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Dear Hungry Girl,

There are soooo many 100 calorie packs out there now, it makes my head spin! How do I know which ones are good, and do you have any favorites?

100 Cal Gal
Dear 100 Cal Gal,

Yep, just like "low carb" was the new "low fat" a few years ago, "100 calorie" is the new "low carb". What I mean is that "100 calorie" is the new food fad, and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. The good news is that even though it's a fad, portion control has been and will ALWAYS be a sensible approach to eating. So 100 calorie portions of foods are a GREAT thing. Now, on to your specific questions. How do you know which ones are good? That really depends on your definition of good. A large majority of the 100 calorie items out there are merely small-portioned packages of the REGULAR high-calorie items (tricky!) -- things like Doritos, Hershey's bars, and even 100 calorie cans of Coke! OTHERS are actually lighter versions of the real thing (Oreo Thin Crisps, Chips Ahoy! Thin Crisps, etc.) -- I prefer those, because typically you get slightly larger portions. So pay close attention to the info on the packages, and read labels carefully. Some of my favorite 100 calorie items are the packs of Thin Crisps cookies mentioned above, mini microwave popcorn bags, Breyers Cookies & Cream ice cream cups and, of course, LARGE fuji apples, which are really nature's 100 calorie packs (dorky, I know -- but true).


Is gelato a good replacement for ice cream? ANY ice cream advice would be appreciated!

Jonesin' For Gelato
Dear Jonesin',

Great Q! For those of you who don't know, gelato is an Italian form of ice cream that is dense (and delicious!). Gelato and ice cream are pretty similar in the fat and calorie departments, so 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 your average gelato, and there are plenty of gelatos that contain less fat and fewer calories than regular ice cream. There are no straight rules here. Sure gelato is made mostly with milk instead of cream, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a diet-friendly option. So pay close attention to the nutritional info that's available to you. Sorbet and granita are a few frozen alternatives that ARE lower in calories and fat than traditional ice cream (those are almost always dairy-free, and made mostly from fruit). Here are some more ice cream tips for you. Try to be careful when counting calories in individual ice cream servings you get while you're out. Typically, those 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 and TCBY. 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. If you do have quarts or half-gallons at home, try breaking them down into individual serving sizes and storing them in tiny containers. I know it might be a pain, but you'll be glad you did. Another idea for exercising self-control around those massive containers? Designate a cute single-serving dish as your official ice cream cup... instant (and personalized) portion control. Happy ice cream-ing!

Today, August 15th, is National Lemon Meringue Pie Day. For a 140-calorie, 2.5g-of-fat fix, try Yoplait Whips! in Lemon Meringue. Yum!
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