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Hungry Girl Today: 5.16.12

Hello Hungry Girl,

I really (I mean really) like crunchy wasabi peas. I could eat them all day long. My friend told me they're bad news. Is that true? They're just peas, after all. Thanks!

Peas Please

Hi Peas Please,

Great question! Your friend has a point. Most crunchy wasabi peas you find at the store are what I call food fakers -- meaning they seem like they'd be completely guilt-free, but they're really not. Just because something is veggie-based doesn't mean it's low in calories and/or fat. And unfortunately, that's the case with these peas. They're often FRIED (which is what gives them that crunchy outer layer) and then coated in wasabi powder or sauce mixed with sugar, salt, and/or oil. A 1/3-cup serving has around 150 calories and 5g fat -- not terrible, but as you know, it can be difficult to stop at a third of a cup.

But that doesn't mean you have to completely give up the snack you love. Freeze-dried peas, like the ones from Just Tomatoes, Etc.!, are crunchy and delicious like wasabi peas, but without all the fat and excess calories. They're basically just peas that have been zapped of their moisture, leaving you with a light 'n crispy snack with a nice serving size. If you're feeling crafty, try spritzing them with a little nonstick spray and then sprinkling them with some wasabi powder or spicy seasonings.

If you're not quite ready to give up your favorite pre-packaged wasabi peas, try adding a small handful to lighter foods, like salads and savory snack mixes made with 94% fat-free microwave popcorn. You'll get the flavor you love without going overboard.

BTW, for those of you following Weight Watchers, regular green peas don't fall under the category of veggies that have a PointsPlus