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Dear Hungry Girl,

Gelato is one of my favorite summer treats. I've always heard it's relatively low in fat. But what about the calories? Is it a better bet than ice cream? Do you have any other ice cream tips for me?

- Gelato Girl

Dear Gelato Girl,

I'll bottom line it for you. Gelato and ice cream are pretty similar in the fat and calorie departments. In fact, you really have to deal with these dueling frozen desserts on a case by case basis. There are plenty of ice creams that are lower in fat and calories than gelato is, and there are plenty of gelatos that contain fewer grams of fat and fewer calories than ice cream. There are no straight rules here. Sure gelato is made with milk instead of cream, but that doesn't mean it's necessarily lower in fat and/or calories. Just pay close attention to the nutritional info that's available to you. As for more ice cream tips... Now that summer's almost here, try to be careful when counting calories for ice cream that's eaten while you're out. Typically, ice cream servings are about 20% - 50% larger than they're supposed to be --- and that goes for mom and pop shops as well as national chains like McDonald's. So remember, if you keep track of your daily intake, you should always count extra calories (or points) just to be safe. Also, when it comes to chilly treats, your best bets are usually boxed frozen novelties because the portion sizes are controlled. I don't know about you, but I can't be trusted around an entire container of scoopable ice cream. So if you have quarts or half gallons at home, try breaking them down into individual serving sizes first.  I know it might be a pain to store them in tiny containers, but you'll be glad you did.  Happy ice cream-ing!

Dear HG,

I travel a lot and see that many airlines now sell snack boxes. They usually have a healthier "light bite" type of option. Are these good for me? What's the story?

- Sky Snacker

Dear Sky Snacker,

I love taking plane trips - and (of course) I always pay very close attention to the food they serve on airplane flights. On my most recent trip, I purchased some sort of "light" box of goodies. It contained a whole slew of snack-y type foods. And while individually they weren't terrible, when you put 'em all together, they became an overly-carby, highish-calorie meal. This particular snack pack contained a bag of crackers, a bag of natural pita chips, hummus, tuna, a slice of gouda, raisins and a mini chocolate bar. Probably 600 calories or so in total, which isn't really low if you ask me.  I opted to eat some pita chips and hummus, and some raisins. I wasn't sure why they gave me a bag of crackers AND a bag of pita chips, either. I would rather have had a piece of fruit instead.  While all in all the snack pack is not a horrible option, I think there are better things to snack on while flying.  It's always a good idea to travel with some items that are light enough to qualify as a snack but will still fill you up. My favorite "emergency foods" are things like bars (Gnu Bars are great because they're so high in fiber), fresh fruit, and even some soy crisps or mini rice cakes. Just don't fool yourself into thinking that calories consumed while in the air don't count. They do.


Today, May 24th, is National Escargot Day. Snails don't really contain a lot of calories, but usually they're served drowned in butter, which does.


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