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Look! It's an all-new HG feature -- THE ULTIMATE CHEWDOWN!!! In each Chewdown, we'll tackle the toughest food challenges you throw our way. Need help finding a swap for a specific product? Looking for the PERFECT recipe makeover? Got a guilt-free dilemma that no one else can solve? Send us your request and it may be featured in an upcoming Ultimate Chewdown!


Today's Chewdown? CHEEEEEEEEEESE!

"How do I make guilt-free cheese sauces that taste fantastic?"

There are many ingredients that can help make cheese sauces taste AMAZING yet keep their calorie and fat counts down -- fat-free sour cream, fat-free cream cheese, light soymilk, and fat-free cheeses in block-form are all good. But THE absolute must-have, must-USE ingredient for cheesy sauces is The Laughing Cow Light Cheese. Those wedges are a total HG staple. We spread them on wraps and english muffins and use them in scrambles. But melt 'em along with some of those other key ingredients, and you've got INSANE, creamy cheesiness. The trick is combining a few fat-free items with ones that are just low in fat. Then you'll end up with decadent taste and great stats. Click here for a fantastic cheese sauce recipe and here for a slew of recipes featuring our famous "Hungry Girlfredo" sauce. Heads up! Those cheese wedges come in Light French Onion and Light Garlic & Herb, but our hearts belong to Light Original Swiss.


"Any tips on how to make no-guilt cheesecake, HG?"

Sure. Cheesecake can be ridiculously fatty, as you know. But by mixing fat-free cream cheese with Splenda and a few other things (like vanilla extract and non-dairy creamer), you can get that rich cheesecake taste without destroying your diet. If you're not a fan of fat-free cream cheese, you can use the reduced-fat kind, but the nutritional stats won't be as low. We've got a great recipe for frozen chocolate cheesecake bites here and a pumpkin cheesecake recipe here. And our Swirls Gone Wild Cheesecake Brownies will kick a craving for brownies AND cheesecake!


"Mac 'n cheese is my obsession. Got any finds that are okay for me to indulge in?"

Oh yes! For starters, the ULTIMATE macaroni & cheese swap comes to us from our friends at FiberGourmet. The best part about it is all the fiber they pack into each serving -- 18 grams! And it tastes fantastic, too. Definitely worth ordering online. Check out our Bite It!/Fight It! here for all the details. However, if you're not feeling adventurous and you'd rather just go to the supermarket and find something, check out our mac & cheese reviews from awhile back. Pssst... Smart Ones Macaroni & Cheese is the best overall! (Just don't mistake it for the higher calorie, less delicious Smart Ones Three Cheese Macaroni.)


"I loooove cheese puffs and crunchy Cheez Doodles. What's my best bet there?"

Hmmmmm... puffy, cheesy snacks are danger foods. Why? Because they typically come in very large, multi-serving bags. So even if you find a version that has fewer calories and fat grams than most, there's a good chance you'll want to inhale the entire bag. A good example of this would be Michael Season's Baked Cheese Puffs and Cheese Curls. They're SO, SO, SO delicious that it is hard NOT to eat 3 - 4 servings of them at once. That's why we stick with single-serving packs of cheesy snacks like 100 Calorie Mini Bites in Baked! Cheetos and Cheetos Asteroids. And here's a surprising (and portion-controlled) cheese puff swap -- Quaker Mini Delights in Buttered Popcorn! They're light and airy and have a slightly cheesy coating. All of those single-serving snacks are GREAT, and we're pretty good about NOT going back for a second or third bag. There's something VERY effective about individual packages. BTW, if you do want to indulge in some of the cheesy Michael Season's snacks, we recommend portioning them out into individual servings as soon as you open the bag!


Remember, HG welcomes YOUR requests! Ready to challenge us for the next ULTIMATE CHEWDOWN? Go for it. We are here and waiting. Come on... we dare you!


Today, January 29th, is National Corn Chip Day. Why not whip up a guilt-free cheese sauce with today's tips -- then dip some Guiltless Gourmet chips in it? YUM!
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