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Hungry Girl Today: 08.31.11

Hi Hungry Girl,

What are some of your top ingredient swaps? I've been wanting to modify some of my recipes to make them more HG friendly. Thanks!

Swap-Happy Caitlin

Hi Caitlin,

Great question! Swaps are key when it comes to guilt-free recipes, as you know. Here are some of my FAVORITES...

Instead of eggs, use fat-free liquid egg substitute. This stuff is basically just real egg whites with added nutrients and coloring. The best and most well-known brand out there is Egg Beaters Original. Liquid egg whites work too. A quarter-cup of egg substitute or liquid egg whites is equal to about one whole egg.

Instead of ground beef, use frozen ground-beef-style soy crumbles. These meat-like crumbles are one of my secret weapons. With about 120 calories and 2.5g fat per cup, they'll save you tons of fat and calories in the kitchen. They're time-savers too, since they're more or less ready to go once thawed. Click for the 411 on my favorites.

Instead of milk, use light soymilk or unsweetened almond milk. Both of these alternatives have fewer calories than even fat-free milk -- unsweetened almond milk has less than HALF the calories. These swaps are deliciously creamy and work perfectly almost everywhere regular milk is called for. (They won't work in pudding recipes.) Click for the deets on my top pick, Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze. But if you're making something savory, stick with unflavored milk swaps.

Instead of mayonnaise or sour cream, use plain fat-free Greek yogurt. This yogurt (like the kind made by Fage) is a great swap, especially if you're not crazy about the taste of fat-free mayo or sour cream. It's thick 'n creamy, packed with protein (an added bonus!), and slightly tart. Plus, unlike sour cream and mayo, it doubles as a snack. Score!

Start with these everyday swaps, which mostly measure cup for cup like their fatty counterparts, and then feel free to get creative with other Hungry Girl staple ingredients, like The Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss cheese wedges (an amazing cream cheese swap), Tofu Shirataki noodles (the world's best pasta swap), and Fiber One Original bran cereal (crush it into high-fiber breadcrumbs). Enjoy!

Hey HG,

I know you recommend a lot of beef swaps like Boca burgers and soy crumbles. Is there any way to have actual steak guilt-free?


Hi Beef-Eater,

Although you don't want to eat red meat every day, there are definitely ways to enjoy beef guilt-free. Shop for lean and extra-lean cuts -- strip, tenderloin, and top sirloin all fit the bill. Also look for steaks with the least amount of visible fat (the white marbling), and go for those with the fat grouped together (it's easier to trim a few large areas of fat than many small ones). As for cooking your steak, the grill/grill pan -- sprayed with some nonstick spray, not slathered with oil -- is your best friend. And watch those portion sizes. Each ounce of uncooked extra-lean or lean steak has about 40 calories and 1 - 2 grams of fat... Not a lot, but it adds up!

If you're eating out, you don't have to avoid steak at every restaurant. Applebee's has some great options, like the Asiago Peppercorn Steak meal (380 calories and 14g fat) and the Weight Watchers Steak & Potato Salad (380 calories and 12g fat). At Chili's, there's the Guiltless Grill Classic Sirloin entr