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Hungry Girl Today: 09.09.11
We love food, but sometimes it can be surprisingly -- even shockingly -- sneaky. Read up on these TOP ATE food fakers and don't be fooled again!

Veggie Chips/Crisps

Just because a crunchy snack has "veggie" in its name, that doesn't necessarily mean it's good for you. Sometimes these things are simply veggie flavored and contain a scant amount of real-deal veggies. Plus, they're typically fattening due to an abundance of a three-letter chip foe -- OIL. Even the healthiest food in the world will become fatty and high in calories if it's fried in too much oil. Need some proof? A 1-oz. serving of Terra Stix, a.k.a. "A Delectable Medley of Exotic Vegetables," has 9 grams of fat and 150 calories -- just as much as an ounce of your average potato chips. Instead, try baking some kale with just a few spritzes of nonstick spray. Then get crunching!

Restaurant Salads

To some of you this may sound like a broken record, but it's important to repeat for the newbies: A salad is not always the best choice on the menu! Dressing, cheese, fried toppings, and more can all contribute to sky-high calorie counts. Even the most innocent-sounding salads can be nutritional nightmares. Case in point? T.G.I. Friday's Caribbean Passion Tossed Salad with ahi tuna is loaded with fruit, fish, and a vinaigrette dressing. The salad packs in 1,130 calories and 66 grams of fat. Not all vinaigrettes are light, people -- a serving of this one has 360 calories and 28 grams of fat! A better choice? The Balsamic Glazed Chicken Caesar salad, with 490 calories -- swap the Caesar Vinaigrette for the Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette to save even more calories!

Flavored Water

FAKER ALERT! So many products refer to themselves as "water," even when they're fully flavored and sweetened. Some of these are reasonable options; some of them really aren't. Most flavors of regular Vitaminwater have 50 calories per 8-oz. serving... but those 20-oz. bottles have 2 1/2 servings each! That means a bottle has 125 calories, not to mention around 30 grams of sugar (which is more than a cup of Coke)! Vitaminwater Zero, on the other hand, is a MUCH better choice, with sweetness and flavor but virtually no sugar and zero calories per serving.


"Smoothie" is one of those terms with a health halo over it, meaning it sounds more nutritious than it actually is. Not all smoothies are smart choices. Many of them have WAY too much added sugar (sometimes in the form of straight-up syrup) and other fattening add-ins (like the next item on this list). Plus they're often too large and tossed back like basic beverages when they're more like meal replacements or substantial snacks. CHECK THE STATS before you order. If you don't check, you might wind up ordering a Mango-a-go-go smoothie at Jamba Juice... the Original size has 400 calories and 85 grams of sugar! Check, and you can instead select the Jamba Light Mango Mantra (Original size), saving you 150 calories and 34 grams of sugar. Sweet!


It looks so wholesome, with its oats and grains and other virtuous things. Yeah, oats and grains are great for you -- just not when they're coated with tons of sugar, cooked in too much oil, and served in cereal bowls instead of teeny portions. This is yet another case where you NEED to check the labels. Don't just check the calories and fat content, though -- take a look at the serving size! Bear Naked's Fruit and Nut Granola has 140 calories and 7 grams of fat per serving, BUT the serving size is only 1/4 cup. Kashi's granola-like GoLean Crunch! has only 190 calories and 3 grams of fat in a full cup. Add some fresh fruit to that, and you'll be better off.

Dried Fruit

"HG, it's FRUIT. It HAS to be good for me." While fruit is great for you, too much sugar in too small a serving is not. A third of a cup of raisins isn't much, yet it contains as many grams of sugar as a Snickers bar and the same amount of calories as THREE CUPS of fresh strawberries. Hmmm... And we've warned you about banana chips before; not only are they sugary, but they're also usually FRIED. Wanna chomp on dehydrated fruit? Go freeze-dried. Brands like Funky Monkey and Just Tomatoes, Etc! have great options that are low in calories with large serving sizes and no added sugar. Plus, crunchy foods are more fun to eat.

Not-So-Single Servings

Heads up! Just because it LOOKS like one serving doesn't mean it is "one serving" (as defined by the nutritional panel). Remember your shock and horror the first time you saw that a standard box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese allegedly makes THREE servings? Exactly. Deceptive packaging doesn't always mean those foods are off-limits -- just be smart. Canned soup is a great example, since most people consume the entire two-serving can -- we eat canned low-fat soup all the time; we just multiply the stats. And now, a guilt-free news flash! Blue Bunny Personals used to contain two servings in each mini-carton of ice cream, which we did NOT appreciate... Not anymore! Someone was paying attention over there, because the "Personals" have been downsized to true single-serving cartons. Good bunny!

Alterna-Burgers: Turkey, Fish, and Veggie Burgers

In general, yes -- turkey, fish, and veggie options are often lighter than fatty beef dishes served at restaurants. BUT (there's that "BUT" again) they're not always as guilt-free as they sound. The turkey burgers at Carl's Jr. are a great example of this -- click here for the scoop on how to make 'em more diet-friendly. If you order a Vegan Boca Burger at Red Robin, prepare to swallow 546 calories and 21 grams of fat. (Why? 240 calories come from the bun, and the Country Dijon Spread contains a whopping 16 grams of fat.) And don't assume Burger King's BK Big Fish is a better sandwich option than the beef burgers; it has 640 calories and 32 grams of fat. You'd be better off with a Whopper Jr. -- skip the mayo and it'll have 260 calories and 10 grams of fat!

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Today, September 9th, is the birthday of the hot dog... or is it? Some say it was invented on this day in 1884. Others discredit this, citing that the original frankfurter emerged in Germany sometime back in 1487. Can't we all just agree that hot dogs taste good and make some fun recipes with 'em?

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