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Hi Hungry Girl,

Thank you so much for the restaurant survival guides. They really help me when it comes to dining out. I have a question, though. In your recent Red Lobster guide, it said that the 1 1/4-pound order of lobster has only 45 calories. How can 1 1/4 pounds of anything have just 45 calories!?!

Crustacean Crazed in Colorado
Hi CC (in C),

Thanks for emailing! I'm glad you like the restaurant guides. As for your Q about the Red Lobster guide, let me clear up a few things. First of all, the "1 1/4 pounds" refers to the entire lobster, shell and all. That shell is pretty hefty, and the meat itself is super light. And sadly, there isn't much actual lobster meat in a 1 1/4-pound lobster. Second of all, it's important to remember that restaurant nutritionals are based on averages. They're really good guidelines, but the actual stats on your meal will likely vary at least a little. In this case, it seems like Red Lobster's stats are based on a pretty low average. An ounce of cooked lobster meat has about 28 calories. My guess is that it's closer to four ounces of meat per 1 1/4-pound order. But keep in mind, lobster is very low in calories; even if you wind up with three times as much of the meat as Red Lobster estimates, you'll still be consuming only 135 calories' worth of protein. As long as you make smart choices at restaurants, you should be okay even if the exact stats are slightly different from the stats the place provides. Happy chewing!

Hi There, HG!

So, I have seen a few recipes of yours that reference using fat-free ranch dressing. But to be honest, most fat-free ranch dressings are disgusting. In your opinion, which is the yummiest store-bought brand?? Also, is there a way to make it yourself with the packets so it's fat-free AND delicious?

Jersey Girl Jennifer
Hi Jersey Girl,

I hear you... When it comes to ranch dressing, the fat-free stuff can be kind of not great. BUT it can be a great low-calorie ingredient in recipes like our Buff Chick Hot Wing Dip and Flat-tastic Ranchy Bacon Wrap, since there are many other flavors added to balance it out. If you're interested in straight-up veggie dunking or salad adorning, I have some tips. Go for the fat-free kind by Hidden Valley; it really is the best in the biz. Or, if you're okay with a little fat, definitely try Wish-Bone Salad Spritzers Ranch Vinaigrette Dressing. I love, Love, LOVE that stuff, and it has only 15 calories and 1g fat per 10-spray serving! You can also whip up your own fat-free ranch by mixing about half a tablespoon of powdered ranch dressing/dip mix (the type that comes in the packets) into 1/3 cup fat-free sour cream; each tablespoon of that ranch-ified sour cream has only 15 calories or so and no fat. That's what we did for our Ranch-tastic Butternut Fries with Bacon recipe... it ROCKS. Hooray for that!

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