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My husband turned me on to the Snack Wraps at McDonald's -- they seem quasi-nutritious and satisfying to have when I bring my 2 small children to McD's to play. My guess is that the sauce is the worst part of these wraps, so I order them without it. They taste really good, but how do they stack up calorie/nutrition-wise? What else can I snack on there?

Snack Wrap Lover
Dear Snack Wrap Lover,

I get lots of mail about those Snack Wraps. Apparently people LOVE 'em. For starters, make sure you order yours with the grilled chicken, not the crispy chicken. Ordered as is, each grilled chicken Snack Wrap has 260 - 270 calories and 8 - 10g fat (the crispy chicken ones each have 320 - 330 calories and 14 - 16g fat). Ordering them without the sauce, like you do, isn't a bad idea, but you'll only save 15 - 25 calories, which isn't a tremendous amount. If you skip the cheese, you'll save an additional 40 calories and 3g fat. Keep in mind, 260 - 270 calories isn't a huge amount, but the wraps are pretty tiny, so you don't really get a lot of bang for your calorie buck. Believe it or not, most of the calories in that snack wrap come from the tiny tortilla. Each one has 140 (plus 4g fat)! Eeeks! Personally, I'd much rather have one of McD's salads. You can have a delicious Caesar, Southwest, or Asian one with grilled chicken for 220 - 320 calories. And those come with twice as much chicken as the snack wraps, so your calories are coming from protein rather than from a carby tortilla. Add a little low-fat dressing (the Newman's Own Low Fat Italian or Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette are your best bets), and you won't be tacking too many more calories onto your meal. Other standout snacks at the Golden Arches? Their ice cream cones (150 calories, 3.5g fat), Apple Dippers (105 calories, <1g fat -- WITH the caramel dip!), Fruit 'n Yogurt Parfait (160 calories w/ granola, 130 calories without -- each has 2g fat), and their Snack Size Fruit & Walnut Salad (210 calories, 8g fat). To see all of McD's nutritional info, click here.

Hungry Girl,

Do zero-calorie foods really have no calories?

Calorie-Counting in Calabasas
Dear Calorie-Counting,

Some calorie-free foods do have calories.  I would even go as far as to say MOST calorie-free foods have SOME calories -- even Splenda has 4 calories per packet (sorry to be the one to break it to you). Other sugar substitutes (like aspartame and saccharin) have calories as well. So diet sodas (and other so-called "calorie-free" items sweetened with these) do have SOME calories too (not many, but some). The rule is this -- if something has fewer than 5 calories per serving, the FDA says it's ok to state that the product has 0 calories. That's why sometimes you see weird serving sizes on products -- because food companies want to keep the calorie counts for their products at zero. Things like no-calorie cooking spray and no-calorie butter spray have some calories, and they add up if you use a lot of them. Companies are also allowed to "round down" calorie counts. So if something supposedly has 5 calories a serving (like Fat Free Reddi-wip), it could, in theory, really contain as much as 7.5 calories per serving. Now that may not seem like a big difference, but if you down an entire 40-serving can of Fat Free Reddi-wip (trust me, it's not impossible!), there is a chance you are taking in 300 calories, as opposed to 200. I'm not telling you this to scare you. I just want you to be aware of it so you can make your decisions based on those facts. Have fun!

Hey... August is National Peach Month! Peaches are delicious, and they contain vitamins A & C. So peach it up!
HG HEADS UP! Don't miss HG's next FOOD FIGHT... coming up tomorrow. Weeeeeeee!

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