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Dear HG,


I often find myself at the mall food court looking for something to eat, and I never know what my best bets are. There are always so many tempting things like pizza and stuffed potatoes. Usually I just grab a chicken caesar salad or a giant smoothie, but I think I may be doing the wrong thing. Eeeks! Please help...


Mall Madness

Dear Mall Madness,


Mall food courts are PACKED with options that are obviously unhealthy. Those are the easy ones to avoid. You really don't need me to tell you that you shouldn't have that huge slice of pepperoni pizza or that steak 'n cheese packed potato. The scariest things in that food court are actually the items that are calorie and fat catastrophes posing as good-for-you foods -- the smoothies, the caesar salads, the tuna sandwiches -- all the things that are PRETENDING to be healthy and low-calorie but aren't. My advice is, whenever possible, check websites of the places at the food court and know what you're going to order even before you get to the mall. Of course that sounds like a great plan, but most people aren't freaky like me and don't check mall food court websites. So if that's the case, just go for whatever simple stuff you can find. Choose deli meats over mayo-packed tuna, chicken, and egg salads. Grilled chicken and salsa on top of lettuce at any one of those mall Mexican grills is always a good option. And avoid salad dressing at the mall at all costs (why not bring your own packets of the fat-free stuff?). Happy shopping and chewing!

Dear Hungry Girl,


I love staying in hotels. The first thing I do when I check in is run over to the mini bar to see what's there. What are my safest mini bar snacking options?


Mini Snooper

Dear Mini Snooper,


Ha! You sound just like me. I ALWAYS scour the mini bar when I check in to a hotel. Even if it is just to marvel over the $9.00 bottle of water (hello!?). Typically the mini bar is useless when it comes to guilt-free snacking. Nuts are ok, but if you're the kind of person who can't stop at a handful (I know I can't!), then avoid the jar of nuts. Those Terra chips are just greasy potato chip things pretending to be healthy. Chocolate is a bad idea. Pretzels can be ok in small doses, so if there are mini bags those are alright in emergency situations. My best advice is to either bring or buy your own "mini bar" full of snacks so you have 'em right there when you need 'em (bonus - it'll come in handy on your plane or car ride to the hotel, too!). Stock up on things like Quaker Rice Snacks, low-cal snack bars, mini bags of jerky, apples, etc. Mini bar snacking = a bad idea!


Today, February 28th, is International Pancake Day. Sounds like someone needs one of HG's Very Blueberry Pancakes!


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