Tasty Veggies (No Recipe Needed!), Plus So Many Cracker Finds!

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Hi Hungry Girl,

I like steamed veggies, but I want to dress 'em up without having to follow a full-on recipe. Any ideas?

Veggin' Out

Hi Veggin' Out,

Everyone knows you can't have dessert until you've finished your vegetables -- and if you dress up your veggies the HG way, you won't mind that one bit! Here are some quick 'n easy ways to add some pizzazz to plain ol' steamed vegetables:

'Tis the Seasoning... Seasoning your veggies takes just seconds, and there are so many mixes out there to choose from. Seasoning mixes make it easy to get great-tasting veggies without having to figure out the right blend of spices. Plus, they're virtually calorie-free. Hit the spice section of the supermarket to find flavor mixes like Italian, Cajun, and lemon pepper. Your best bet for easy seasoning is to go for the mixes in shakers, as opposed to packets -- the packeted products are typically meant to be mixed with water and/or added during cooking. If sodium's a concern, look for no-salt options like McCormick's Perfect Pinch Salt Free line (the Fiesta Citrus is especially tasty) and all of the salt-free seasonings from Mrs. Dash (everything from Tomato Basil Garlic to Southwest Chipotle). Good stuff!

Saucy Little Mixes... If you're feeling saucy, toss your veggies in some low-fat marinara. Dei Fratelli and Classico make some really delicious sauces with 70 calories or less per 1/2-cup serving. Another option? Amy's Organic Chunky Tomato Bisque -- this guilt-free soup (130 calories and 3.5g fat per cup) works perfectly as a creamy red sauce. If red isn't your color, try mixing things up with a little low-calorie marinade like Lawry's Teriyaki Marinade with Pineapple Juice (only 20 fat-free calories per tbsp.) or Mrs. Dash Garlic Lime Marinade (each tbsp. has 30 calories and 1.5g fat). Just because they're technically marinades, that doesn't mean you can't add just a splash to steamed veggies for flavor! Plus, they're generally low in calories and fat.

Salad Days... Treat your hot veggies like their cooler counterparts by tossing 'em in some low-cal salad dressing. My absolute FAVORITE is Newman's Own Sesame Ginger salad dressing, which tastes great on just about every veggie and has only 35 calories and 1.5g fat per 2-tbsp. serving. I'm also a fan of Newman's Own Honey Mustard dressing (70 calories and 4g fat per 2-tbsp. serving).

Butter Up... Keep it simple with a small amount of light whipped butter or light buttery spread, like Brummel & Brown or Land O Lakes Whipped Light Butter. These have about 45 calories and 5g fat per tbsp., and a little goes a long way. Or use a few spritzes of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! Original Spray -- just know that the calories do add up if you use more than a 5-spray serving. (Click here for more on that.) Then top off your buttery veggies with some reduced-fat Parm-style topping!

Pre-Seasoned-or-Sauced Veggie Finds... Grab a bag of Green Giant Seasoned Steamers... all the work's been done for you! These steamers come in yummy varieties like Tuscan Seasoned Broccoli and salt-and-peppery Brussels Sprouts. Or go for GG's sauced veggies, like the always-awesome Broccoli & Cheese Sauce. Find these all in the freezer aisle.

By the way, for steamed veggies made easy, look for steam-in-the-bag frozen finds. Or just microwave your veggies in a covered bowl with a little bit of water until they're soft. Hope this helps make your veggie prep easy peasy and your veggies full of deliciousness!

Hi, HG!

I'm kind of cracker obsessed. I love munching on the crunchy snacks. Can you give me some picks that aren't high in calories and fat? P.S. I will be so excited if this question ends up in an HG email!!!

Cracker Craver

Hi Cracker Craver,

Try to contain your excitement, 'cuz there's your Q... and here's your A! Lots of people love crackers, but the snacks can be a little dangerous to your diet if you're not careful. Luckily, I've rounded up some of the best guilt-free finds...

The Savory... Wasa and Doctor Kracker make amazing flatbread-style crackers with 110 calories or less -- large, thin, crispy, and great with a wedge of The Laughing Cow Light cheese or cream cheese spread. Special K Cracker Chips are pretty amazing -- 110 calories and 2.5 - 3g fat for an impressive serving size of 27 - 30 chips. For single-serving packs, look no further than Nabisco 100 Cal Packs of Ritz Snack Mix! To snag a snack that comes with a HUGE cracker count per serving, check out Crunchmaster Cheezy Crisps. Sixty cheddar-y crisps for 120 calories and 3g fat! And they're gluten-free. Want more gluten-free finds? Pick up a box of Blue Diamond Natural Almond Nut-Thins. Also check out Van's gluten-free crackers, in Multigrain, Say Cheese!, and Lots of Everything!

... And the Sweet! Lookin' for sweet stuff? Low-fat honey graham crackers are always a good choice, with about 65 calories and 1g fat per 4-cracker sheet. And even though they're not labeled as low-fat, cinnamon and chocolate grahams are delicious and impressive in the stats department -- about 70 calories and 1.5 - 2g fat per sheet. These next two finds are portion controlled and definitely worth ordering online -- FiberGourmet Cinnamon Thinables in 70-calorie packs and the wonderfully peanut buttery PBthins in 100-calorie packs. And for a portion-controlled supermarket staple, dig into a 1-oz. bag of classic Barnum's Animals Crackers -- only 120 calories. It's like a tasty trip down memory lane! Barbara's Bakery Snackimals are FANTASTIC, too. These come in fun cookie flavors like Snickerdoodle, Vanilla, and new flavors Double Chocolate and Peanut Butter!

There you have it -- crispity, crunchity crackers that'll leave no craving behind. And for more crispy snack picks, check out the Packaged Snacks section of Hungry Girl Supermarket Survival: Aisle by Aisle, HG-Style!

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Today, February 27th, is National Strawberry Day. It's not exactly prime strawberry season, so why not whip up some goodies with frozen unsweetened strawberries? Click here for more than a dozen recipe ideas!

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