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Hungry Girl Today: 03.02.11
Dear HG,

It's the time of year for Girl Scout cookies, and they are SO hard to resist! Are there any swaps you can recommend? And if I AM going to buy the real thing, which kind is my best bet? Any tips on how to avoid overdoing it? Thank you!

Cookie Craver

Hi Craver,

You're not alone! I've been getting lots of emails about the infamous Girl Scout cookies. 'Tis the season! Luckily, I have a slew of guilt-free swaps and some tips too...

Kellogg's FiberPlus Antioxidants Bars in Caramel Coconut Fudge - Samoas, a.k.a. Caramel deLites, are super-popular. But a 2-cookie serving has 140 calories, 7g fat, and a PointsPlus® value of 4*. And who can stop at just two!?! These bars from Kellogg are a FANTASTIC swap. Not only do they taste JUST like Samoas and have great stats (1 bar = 120 calories, 4g fat, and a PointsPlus® value of 3*), but they're also portion-controlled and packed with fiber... 9 grams! (Calorie count comes straight from the box.)

Dreyer's/Edy's Limited Edition Girl Scouts Slow Churned Light Ice Cream - With actual pieces of GS cookies inside, this is a GREAT way to feed a craving for the Scouts' sweets. In Thin Mint and Samoas, a 1/2-cup serving has 120 calories, 4.5g fat, and a PointsPlus® value of 3*. Heads-up: Dreyer's/Edy's also makes regular ice cream versions with higher stats, so make sure to get the Slow Churned Light kind!

Nabisco 100 Calorie Packs Lorna Doone Shortbread Cookie Crisps - Girl Scout Shortbread cookies aren't too bad in the stats department -- a 4-cookie serving has 120 calories, 4.5g fat, and a PointsPlus® value of 3*. (Trefoils, although similar, have higher stats.) But if you have trouble stopping at one serving, these 100 Calorie Packs are worth grabbing -- each pack has 3g fat and a PointsPlus® value of 3*.

If you want to support the Girl Scouts and buy the real things, your best bets are those Shortbread cookies and the new caramel-ish, biscuit-like Shout Outs! (4 cookies = 130 calories, 5g fat, and a PointsPlus® value of 3*). But no matter which flavor you go with, I recommend immediately breaking the cookies down into single servings. (Use baggies or sealable plastic containers.) Another tip is to pair a few cookies with a guilt-free treat to make them go a long way. Top your cookies with a little Cool Whip Free (try it frozen!) or crush 'em up and add to a 60-calorie pudding snack. Another idea? Pair a serving with a piece of fruit, which has a PointsPlus® value of 0*. Have two Tagalongs (Peanut Butter Patties) with a half of a banana for a total PointsPlus® value of 4*. Not bad...

Hi Hungry Girl,

I like salads. But what I miss is some "crunch," without the fat that comes with croutons. Help me put that crunchy texture in my salads without adding too many calories and fat grams.

Susie Salad

Hi Suz,

I love salads -- especially GIGANTIC ones! And there are ways to get that crispy goodness without adding greasy hunks of stale bread. Here are some crunchtastic options that I really like...

Canned Sliced Water Chestnuts - These are GREAT in Chinese chicken salad, but feel free to experiment by adding them to other types of salad too. A 1/4-cup serving has just about 25 calories and a PointsPlus® value of 0*.

All Natural Almond Accents - I know what you're thinking... Aren't nuts high in fat? Yes, but it's the good-for-you kind of fat. And since these almonds are thinly sliced, a little goes a long way. A 1-tbsp. serving has 40 calories, 3 - 3.5g fat, and a PointsPlus® value of 1*. Plus, there are AMAZING flavor options to choose from!

Baked Tortilla Chips (or Other Guilt-Free Chips) - A few chips go far when you crush 'em up for a salad topper. And they're just like those fried tortilla strips served on restaurant salads except, um, not fried! Feel free to get creative too -- try flavored varieties like Barbeque Popchips!

Fiber One Original Bran Cereal - Yes, these cereal twigs are slightly sweet and not for every type of salad. But they're crunchy and delicious, and they taste amazing on grilled chicken salads and fruity salads. Sprinkle on 1/4 cup of the cereal for just 30 calories and a PointsPlus® value of 1*.

HG's EZ Oven-Baked Croutons - If you're really craving the buttery, seasoned crunch of actual croutons, just make your own. Cut a slice of light bread into small squares, and place the squares on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick spray. Spritz with zero-calorie butter spray (like I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! Spray) and sprinkle with seasonings like garlic powder and onion powder. Then bake until crispy, about 4 minutes at 350 degrees. Or if you're feeling lazy, just top a piece of hot toasted light bread with the butter spray and seasoning, let it cool, and then cut it up. Easy and only about 45 calories and a PointsPlus® value of 1*.

Happy crunching, you!

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

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