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Dear Hungry Girl,

I just started my first year of college and I am deathly afraid of putting on that "freshman 15" I have heard so much about.  Any advice on how to avoid it?

-- Worried About My Weight

Dear Worried,

So many people go off to college and gain weight because they're under a lot of stress. They stop paying attention to what they're eating and let themselves go.  I'd say you're already ahead of the game, though, because you are aware of the potential problem and you're trying to do something about it.  Continue to be conscious of the kind (and amount) of food you're eating.  When I was in college, the cafeteria was my biggest dieting danger zone.  Meals were a social event and we would sit for HOURS,  eating and gossiping.  At first I found myself picking at all the leftover food (even the stuff I didn't like) just because it was sitting in front of me.  By the time we left, I would have consumed every last morsel of food on that tray.  Luckily I learned a trick that you may want to use.  When you've eaten enough and feel satisfied, pour some salt, pepper or sugar on your leftovers, rendering them inedible.  That way you won't go back to finish the congealed mess that's left on your plate simply because it's sitting there.  It may sound silly but it works.  Good luck in school!

Dear Hungry Girl,

I try to avoid flour, bread, pasta, rice, etc. and I find myself eating lots of steamed chinese food.  I can never EVER resist the fortune cookie at the end of my meal.  How bad are they for your diet?

-- Fortune Cookie Freak

Dear Fortune Cookie Freak ,

No worries!  A fortune cookie is a treat that seems like it might be bad for you, but really isn't.  Each one only contains about 25 calories, absolutely no fat and just 5 carbs.  They're not bad at all.  The things to avoid are those crazy almond cookies.  They don't even taste that good but if they're sitting there right in front of you looking bored and lonely, you might pick on them.  Don't!  Each one has about 85 calories and 5 grams of fat.  SO not worth it!  And have you seen that horrific oil spot those cookies leave on anything they touch?  Yuck!

September is National Mushroom Month. Want to cut down on meat? Portebello mushrooms are a great burger substitute. They have a meaty texture and are full of fiber and antioxidants!

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