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Dear Hungry Girl,

What is the story with substituting applesauce for oil when baking?  Can it really be done?

Speculating 'Bout Subbing

Dear Speculating,

Yes it can!  And, if you're watching your weight and/or health, it's a great way to cut out fat & calories.  When you make muffins, cake, pancakes or other bread-like items, oil provides moisture, which is good (no one likes dry, crumbly muffins...feh!).  But oil adds lots of fat and calories.   Applesauce is a fantastic stand-in for oil.  It's moist, but it also contains pectin, which, like fat, keeps your goodies from drying out while baking. And the difference in taste is practically undetectable.  In fact, I've baked applesauce-infused sugar cookies for people who are serious non-dieters, and they sucked down a bunch of 'em without noticing the switch!  If you do want an applelicious taste in your treats, bring out the flavor by adding some diced apple chunks and cinnamon to the recipe. By the way, if you substitute 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce for oil, you'll be saving around 450 calories and 50 grams of fat. Yowsa! 

Dear Hungry Girl,

When I eat canned fruit, I always strain out the liquid and just eat the fruit. I also drain some of the broth from canned soup.  Does that cut some calories off of the amount listed on the can?

Diva in Draining

Dear Diva,

Sauces, syrups and liquids often contain tons of fat, calories & carbs.  But while straining some of the broth from a broth-based soup seems to make sense, it won't save you very many calories.  Soup broth is extremely low in calories.  In fact, most of the calories in a broth-based soup come from everything BUT the liquid. (Unfortunately creamed soups are a different story).  You WILL however, get rid of some sodium if you pour out some broth. So if you're watching your salt intake, strain away!  Canned fruit, on the other hand, is an entirely different story.  Ditching some of the sweet, sugary syrup that your poor innocent fruit is drowning in is a great idea!  That's where a lot of canned fruit's calories, sugar and carbs come from.  Go for fruit packed in light syrup over the heavy stuff.  These days some canned fruits come packed in WATER!  You can save about 75 calories and 21 carbs per cup with the water-packed stuff!  Draining the syrup gets rid of some (or even most) of those calories, but water-packed fruit is a safer option.  Hungry Girl Tip: No matter what canned fruit you buy, you may want to rinse the fruit before you eat it.  Then you'll be absolutely sure you're getting rid of everything but the fruit!

Today, January 19th, is National Popcorn Day...Whoop it up with some Jolly Time Healthy Pop Caramel Apple popcorn!
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