Cookie Dough Cravings, Plus Guilt-Free Gift Baskets!

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Hi HG,

I'm a huge cookie dough fanatic... I just can't get enough! But I don't like all of the calories and fat grams that come along with it. Got any guilt-free alternatives?

Cookie Dough Craver

Hi Cookie Dough Craver,

You're definitely not alone on this one -- people LOVE cookie dough. But you're right -- it can get you into trouble. Luckily, there's some stuff out there that'll satisfy your cookie dough cravings without derailing your diet. Check 'em out...

Freezer-aisle finds - While most cookie dough ice cream is a fatty free-for-all, there are a few brands that you should get to know. Dreyer's/Edy's Slow Churned Light is my favorite guilt-free ice cream, hands down. It has half the fat and a third less calories than regular ice cream, but there's nothing diety-tasting about it. And there's a Cookie Dough flavor -- 130 calories and 3.5g fat per 1/2-cup serving (PointsPlus® value 4*)! I also love Breyers Blasts! Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chunk Cookie Dough ice cream. It's not billed as "light" on the packaging, but it has pretty reasonable stats -- 140 calories and 4.5g fat for a half cup (PointsPlus® value 4*). That's why you always have to read those nutrition labels -- sometimes there are GOOD surprises! Can't be trusted to stick to one serving? Check out Smooth & Dreamy Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sandwiches, also from Breyers. They're slightly higher in calories (160 per treat, PointsPlus® value 4*), but since they're portion controlled, you don't have to worry about finishing an entire pint of ice cream.

Cookie-dough-flavored snack bars - There are a lot of 'em out there that'll fill you up and satisfy that cookie dough craving... Luna and Larabar both make bars that taste great and have pretty good stats -- 170 - 210 calories and 6 - 11g fat (PointsPlus® value 5 - 6*), plus the Luna bar has a whopping 12g protein. If you just want a little something, Balance Bar mini energy bars come in a Cookie Dough flavor, with 100 calories and 3.5g fat each (PointsPlus® value 3*). Can't find a bar that's specifically cookie dough flavor? Any soft, chewy bar in a basic chocolate chip flavor should do the trick. Example: Clif Kid ZBar in Chocolate Chip, which has 120 calories and 3g fat (PointsPlus® value 3*).

DIY ideas - Use Torani Sugar Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Syrup to infuse anything with cookie dough flavor, guilt-free -- everything from coffee to oatmeal to HG-style French toast. And don't forget about our softies, which are soft and chewy (especially when consumed straight out of the oven). Totally cookie-dough-like, especially the chocolate chip ones.

There you have it -- lots of cookie-dough-ish products to buy and recipes to try... YAY!

Hey, Lisa!

I'm looking at gift baskets for the holidays, and they're all full of fattening foods like cheese, fatty meats, chocolate, cookies, etc. Do you have any better-for-you gift basket ideas?

Guilt-Free Gift Giver

Hi Gift Giver,

Oooh, great Q! I've got ideas for everyone on your list. And you'll be happy to know there's nothing naughty here, in case you want to treat yourself...

For HG fans... This Vitalicious gift set is a no-brainer. Gift-wrapped chocolatey treats with 100 calories each = the best! Here's another idea for lovers of guilt-free chocolate... Check out this beautifully wrapped bag of 30-calorie truffles from Gayle's Miracles. (They're essential for making these TV-famous Fudgy Truffle Bites!)

For anyone... Lucero makes the most amazing balsamic vinegars infused with fruity flavors like peach, wild cherry, and blueberry. And just 25 calories per tablespoon. We recently got our hands on the new white balsamic vinegars, and they're fantastic. This sampler pack would be perfect for any foodie. For those who like it hot, this Salsa of the Month Club rocks. We were gifted with a subscription a few years ago (thanks, Jen!), and we've been obsessed ever since. Rather go mainstream? Edible Arrangements are always good picks, and there are options for every budget.

Make your own baskets... Get creative! If your friend enjoys guilt-free cocktails, pair a copy of Hungry Girl Happy Hour with a bottle of Torani Sugar Free Syrup. (That zero-calorie mixer is essential for decadent cocktails sans guilt.) Is your pal a coffee enthusiast? Grab a bag of Starbucks Christmas Blend Blonde Roast coffee beans (so good!) and some of the seasonal Peppermint Mocha VIA. Add a cute mug, and you've got a great gift. And last but not least, lovers of our famous Lord of the Onion Rings will flip for jars of Vivi's Original Carnival Mustard Sauce and Sir Kensington's Gourmet Scooping Ketchup -- the perfect guilt-free dipping accompaniments. (Even if they're not onion ring enthusiasts, they'll likely enjoy these yummy condiments!)

Happy gifting, and happy holidays!

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Today, December 12th, is National Gingerbread House Day. We LOVE Jet-Puffed Gingerbread Mallows -- just 100 calories per 11-piece serving! Add a few to low-cal cocoa... YUM!!!

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