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I'm a big meat and potatoes girl and I know neither is very good for me. I like to eat beef jerky as a snack to curb my random cravings for meat.  What's the low down on it? I know it's higher in fat but seems to be relatively low in calories. What do you think?


Jazzed Over Jerky

Dear Jazzed,


Hold on there -- who lied to you and told you jerky is high in fat? Jerky is actually not only low in calories, it's also VERY low in fat. An average 1-oz. serving has about 70 - 80 calories and a gram of fat. Most packages have about 3 - 4 servings, so even if you decide to eat an entire bag of the stuff, you wouldn't be taking in too many calories or fat grams at all. And, jerky's also very high in protein and low in carbs. What stops jerky from being a GREAT snack for dieters is the high sodium count. If you count sodium, you may want to avoid eating meat jerky because an ounce of it packs in about 500mg. If you don't count sodium, then I'd say go ahead and munch away. I'm definitely a HUGE jerky fan (even though people typically think of it as a "boy food" - don't get angry at me for saying that; I'm just stating a fact). My personal favorite meat jerky is Tillamook Country Smoker's Old Fashioned Beef Steak Nuggets. Also, Jack Link's makes some great jerkys in interesting flavors and types of meat. My newest non-meat jerky discovery is Tasty Eats Soy Jerky in Hot N' Spicy. It ROCKS! I wasn't a huge fan of all the Tasty Eats Soy Jerky flavors I tried, but the Hot N' Spicy is AWESOME. And it's more sweet than it is hot or spicy. It has about 90 calories and a gram of fat per ounce. And it even comes in lower in the sodium department -- with 250mg per ounce. Not bad! OK, enough jerky talk...time for the next question.

Hey Hungry Girl!


I was wondering how I would factor in those new fiber powders when determining a food's Weight Watchers Points value. Do they affect it at all?  Thanks!


Dear Fiber-Challenged,

There's no secret here... if you use fiber powder in recipes or mixed into foods, you just need to add the nutritional info of the powder to whatever you're calculating. For those of you who don't know, a higher fiber count can often lower a food's point value.  But don't think you can go dumping fiber powder into everything and lower points, because that's not realistic. The powder itself also contains calories -- so you are not only adding fiber, you're adding calories, too. Usually, adding the fiber and calories just keeps the point value the same -- but there are times when you can actually lower a recipe by a point or so by adding some fiber powder. And fiber is good for you, too, so using it in recipes isn't a bad idea. In general, nutrition experts do say you're probably better off getting fiber from natural foods. Looking for more fiber? Check out some of my favorite fiber-ific finds and recipes.


This week is National Split Pea Soup Week. If you haven't heard of or tried Andersen's Split Pea Soup, you really should. It's fat-free and FANTASTIC!

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