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Dear Hungry Girl,

I have recently heard that some of the "light" items at Chili's and other places may not be as low in fat and calories as the restaurant websites and menus claim. Is this true? And what can we do about it?

Scared to Dine Out
Dear Scared,

Don't be scared. You can't just stay home and fear restaurants. That's not practical (or fun!). Just be smart about how you order, and be AWARE of what's on your plate. As far as restaurant nutritionals are concerned, you need to come to terms with the fact that there are a lot of factors affecting the accuracy of the stats provided. You never know who's preparing your food, and if they are measuring the ingredients (or even using the right ones!) -- or if they care. It IS a little annoying, but if you use common sense, you'll get by. Know this -- if something SEEMS too good to be true, it probably is. So if a restaurant website says a certain dish has only 400 calories and hardly any fat, but it shows up and is oversized and swimming in oil, IT ISN'T that low in calories and fat! Try to do a lot of weighing and measuring of your food at home, so you get a good sense of what a reasonable portion of chicken, fish, etc., looks like, and how it stacks up to the servings at restaurants. Also -- even if the menu calls something "low-fat" or "light," your best bet is to order sauces on the side and use them sparingly. If things taste buttery, they're likely made with butter. If they are extra-shiny, they may have more oil than they're supposed to. Just be AWARE -- that's the most important thing. And never ever play dumb when it comes to restaurant food. (That may work on other people, but not on me! So think of me whenever you try to convince yourself of something you just KNOW deep down in your heart of hearts isn't true.) There you go. Good luck -- and happy chewing!!!

Dear Hungry Girl,

A while back, you featured a recipe for a stuffed pepper that was made with soy crumbles and some other stuff. I misplaced it and am really bummed. Can you please rerun it?

Searching for Stuffed Pepper

Dear Searching,

Yup, that recipe ran close to two years ago, back in April of '07. You can find it here (just click & scroll). I know a lot of you know this already, but based on the hundreds of emails that come in asking to rerun recipes, I think a lot of you DON'T... so here goes. Every single HG email is archived on our site at You can search the site by typing keywords into the search bar in the upper right corner of the homepage. Your best bet is to enter a couple of words (like stuffed pepper) -- you probably won't find what you're looking for if you search "that delicious stuffed pepper recipe crammed with soy meat," and you'll have WAY too many recipes and past emails to sift through if you just search the word "stuffed." Soooo, if you ever want to find a recipe (or any information that you remember reading about in an HG email), just go to the site and search for it! And here's a little tip -- if the HG search bar isn't giving you results, go to Google and search "Hungry Girl" (in quotes) plus whatever you're looking for. Yes, it's THAT easy. Have a great day!

March is National Sauce Month. Celebrate it with our favorite condiment on the planet -- Vivi's Original Sauce Classic Carnival Mustard. AHHHHHHHHHHHH, it's soooo gooooood!
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