About this time next week, your house may be littered with those leftover "fun" size candy packets. Instead of giving into the ghoulish treats, dive into these healthier snacks that can satiate your sweet tooth for a whole lot less.
The title debuting on the May 3 New York Times best-seller list isn't a work of thought-provoking literature, it's a new cookbook called Hungry Girl 200 Under 200: 200 Recipes Under 200 Calories ($12). The collection, created by Lisa Lillien of Hungry-Girl.com, creatively combines mostly processed foods that yield low-calorie servings for snacking.
While Hungry Girl is wildly popular, she does have her critics. To those who knock her focus on packaged and boxed items, Lisa says, "People are hypocrites. They say 'shop the perimeter of the store, never eat anything that's not organic,' but it's B.S., because people can't live like that forever."
I'm torn on whether or not the Hungry Girl phenomenon is a good thing. I appreciate that her success suggests people are worried about their waistlines and attempting to take control by preparing food on their own. And while the emphasis on calorie intake is a proven way to control your weight, the heavy inclusion of processed foods isn't exactly a healthy approach to your diet. What do you think about the idea behind this new cookbook — is it cool or not?
It is commonly known that high-calorie foods tend to cost less than lower-calorie items at the grocery store.
If you look at canned soup, meat, pasta and etc., the items that are better for you are almost always more expensive (aside from fruits and veggies). When faced with choosing between two items, one low calorie and the other low cost, I typically chose the one low in calories — though it is often a difficult decision to make when looking at my food budget. Of course I am curious about you guys — are you more inclined to go with an item based on its calories or cost?
- Angel Berry Trifle: Cut a premade angel food cake into bite-size pieces; layer with fresh berries and low-fat or fat-free vanilla pudding in a large trifle bowl or individual parfait glasses.
- Chocolate Mint Sundae: Top one premade brownie with scoop of low-fat mint-chocolate ice cream or frozen yogurt. Lightly drizzle with 1 teaspoon chocolate syrup, and garnish with fresh mint sprig.
- Orange Bowl: Slice large orange in half; scoop out orange sections, keeping peels intact. Put a mixture of grapes, berries, and orange pieces into the orange peel halves.
- Just Peachy: Slice a fresh peach or other stone fruit in half. Remove seed; top cut side of each half with low-fat peach, French vanilla, or other yogurt flavor and sprinkle with sliced almonds.
- Celebration Sorbet: Put a scoop of raspberry or other berry sorbet in a wineglass or martini glass and sprinkle with fresh raspberries or other berries. Drizzle with champagne or sparkling apple cider.
A healthy dessert almost sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it? However it can be done, so here are five yummy but healthy (and easy, might I add) dessert ideas from FitnessMagazine.com:
- Chocolate Banana Split: Halve banana lengthwise. Melt bittersweet chocolate pieces in microwave; spread over banana. Top with scoop of your favorite flavor of low-fat frozen yogurt.
- Strawberry Dippers: Dip whole strawberries in low-fat French vanilla, lemon chiffon, or chocolate yogurt.
- Frozen Yogurt Sandwich: Place a scoop of low-fat frozen yogurt between two small oatmeal or peanut butter cookies.
- Dessert Mix: In small bowl, combine equal parts granola, nuts, raisins or other dried fruit, and bittersweet chocolate chips.
- Chocolate "Mousse": In a mixing bowl, whip chilled premade low-fat or fat-free chocolate pudding on high speed until light and fluffy. Serve in a fancy glass dish or wineglass, topped with squirt of whipped cream and dark chocolate shavings.
Good news for soup lovers...
A new study out of Penn State has found that when served a low calorie soup (made of chicken broth, broccoli, potato, cauliflower, carrots and butter) and entree, diners consumed 20 percent fewer calories compared to when they did not have soup.
If you're thinking, "I've got to get my hands on that soup recipe." Don't worry because the researchers say that you just need to stick to broth-based soups that are about 100 to 150 calories per serving. This way you get an extra course at your meal, while eating fewer total calories. Good news too, because my favorite lentil tomato soup is broth based.
Mayonnaise is considered one of those truly bad for you foods. There's about 100 calories in a tablespoon of what might just be America's favorite condiment.
With this in mind how are you going to satisfy your tuna fish fix? Here's a great recipe for you to try.
1 - 6 1/2 oz. can Solid White Tuna (packed in water, drained and flaked)
1/2 - cup plain non-fat yogurt
1 - celery stalk diced
1 teaspoon coarse grained mustard
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
Combine the first five ingredients in medium bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.
I like to serve the salad in half of a pita with lettuce or watercress and a of couple tomato slices. YUM.
I must say that in many cases I was less than thrilled with the tastelessness of this year's low calories buzz. One product that exceeded my expectations was LesserEvil KettleCorn (depending on where you shop, they sell for a little over $1.00 per bag). This sweet (and salty) popcorn only packs in 120 calories in the bag, and the bag is big in comparison to most 100 calorie snack bags out there. It taste just like the kettlecorn I remember eating as a kid, but the LesserEvil KettleCorn:
- is All Natural
- is Low Fat
- has No Trans-Fats
- has No High Fructose Corn Syrup
- has No Artificial Colors
- has No Artificial Flavors
- has No Preservatives
- is Gluten Free
- is Whole Grain
Sounds like it should have zero taste either, but it really does taste good. Keep a bag around for those times when you're looking for a sweet (and salty) treat to satisfy some serious snacking needs. Buy it online from LesserEvil.com.
Holidays are a time to let loose and relax with friends. And with New Year's Eve coming up, most people are bound to be celebrating with a drink in their hand.
You may not know it, but many drinks can be a fattening fright. Calories from cocktails don't fill you up like calories from food. And after 1 or 2 drinks, you may be more likely to say yes to that chocolate fudge brownie sundae.
Here's the break down of some popular drinks:
Margarita: 740 cals, 56g carbs
Piña Colada: 644 cals, 90g carbs
Long Island Iced Tea: 780 cals, 44g carbs
White Russian: 425 cals, 26g carbs
Mai Tai: 350 cals, 30g carbs
Champagne Cocktail: 250 cals, 13g carbs
Fog Cutter: 225 cals, 13g carbs
Gin/Vodka and Tonic: 200 cals, 14g carbs
Mojito: 160 cals, 12g carbs
Cosmopolitan: 150 cals, 10g carbs
Fit's Tip: After every alcoholic drink, you should down 2 glasses of water to fill you up and keep you hydrated.
Recent studies suggest that we all eat more when we are eating food labeled low fat. Yikes!
When fat is taken out of a food it is usually replaced with sugar, and sugar is not low in calories (or carbs for that matter). Generally the foods labeled as low fat are only 11% lower in fat when compared with their regular fat counterparts. Yet most folks think "low fat" means the foods are 40% lower in fat content. Because of this misconception, people tend to eat over 28% more calories when eating low fat foods.
Fit's Tip: Basically your best bet is to eat just a little bit of whatever you're really craving since the full fat version is tastier and ultimately better for your waist since chances are you will not over indulge.