet, one that addresses your cravings but contains some foods
with ingredients that are a little hard to pronounce. HG recipes often call for
packaged foods because they keep the recipes low-calorie, low-fat, delicious,
and easy. And another thing -- some people claim to be super-healthy
because they avoid packaged foods, yet they'll head out to eat and devour
an entire plate of onion rings as an appetizer and a slice of cheesecake for
dessert. I'd rather avoid fried foods and fatty desserts at restaurants and
make baked onion rings (with Fiber One cereal) and low-calorie desserts
(with a bit of Cool Whip Free) in my kitchen. I think including those "inner
aisle" foods as a way to maintain a healthy weight without feeling totally
deprived is actually pretty smart. Especially since deprivation can lead to
overdoing it with the food you were avoiding in the first place. My point here
is that the HG lifestyle is one that is "real world". It's a strategy and an
approach that is reasonable enough for people to live with forever -- it's not
too extreme or off-putting. And that is super-important when dealing with an
eating plan. Again, eat whole and all-natural foods as part of a sensible diet
whenever possible -- I'm all for that. But that doesn't mean you have to cut
all the other stuff out of your life completely. Thanks for the great questions!

Dear HG,

If a product says that it's "97% fat-free", doesnÂ’t that mean that no more
than 3% of the calories can come from fat? I realized recently that my
beloved Hebrew National 97% Fat Free Beef Franks have 1.5g fat each. Since
a gram of fat has 9 calories, that means each hot dog really has 13.5
calories from fat -- and that's THIRTY PERCENT of the total calories. How can
this be?!?

Percentage Perplexed

Dear Percentage Perplexed,

First of all, I'm extremely impressed with your math skills and savvy
detective work! Those dogs DO have 30% of their calories coming from fat.
Don't panic -- here's the deal. The percentage claim is actually based on
WEIGHT, not calories. So since each of those dogs weighs 49 grams, only
3% of that weight can be from fat. Since 3% of 49g is just under 1.5g, the
97% fat-free claim is totally accurate. A little confusing, I know! So does this
mean companies can get away with labeling super-fatty foods as a certain
percentage fat-free just because they weigh enough? Luckily, NO! For a
product to tout that it's ANY percentage "fat-free", it has to at least be "low-
fat" -- that means it can only have 3g fat or less per serving. So as long as
you don't eat TOO many servings, you should be okay! And if you wanna
watch your percentage of fat per day, pay attention to the % daily value on
the label. That IS based on a 2,000-calories-a-day diet, but it can be a good,
quick reference. Hope that helps. BTW, I LOVE those hot dogs and eat them
all the time!

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October 1st (today) starts the beginning of PUDDING SEASON! Yay! It's also
Homemade Cookies Day -- so bake up a batch of our Grab 'n Go Breakfast

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