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Hungry Girl Today: 08.10.11

Dear HG,

I love your website! I'm on there at least once a day searching for recipe ideas, shopping tips, and so much more, which got me thinking... What recipe and food resources do you look to for fun and inspiration?

Must-Know Melinda

Hi Melinda,

What a cool question. Thank you! I love that you're so hooked on the HG site. I'm the same way when it comes to Food Network. (And NOT just because Hungry Girl airs on FN now!) I'm a huge fan of pretty much everything on that network, especially The Best Thing I Ever Ate and Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Those shows are great for recipe inspiration because it's a goal of mine to make over EVERY crazy-delicious-but-fattening item I see! I also like to check out fast-food and chain-restaurant websites for dishes that I can give HG-friendly makeovers. Sometimes, my inspiration comes from completely unexpected places -- my iHungry Spaghetti Tacos were inspired by iCarly! And, of course, some of my best ideas come from the HG fans. You guys are truly awesome and creative and great, and I love seeing what HGers are talking about on my Facebook page and reading through our suggestion box. Keep it coming! As for other food-related resources I like... When it comes to finding nutrition stats, I head to the food database over at CalorieKing. And for more info than you've ever wanted to know about food and health, my go-to site is The World's Healthiest Foods. And now you know... Thanks for checking in!

Hey Hungry Girl,

Is it true that zero-calorie sweetener packets and cooking sprays really DO have calories?! I'm confused.

Questioning Calorie Claims

Hey QCC,

It IS true... But before you go trashing your little yellow packets and picketing PAM, here's the deal. According to FDA rules, if something has less than FIVE calories per serving, the label can claim it has ZERO calories. Most "zero-calorie" sweetener packets have about 4 calories each, however that's still less than a third of the calories in sugar packets. Things get a little trickier with nonstick spray. While a serving has less than 5 calories, a typical serving size is listed as "a 1/4-second spray." Is it even possible to spray for less than a second? Highly doubtful. A much more realistic serving is a 1-second spray, which has about 5 to 10 calories and 0.5 to 1 gram of fat. Still MUCH better than even a teaspoon of cooking oil, which has about 40 calories and 4.5g fat. So use these low-calorie staples, but be aware that they do contain some calories. If you're a strict calorie counter who uses many "zero-calorie" sweetener packets per day, start counting those 4 calories per packet. If you're going through that can of cooking spray pretty quickly, keep in mind that the average can contains around 900 calories. No reason to be alarmed here, but this is good info to know and understand. Knowledge is power...

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