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Dear HG,

Your website is a LIFESAVER. Thank you! Do you have any recommendations for other food-related websites? I trust your opinion and I'm not sure which sites would be good/helpful for me to use...

Dear Webcrawler,

Yup, I do have a slew of sites I use. I tend to go for the sites that really serve a specific purpose over ones that have lots of fluff and fancy copy. (Ugh -- I hate fluff!) Here is a list of my favorites:

1. CalorieKing - This site is THE place to go for nutritional info. There are other sites that are similar, but this has the most complete and accurate database of nutritionals for generic, name-brand, and restaurant foods. I visit it dozens of times every week.

2. Dotti's Weight Loss Zone - Dotti has what I think is THE best database of Weight Watchers POINTS® values for foods from specific restaurants. As with any unofficial site, you should try to double-check the stats to be sure they're accurate and up-to-date. Dotti ROCKS.

3. - Even if you're not following the WW plan, this website is a FANTASTIC resource. The message boards are amazing, and anyone can search away on them. If you're a member with a question about anything under the sun, post it on the boards and you'll have dozens of answers almost INSTANTLY -- that's what I like best about the WW site. While members get the most from this site, there are tons of articles and valuable info available to everyone as well.

4. SparkPeople - I receive hundreds of emails from people each month who RAVE about Join for free, and you'll have access to tons of tools, the site's community, health articles, and more. People SWEAR by it. There's even a team for HG fans. WOOHOO!

5. The Daily Plate - is fantastic. With a food journal, exercise tracker, calorie calculator, and database of a bazillion foods, this site is one of the best out there. You really need to be organized, though, to get the maximum benefits from it, since there's a lot going on there.

6. The World's Healthiest Foods - is an amazing resource for food info. Find out which foods are the most nutritious and why, plus find recipes and fantastic articles. The book version is an absolute FOOD BIBLE, and the site itself is packed with info.

Hope you like the sites!

Dear Hungry Girl,

HELP! Can you give me a crash course in holiday survival? Like the best and worst desserty/sweet things to eat on the day of a big feast? I'll be with relatives and all they do is EAT! Eeeeks... please help!

In Need of a Very HG Christmas
Dear Very HG Christmas,

Sure. There are definitely holiday-ish sweets that are ridiculously high in fat and calories, and other stuff that's not so bad (yet still fun and seasonal). Here's the scoop on some Xmas staples...

1. Eggnog - Avoid unknown eggnogs to be safe. You can take in almost 500 calories and close to two-dozen fat grams with a glass of the stuff. If you crave eggnog but wanna keep it guilt-free, whip up some of our No-Nonsense Nog or Pumpkin-licious Nog.

2. Gingerbread - Gingerbread cake and cookies tend to be higher in fat and calories than you might think. A couple cookies or a small slice of cake can contain around 250 calories and 10g fat (POINTS® value 6*). Check out our Thin-gerbread Men instead... Yum!

3. Candy Canes - These are GREAT holiday treats. They're sweet, fun, and take a while to eat. Plus, they make you feel like you're indulging in holiday eating yet are very low in calories (and fat-free!). A regular-sized candy cane has just 60 calories and a POINTS® value of 1*, and those minis have less than 20 calories each and a POINTS® value of 0*.

4. Fruitcake - The bad news? Even though it's made with fruit, it is LOADED with fat and calories -- as much as 350 calories and 11g fat per piece (POINTS® value 8*). The good news? Hardly anyone actually enjoys eating fruitcake anyway. Pass.

Your BEST BETS when it comes to holiday sweets are things like Marshmallow Peeps, candy canes, jelly beans, and lollipops. Avoid chocolates packed with rich caramel and nuts, brownies, fudge, pies, etc. (Or treat yourself to a small piece of your favorite!) It's also a good idea to prepare a guilt-free dessert that you can indulge in and share (like our Upside-Down Pineapple Crush or Perfect Pumpkin Bread!). You could also grab a guilt-free treat from the store, like Miss Meringue Peppermint Crush Meringues or a container of Dreyer's/Edy's Slow Churned Light Ice Cream in one of the holiday flavors. Good luck and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

A BIG (LOW)FAT THANK YOU TO ALL!!!! 2008 has been an INCREDIBLE year for Hungry Girl. We skyrocketed from 350,000 subscribers to 600,000, launched the very first HG book (which is now officially 2008's BEST-SELLING COOKBOOK IN THE U.S.!), and went on a ridiculously fun book tour (meeting thousands of HG subscribers). And we have loved and cherished every minute of it. Thank you all for your continued support and appreciation -- it's why we do what we do. Here's to more guilt-free fabulousness in 2009 -- there's lots more of it on the way! Have a super and safe holiday! Much love and XOXOs -- Lisa and the HG Team
And we're off...
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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.