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Hungry Girl Today: 01.19.07

GIRLS BITE OUT

We've bitten, blended, melted and mixed pretty much every guilt-free
cheese out there -- and now we're blabbing about four of 'em...

Soy Cheese Shreds and Slices - Galaxy's Veggie Brand
(1/4 cup shreds: 60 - 70 calories, 4 - 4.5g fat, 260 - 280mg sodium, <1 - 1g
carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugars, 5g protein = 1 - 2 Points)
(1 slice: 35 - 40 calories, 2 - 2.5g fat, 190 - 220mg sodium, <1 - 1g carbs,
0g fiber, 0g sugars, 3g protein = 1 Point)

The 411: These soy-based cheeses have slightly more calories and fat than
fat-free cheeses, but we decided they were worth a chew. They come in tons
of varieties, and are surprisingly easy to find in the produce aisle of most
grocery stores.

The Verdict: Eaten alone, you'll probably notice a slightly different taste than
traditional dairy. But on sandwiches and in recipes, they have a rich cheesy
taste that would fool diehard cheese-lovers. The shreds definitely melt better
than regular fat-free cheese, probably due to those extra few fat grams. We
especially love the 60-calorie-per-serving Cheddar & Pepper Jack Blend. And
we're super-impressed with the Smoked Provolone Slices (1 slice: 35
calories, 2g fat = 1 Point). This smokey slice is one of the lowest in calories
and is definitely a rare flavor find for a light cheese. We also love the
Swiss 'cuz it tastes soooo goooood. Mmmmmm!

HG Honors: Most Sandwich-Friendly. Make guilt-free melts, burritos and more
with it.




Fat-Free Shreds & Slices - Kraft Fat Free
(1 oz. shreds: 45 calories, 0g fat, 280 - 340mg sodium, 2g carbs, 0 - 1g
fiber, 0g sugars, 8 - 9g protein = 1 Point)
(1 slice: 30 calories, 0g fat, 250 - 280mg sodium, 2g carbs, 0g fiber, 1g
sugars, 4 - 5g protein = 1 Point)

The 411: Kraft offers up quite a few flavors of these no-fat cheeses, but the
shreds are actually super-hard to find (wahhh!). Stores seem to stock up on
the reduced fat ones (about twice the calories with around 5 grams of fat per
serving - no thanks!), instead. The slices are pretty easy to locate, though.

The Verdict: Don't get us wrong, we LOVE these slices (and ALWAYS keep
them on hand). But melting these things can be like a science experience
gone awry. They kinda bubble for a second and then sort of spring back to
their original shape (weird!). And they definitely taste like "fake" cheese. If
you're a true cheese fan, you may not love this stuff. However, if you're a
calorie-counter looking for a simple swap, the slices are the way to go.

HG Honors: Best Low-Cal Snack Cheese. A 30-calorie slice hits the spot.




Low-Calorie Soft Cheese - The Laughing Cow Light
(5 Cheese Bites or 1 Wedge: 35 calories, 2g fat, 260 - 300mg sodium, 1g
carbs, 0g fiber, 1g sugars, 2.5 - 3g protein = 1 Point)

The 411: The wedges are available in an impressive array of fancy flavors:
French Onion, Garlic & Herb, and Original Swiss. And they're popping up
everywhere, in the refrigerated dairy section of many markets. The tiny and
adorable Gourmet Cheese Bites may be harder to find, but they're worth the
hunt.

The Verdict: This may well be the best cheese on the planet. Really. Great on
sandwiches, melted into sauces, or even as a cream cheese swap, these
spreadable bites 'n wedges ROCK OUR FACES OFF.

HG Honors: Best Recipe Swap Cheese. Use these in creamy sauces by
mixing 'em with skim or light soy milk and fat-free sour cream. And ditch
fatty mayo-based spreads for this cheese, too.




Fat-Free Feta Crumbles - President
(1 oz.: 30 calories, 0g fat, 450mg sodium, 1 - 2g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugars,
6 - 8g protein = 1 Point)

The 411: These flavor-packed crumbles come in decadent flavors like
Mediterranean Herbs and Tomato Basil (the original is actually the best of
all). Sadly, they're nearly impossible to find. Look for them at specialty shops
and grocery stores with huge gourmet and dairy sections. Reduced fat types
are more readily available, but those have around 70 calories and 5 fat
grams per 1/4-cup serving, which isn't exactly a calorie bargain.

The Verdict: These crumbles taste so similar to full-fat versions, our eyes
almost popped out of our heads (in a good way) when we saw the extra low
calorie count. And trust us, a little of this stuff goes a looooong way. They're
good served cold (on salads and in dips) or warm and melt-y (on sandwiches
and in soups).

HG Honors: Most Like The Real Thing Cheese. Whether you sprinkle 'em over
salads, use them to cheese up a fish dish, or toss some in a low-cal wrap,
these crazy crumbles don't taste diet-y at all.

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--
Chew on This:
January 20th is National Cheese Lover's Day. Well, thank goodness for our
cheesy lowdown. Now you can celebrate. Woohoo!
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