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Dear Hungry Girl,

The holidays are fast approaching, and I am wondering what low-calorie holiday treats are available.  You just can't enjoy the season without those yummy Christmas snacks!

-Craving Christmas Treats
Dear Craving,

Food is definitely as much a part of the holiday season as presents are (to me, maybe even moreso!).  As you pointed out, the holiday season just isn't complete without sampling all of the decadent, traditional, high-cal  goodies that turn up EVERYWHERE throughout the entire month of December.  Still, no one wants to be one of those people who ends up starting off the new year in tight pants -- or worse yet -- ELASTIC ones. The good news is that there are some awesome holiday treats that'll allow you to eat and drink -- without piling on pounds.  One of my personal all time favorite diet-friendly holiday treats is the candy cane.  They have about 60 calories each, and are fat free.  Plus, they take a long time to eat.  Suck on one, and your mouth will be occupied for a good 10, 20, even 30 minutes.  Think about it -- those are 30 minutes you won't be shoveling cookies, fudge, pound cake and other higher-cal sweets down your throat.  Also, keep in mind that mint flavor is great for getting rid of cravings for sweets. Try it, it works!   Some other great Christmas treats are Snowman Peeps (66 calories, 0g fat in 3 men), Roasted Chestnuts (3-4 have 70 calories), Archway's Reduced Fat Ginger Snaps (140 calories and 3.5g fat in 5 cookies), Alpine Sugar Free Spiced Cider (15 calories and no fat), and Dreyer's Slow Churned Light Peppermint Ice Cream (110 calories, 3.5g fat).  Every now and then you should splurge, though.  If you look forward to your grandma's fudge every year, treat yourself to a piece or two.  By making healthier swaps for the less rare, less special treats, you'll keep the can't-resist things you do indulge in from wracking up obscene amounts of calories.  Happy holidays!


How fattening are sunflower seeds? I currently eat them as snacks to prevent me from eating sweets.

-A Need for Seeds
Dear A Need,

The positive news is that sunflower seeds are not only cute and delicious, but they're also good sources of fiber, protein and vitamin B.  And, the fat found in sunflower seeds (just like the fat in other nuts and seeds) is the heart-healthy, cholesterol lowering monounsaturated kind.  The not so good news is that even though sunflower seeds contain good fats, because they contain so much fat, they're pretty high in calories.  How high?  Well, Planters Roasted & Salted Sunflower Seeds contain 180 calories and 15 grams of fat per tiny 31 gram (about 1/4 cup) serving.  That's higher than you'd think, right?  The bottom line is that sunflower seeds taste great and are healthy snacks, but they need to be eaten in fairly small portions.  Measure out the serving size listed (usually 1/4 cup), and stick to it.  Keep on crunching these healthy treats -- just be careful!

Today, December 21st, is National Kiwifruit Day.  The kiwi is the most nutrient dense of the top 27 most popular fruits.
Have a Q for HG?  Send it in!  She answers two new questions each Wednesday.  Except for next Wednesday, when there will be no HG email.  In fact, there will be no HG emails at all next week.  Happy holidays!
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