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Dear Hungry Girl,

I love iced coffee, and I've noticed that many fast food places are now offering their own versions (including flavored ones!). Are these good for me?

Coffee Fiend
Dear Coffee Fiend,

I love iced coffee as well and tend to think I can make the best-tasting, diet-friendly versions at home with some key ingredients (instant coffee, Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze, unsweetened cocoa powder, Torani Sugar Free Syrups, Coffee-mate fat-free flavored powders, etc.). But when you're out and about, it's easy to be tempted by what you see at the drive-thru. Since you don't have complete control of what goes in those things (like you might at a coffee shop), you really need to do your research (in this case I've done a little for you!). Some of those iced coffees are far higher in calories and fat than others. Take a look...

Jack in the Box:
Regular (avg. all varieties) = 96 calories & 1.7g fat (POINTS® value 2*)
Large (avg. all varieties) = 150 calories & 3g fat (POINTS® value 3*)

Small sugar-free vanilla = 60 calories & 5g fat (POINTS® value 2*)
Large sugar-free vanilla = 120 calories & 11g fat (POINTS® value 3*)
Small (all other varieties, including regular vanilla) = 130 - 140 calories & 5g fat (POINTS® value 3*)
Large (all other varieties, including regular vanilla) = 270 - 280 calories & 11g fat (POINTS® value 6 - 7*)

Burger King:
Mocha BK Joe Iced Coffee = 380 calories and 10g fat (POINTS® value 8*)

Those JITB iced coffees are NOT BAD considering they aren't even marketed as light! (They're made with 2% milk.) But watch out for that crazy Burger King one -- it's actually made with vanilla shake mix and chocolate shake syrup! There are a few key ways to know what you're getting into when it comes to iced coffee at fast food joints (or anywhere, for that matter). 1. You can (and definitely SHOULD!) check the websites for the scoop on the nutritionals and ingredients -- a quick search showed me all that info above. 2. Always ask for fat-free milk (if given the choice), request sugar-free syrup (if available), ask to sweeten it yourself (with no-calorie sweetener, if possible), and go without whipped cream. 3. If the beverage is premixed and/or can't be altered, ask what's in it. If it's flavored, is the syrup full of sugar? If it's creamy, is it made with full-fat milk or cream? Don't be shy!

Hi, HG!

I am addicted to egg drop soup. But I'm starting to worry about two potential (and major!) issues when it comes to my habit. First, how many calories and how much cholesterol am I taking in per cup? Second, although I'm usually disciplined enough to skip the crispy noodles that come with the soup, sometimes I give in and eat 'em. Just how many calories are in that little sack of noodles? It's such a mystery food. Everyone under the sun says to avoid those crunchy things, but no one will tell me just how bad they are for me. Help!

In Need of the Egg Drop Scoop
Dear In Need,

Here's the deal with egg drop soup. For starters, it probably doesn't have as many calories as you think. A cup of the stuff sans noodles typically has about 70 calories and 3g fat (POINTS® value 2*). Not bad! As far as the cholesterol is concerned, that number is slightly high (after all, egg drop soup IS made with real eggs!). Each cup clocks in with around 100mg of cholesterol (an average egg alone contains about 200mg of the stuff). The DV of dietary cholesterol is actually less than 300mg. So if cholesterol is a concern, you may want to watch your consumption of that soup. We've got a great recipe in the HG cookbook called Egg Flower Power Soup (1 generous cup = 50 calories, <0.5g fat, 1g fiber -- POINTS® value 1*). Since that's made with egg whites and no yolks, it's definitely far lower in cholesterol than the average egg drop soup. As for those fried noodles -- well -- THOSE are the real enemy. They are LOADED with grease and oil. Just a teeny half-cup serving contains around 200 calories and as much as 10g fat (POINTS® value 5*). HORRENDOUS! Plus, the bag typically contains more than 1 serving, and it's too easy to down the entire sack of 'em in one sitting. Here in California, luckily, most restaurants don't include those things with your order. But when I lived in NYC, I wouldn't even remove those crispy noodles from my takeout bag! I kept them tucked away with the crazy-spicy mustard and mystery condiments, and I only rescued the soy sauce and plasticware! Be strong -- skip the noodles! And happy slurping...

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*The PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe, or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark and SmartPoints® trademark.

SmartPoints® value not what you expected? Click here for more info on how the values are calculated, plus more FAQs about PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values on our website.