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Dear HG,

I've noticed you recommend packaged foods in your emails and use them in recipes. What are your thoughts on eating whole and natural foods vs. processed and packaged foods? I have been told that we should ONLY eat natural foods.

Florida Foodie
Dear Florida Foodie,

Great Q. I answer this question -- or something similar -- every few months, because I think it's an important one. Here's the deal. I eat a lot of "whole foods" -- fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, etc. -- and recommend that people eat these foods as well. But there are some misconceptions about natural foods, and I think it's important to address them. Many people assume that if something's all natural, it's automatically low in fat and/or calories and good for their diet. That is simply NOT the case. All-natural cookies, cakes, cheeses, etc., can be just as high in calories and fat as the not-so-natural versions. So if people just focus on filling their carts with these things, they're not necessarily doing themselves any favors. For people trying to lose or maintain weight, it can be EXTREMELY helpful to find ways to enjoy foods they crave without taking in too many calories or fat grams. A lot of the Hungry Girl recommendations and recipes that call for packaged or processed foods are GREAT for this reason. HG offers REAL WORLD survival strategies. Face it: Our supermarkets are filled with processed and packaged foods, and most people aren't about to eliminate these things completely. So I offer up solutions and swaps that are BETTER choices than others. If you love Oreos but can easily consume a whole sleeve, a portion-controlled pack of Oreo Thin Crisps can be a good alternative. Sure, there might be all-natural creme-filled chocolate cookies out there, but they're probably still high in calories and easy to overeat. The HG philosophy provides a bridge between the pure, whole-food, clean-eating approach and the typical junk-munching American diet. It's about balance. It's also a way to educate people and help them make realistic changes, so that they can each achieve a healthy body weight. When I travel around the U.S. for the HG book tours, I meet thousands of HG subscribers who thank me and tell me how Hungry Girl has changed their lives; they show me "before" photos of themselves 20, 50, even 100 pounds heavier. This makes it clear to me that my work is truly helping people. Bottom line? Eat natural and clean when you can. But the reality is that people aren't choosing between a bowl of berries and an HG dessert made with fat-free pudding. They're choosing between a 1,000-calorie Cheesecake Factory dessert and some sort of reduced-calorie HG creation, and the HG dessert is almost ALWAYS going to be the better choice. Hope that answers your question!

Dear HG,

I have been reading all about your "egg-mug recipes," but I am not quite sure what they are... or why one would make eggs in a mug. Can you please elaborate???

Mug Puzzled
Dear Mug Puzzled,

I have been making egg breakfasts in microwave-safe mugs and bowls for years. Why? Because sometimes I'm super lazy and don't feel like busting out a pan and all kinds of cooking utensils! It's much easier to just fill a large mug (sprayed with nonstick spray) with Egg Beaters and various other no-guilt food items (Laughing Cow Light cheese, veggies, chopped veggie patties, etc., etc.), and nuke it for a few minutes (stirring halfway thru!) until cooked. Yes, it's that simple to make a hot, high-protein breakfast. Hence my obsession with egg mugs. One thing you DO need to remember is to soak your mug or bowl with hot soapy water immediately after you finish your b-fast. Otherwise, it can be a HUGE pain to clean... So do it! Wanna get started with some FANTASTIC egg-mug recipes? Click here. Woohoo!  

Today, May 12th, is National Nutty Fudge Day. Our Old Time Rocky Road Fudge will rock your fudge-loving face off... and it's WAY lower in fat and calories than ordinary fudge!
Have a question for Hungry Girl? Send it in! She answers two new Qs each week (but cannot respond to emails personally).

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