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Dear HG,

What are your favorite ways to make things taste creamy and delicious, without adding lots of fat and/or calories?

Seeking Secrets
Dear Seeking,

Good question -- and it's one I LOVE because I have LOTS of secrets for adding creaminess to recipes and foods. I'll list my favorites below (hope I don't leave any out!)...

Coffee-mate Fat Free or Sugar Free Powders - Dissolving even just a teaspoon of this stuff (10 - 12 calories with a POINTS® value of 0*) into a TINY amount of water makes recipes WAY creamy. And not just smoothies or other beverages -- I mean FOOD (oatmeal, soups, etc.). Don't be scared to experiment with this stuff -- use the Original for straight-up creaminess or try some of the flavored ones. Again, you only need a teaspoon or so mixed with the TINIEST amount of water!

Coffee-mate Fat Free Original Liquid - Same as above, only you don't need to dissolve it. One tablespoon has 10 calories and POINTS® value of 0*. The reason why I prefer the powders, though, is because it's too easy to overuse the liquid, and then the calories can rack up pretty quickly. When I do use the liquid, I stick to the Fat Free Original because the fat-free flavored liquids have more than twice the calories, and the sugar-free liquids have 1 - 2.5g fat per tablespoon (and that can REALLY add up!).

Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze - This stuff is definitely one of my secret weapons. It has just 40 calories per huge 8-oz. serving (POINTS® value 1*). It does contain some fat (3g per cup), so it adds tons of creaminess (and a slight vanilla flavor) to recipes without adding too many calories. It can be used in tons of recipes in place of plain old milk (from blended beverages and smoothies to sauces and more). It's AMAZING -- and all natural!

Fat-Free Sour Cream - Even if you don't like fat-free sour cream on its own, using it to make dressings, dips, sauces, and other dishes taste creamy is a fantastic idea. It just works! A 2-tbsp. serving of the stuff typically has just 20 - 30 calories and a POINTS® value of 0 - 1*.

Fat-Free Mayo - Same note as above. If you can't stand fat-free mayo alone, you can still add just a bit of it to recipes to make 'em creamier tasting. I promise! Use it for salads (like tuna or chicken), slaws, tangy sauces and more. And it has just 10 teeny calories per tablespoon (POINTS® value 0*).

Fat-Free Cream Cheese - Again, fans of regular cream cheese might not love the fat-free stuff as a straight spread. But it's a great way to stretch out cheese sauces -- it adds cheesy flavor and creaminess while keeping the calorie and fat counts down. Go for it! It's also great for adding creamy texture and cheesy taste to mashed potatoes (try it with our super-low-cal Miracle Mashies!) and veggie dips. It has just 30 calories per 2-tbsp. serving (POINTS® value 1*).

Dear Hungry Girl,

How do you find out about all the new foods and things you write about? I've always been curious about that.

Just Wondering
Dear Just Wondering,

I find out about new foods and products in several different ways. The first is the most obvious -- simply by checking out the shelves at my local grocery stores and supercenters. My staff and I are constantly scouring store shelves for new products. In fact, when one of us goes on vacation, the FIRST thing we often do is check out the local supermarkets for stuff we haven't seen yet! In addition to that, the HG HQ receives about a dozen or so boxes of food every week from food companies and food publicists (yes, even snack foods have publicists these days!) who all want their products to be featured on Hungry Girl. It's funny because sometimes they'll send super-high-calorie candies and cakes, not quite realizing what HG is about (I try to give those away immediately!). Another way I hear about new stuff is from the subscribers. HG receives hundreds of emails a day from people raving about new products they've found. And that's incredibly helpful. So keep those emails coming -- PLEASE!!!

Today, January 16th, is International Hot & Spicy Food Day. Eating spicy foods can help rev up your metabolism and also keep your appetite in check. It's also a great way to up your water intake. Woohoo!
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*The PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe, or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark and SmartPoints® trademark.

SmartPoints® value not what you expected? Click here for more info on how the values are calculated, plus more FAQs about PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values on our website.