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Dear HG,

My boyfriend is obsessed with chinese food, so we eat out at Chinese restaurants a lot.  I always order Chinese vegetable soup.  How many calories does it have?  And is it a "safe" option?

-Seeking Facts 'Bout Soup

Chinese food is often packed with hidden (or not so hidden) fat and calories, but there are some good and healthy options, too. You'll be happy to hear that your Chinese vegetable soup is one of those diet-friendly choices. The veggie-filled soup is low in calories, fat and carbs, containing an average of 50 calories per cup. Not bad at all!  And, research has shown that eating broth-based soups can decrease the overall amount of calories you take in for the day.  Even better!  If you want to mix things up every once in a while, you may want to try some other chinese soups.  Egg drop soup is yummy, and clocks in at a surprisingly low 70 calories per cup.  Another great choice is hot and sour soup.  While calorie counts vary from restaurant to restaurant, this soup usually has less than 100 calories in each cup.  HG Tip: Beware of those fried chow mein noodles or wonton crisps many restaurants serve with soup.  These crunchy critters are greasy saboteurs that'll add tons of fat and calories to an otherwise healthy meal.  My advice is to ask your waiter not to bring them when you order.  That way, you won't be tempted to down a whole bowl of the things.  Happy soup-ing!

Dear HG,

What are some diet-friendly foods to eat for lunch at the Cheesecake Factory?  I am scared for my life!!!

-Fear Factory
Dear Fear,

Ha!  No need to be scared for you life.  I certainly don't blame you, though, for being concerned about eating at The Cheesecake Factory.  After all, the popular restaurant chain is notorious for serving up super-high cal menu items.  Just how high?  Try 1,560 calories and 84g of fat for their carrot cake, and 1080 cal, 71g fat, and 100 carbs for a slice of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake.  And those are far from being the only unhealthy items on the menu. Seemingly innocent entrees like salads and sugar free cheesecake can also be calorie-packed diet-wreckers. For example, rumor has it that The Cheesecake Factory's Chinese Chicken Salad clocks in at about 1,600 whopping calories. And the 6 Carb Original Cheesecake has 610 calories and 57g of fat. Yikes!  Don't get discouraged, though.  There are some things you can do to lighten up your TCF lunch.  First off, if you order a salad, ask that any seeds, chow mein noodles, raisins, cheeses, nuts, sour cream, guacamole, etc. is left off, or placed on the side.  And make sure you ask for a light or fat free salad dressing.  Since the taste of lower fat dressings varies by brands, you may want to ask for your dressing on the side as well.  And salad isn't your only option for eating healthfully at TCF.  If you're not in a leafy mood, try the herb crusted filet of salmon. Just ask that it be served without the sauce, and with double veggies instead of veggies and a starch.  Or go for breakfast (they serve it all day).  If you get an omelette or scramble, ask your server to substitute eggbeaters for regular eggs.  And, of course, opt for fresh fruit instead of sausage or bacon as your side.  "Cheesecake" also serves up a yummy Fire Roasted Artichoke (just be sure to get the vinaigrette on the side).  Well, I hope this info can help you relax and enjoy your lunch!  Good luck!

Today, December 14th, is National Bouillabaisse Day. The average hearty bouillabaisse, or fish stew, contains about 400 calories and 10-15g of fat per serving.
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