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Dear Hungry Girl,

I love your supermarket list but there are SOOOO many items on it, I could never buy them all. If you had to narrow it down to some HG staples, what would your top picks be and why?


Dear Supermarket-Challenged,

The official HG supermarket list IS very long (but really helpful and packed with great items!). So if I had to limit it to a bunch of must-haves, here's what would be on the list. These are my personal go-to foods that are ALWAYS in my house and at the HG HQ.

1. Almond Breeze, Unsweetened Vanilla - This milk sub is GREAT. It only has 40 calories and 3g fat per 8-oz. serving (POINTS® value 1*) -- that's HALF the calories of skim milk, and it has ten times the flavor. Use it in recipes, smoothies, shakes, and cereal, or drink it straight. Look for it near the non-refrigerated boxed soymilks (or order online if you can't find it).

2. The Laughing Cow Spreadable Cheese Wedges, Light Original Swiss - This is the BEST, BEST, BEST cheese find EVER. Each hunk has just 35 calories and 2g fat (POINTS® value 1*). It's great as a cream cheese swap, in scrambles (made from egg whites or Egg Beaters), and as an ingredient for super-creamy sauces. This stuff is used in a bazillion HG recipes, and you must have it in the fridge at all times!

3. Egg Beaters, Original - I eat Egg Beaters (or egg whites, or another fat-free liquid egg substitute) for breakfast every day. Can't live without 'em. A 1/4-cup serving has only 30 fat-free calories (POINTS® value 1*). You can even make some in a mug in the microwave, and then you won't have to worry about washing a pan.

4. Fuji apples - I eat an apple a day. Fujis are my personal favorite, but I like pretty much all apples.

5. La Tortilla Factory Smart & Delicious Tortillas, Low Carb/High Fiber - The large ones have just 80 calories, 3g fat, and 12g fiber (POINTS® value 1*). They're GREAT for so many things (wraps, b-fast burritos, quesadillas), and they're the best bread swap. To find a store near you that carries them click here (or click here to order online).

6. Lean turkey breast - I've said this before -- I LIVE for protein! And turkey slices + pickles = one of my all-time favorite snacks. Mmmmm!

7. Broccoli cole slaw - My bunnies and I fight over it! (I win when I want to.) I love it straight from the bag, in slaws and salads, and stir-fried with Amy's Chunky Tomato Bisque (SO amazing!).

8. Fat-free yogurt - I eat it for/with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. I LOOOOOVE it. My picks are Yoplait Light (a bazillion flavors) and Fage Total 0% (super-thick and protein-packed).

9. Fiber One bran cereal (original) - You know I'm obsessed with this cereal -- not only is it great for breakfast, but it's used in HG-land to faux-fry EVERYTHING!!! A half-cup of F1 has just 60 calories, 1g fat, and 14g fiber (POINTS® value 0*).

10. Canned soup - I love to snack on soup. Progresso Light soups (plus other low-cal Progresso soups) and Amy's Chunky Tomato Bisque are ALWAYS in my pantry.

Other less-widely-available staples of mine are VitaTops, FRS (the low-calorie concentrate), and Vivi's Original Sauce Classic Carnival Mustard -- ALL MUST-HAVES!!! Have fun stocking up!


Dear HG,

I know there's no secret magic way to lose weight, but do you have any tricks at all that might help me?

Desperate in Denver
Dear Desperate,

You're right about there being no magical way to drop weight, but there are definitely some things that can help. Here are a few of my favorite tricks.

1. Try to write down everything you eat. Invariably, whenever you keep a list of what you're chewing, you eat less. I'm not saying you need to buy a fancy journal (but if you want to, great!). Just scribble down what you eat on paper or in a Word doc on your computer. It really helps.

2. Eat your biggest meal midday and eat a lighter meal at night. You'll likely speed up your weight loss this way, since you'll be pretty full by dinnertime (when people tend to overdo it). If, however, you really like to have your biggest meal for dinner, just balance it out with a lighter lunch.

3. Find a way to LOVE exercise. It's pretty hard to successfully lose weight unless you somehow work exercise into your weekly schedule. I walk on a treadmill at least five times a week. Have I always loved it? NO WAY! But now I have a TV (and TiVo!) in my workout room, and I watch The Dish, Top Chef, Iron Chef America, Throwdown with Bobby Flay, and American Idol while I walk... and I LOVE IT! I think of it as an excuse to watch TV.

4. Drinking a LOT of water to help curb your appetite is my final tip for today. Try it. And if you find it hard to drink the stuff cold, sip it at room temperature (it goes down easier!).

Best of luck!

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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.

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