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Hungry Girl Today: 02.23.11

Dear HG,

I am a huge fan of your recipes, have several of your books, and love reading about new creations! Since I have a gluten allergy, I am wondering if you know of any gluten-less delicacies? My stomach will thank you!

Gluten-Free Groupie

Hi Gluten-Free,

Thanks for your email! There are some really delicious gluten-free items on supermarket shelves. The tricky part? To avoid getting lured in by super-fattening stuff that just happens to be free of gluten. Here are some of my favorite things that are both gluten-free AND guilt-free...

Snyder's of Hanover Gluten-Free Pretzel Sticks - Snyder's knows good snacks, and these salty sticks are no exception. You get about 20 sticks for 120 calories and a PointsPlus® value of 3*. (FYI: This calorie count and serving size come straight from the package, which is typically more accurate than stats listed on brand websites.)

Organic Bistro Whole Life Meals - If it's premade entrĂ©es complete with sides that you're after, these are absolutely worth seeking out. The Savory Turkey meal is a favorite and has just 370 calories and a PointsPlus® value of 9*.

PopCorners - Even gluttons for gluten will love these! So good. Crispy, cracker-like treats in flavors like White Cheddar and Sea Salt. Each single-serving bag has 140 - 150 calories and a PointsPlus® value of 4*.

Five Varieties of Chex Cereal - Rice, Corn, Honey Nut, Chocolate, and Cinnamon Chex all make the cut. Perfect for snack mixes and cereal bowls, with only 100 - 130 calories and a PointsPlus® value of 3 - 4* per 3/4-cup to 1-cup serving.

Betty Crocker Gluten Free Cake Mixes - With stats similar to regular cake mixes, use these in our two-ingredient cake recipes! (Just make sure the other ingredient doesn't contain some hidden source of gluten.)

Kettle Cuisine Soups - Another full lineup of freezer-aisle food that you can indulge in without having to scrutinize the ingredients list. Try the Three Bean Chili -- a 10-oz. bowl has 220 calories and a PointsPlus® value of 5*.

BTW, if you're dining out, P.F. Chang's has a pretty impressive array of gluten-free menu items, and Outback Steakhouse has a nice gluten-free guide on its site. Just check the stats online ahead of time. Thanks, guys!

P.S. Click here for TONS more gluten-free finds from a few years back. Happy chewing!

Hi HG,

I've got a challenge for you! I'm obsessed with pizza and burgers, but I am trying to cut down on starchy carbs and shed some pounds. How can I still enjoy my favorites without the doughy crust and the fluffy rolls?! HELP!

Carbie Doll

Hi Carbie,

I also try to limit what I call "dry carbs" (things like pizza crust and burger buns) when I am dieting... that's just something I've found that works for me. But I refuse to give up the foods I crave, and you shouldn't have to give them up either! Here are some ideas...

Pizza-fy Your Protein & Produce - I use a chicken cutlet as the CRUST in this recipe! It's low in starchy carbs, high in protein, and insanely delicious. You can make almost anything taste like pizza if you slather it with tomato sauce, top it with part-skim mozzarella and reduced-fat Parm, and finish it off with turkey pepperoni. Try this with scrambles (made with fat-free egg substitute), and even slabs of veggies like bell peppers.

Lettuce Wraps - I love using big leaves of romaine, butter, or iceberg lettuce as vehicles for getting delicious items into my face! Try stir-frying veggies that are commonly served on pizza -- mushrooms, onions, peppers, etc. -- with some canned crushed tomatoes and Italian spices. Once the mixture's cooled a bit, load it onto lettuce leaves and top with the cheese and pepperoni mentioned before. Yum! This works for burgers too -- just use a low-calorie meatless patty (like the kind by Boca), add some fat-free cheddar, ketchup, and mustard, and you're good to go...

In-N-Outrageous Animal-Style Salad - Prefer to fork your burger and leafy greens? This recipe ROCKS!

Pizza Burgers - When in doubt, combine your favorites! Cook up one of those Boca patties, cover it with a few tablespoons of pizza sauce, and top with a stick of light string cheese pulled into shreds. Sprinkle with seasonings like crushed red pepper and garlic powder, and go to town! That whole plateful of deliciousness will only have about 145 calories, 9g carbs, and a PointsPlus® value of 3*. Score!!!

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Today, February 23rd, is International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day. No, we are not going to suggest you chew a treat meant for pets. But feed one to a furry friend!

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*The PointsPlus® 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. For more info on the new PointsPlus® program, visit

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