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Dear Hungry Girl,

I like to have a mixed drink every now and then.  Any advice for fun drinks that are low in calories?

-- All Mixed Up

Dear Mixed Up,

I like an occasional cocktail as well.  There are tons of ways to make diet-friendly drinks.  First of all, I never EVER use sugary mixers with lots of calories.  That's a total waste.  Minute Maid Light drinks (all flavors), diet sodas (like 7Up Plus or Diet Sunkist) are GREAT bases for low cal drinks.  If you want to use a mix, Baja Bob makes some really good ones that have very few calories.  My favorites from BB (that's cool shorthand for Baja Bob) are the Mai Tai, Blue Raspberry Martini, and Pina Colada mixes.  Torani's Sugar Free Syrups are yet another way to zap some flavor into your alcoholic beverages.  You can mix and match any of the above soft drinks and syrups with a little vodka or rum to create dozens of awesome guilt-free libations.  Don't know where to start?  Try one of  my favorite under-100 calorie cocktails:

Lean Blue-Green Martini
3 oz. Minute Maid Light - Mango Tropical
2 oz. Baja Bob's Blue Raspberry Martini Mix
1 oz. vodka

Shake with ice, pour, garnish with a pretty little slice of fruit and enjoy!

Dear Hungry Girl,

You sure recommend a lot of processed foods.  Is that all you eat?

--Curious in Century City

Dear Curious,

Good question!  About 75% - 80% of my diet is made up of fresh veggies, fruit, fish, salads, egg whites, and lean meats.  I think everyone should eat as much fresh and natural food as possible.  My processed and packaged food suggestions are for times when you can't dodge a craving or are too busy to prepare something yourself.  In those situations, most of us reach for something quick, easy and fattening.  Instead, why not swap out full fat or regular food items with lighter versions that'll do less damage?  Munching on a 100 Calorie Pack  of Oreo Thin Crisps is much better than scarfing down a bunch of full-sized Oreos.  Some of the processed foods I recommend (like Boca Burgers and Morningstar Farms Corn Dogs) are great sources of soy protein.  Processed food shouldn't rule your diet, but eating it occasionally is fine (and sometimes delicious).

Today, January 12th, is National Marzipan Day.  Marzipan is a confection made mostly of almonds and sugar.  We've yet to find a Hungry Girl-friendly version of this treat.
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