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Low-Cal Snack Foods

Wed, 22 Aug 2012|

-Hi, I'm Kim Bensen and you're watching Parents TV. I love football, but for years, I hated football season. That was when I weighed 350 pounds and I'd be driving along in the car listening to news radio and on come the sports update. The announcer would always talk about these huge linebackers, and boy, these guys were 350 pounds. I hated it because I was 5 foot 5 female and I was 350 pounds. Well, since then, I've lost more than 200 pounds. And today, listening to the sportscasters is just a gentle reminder for me to stay on track with my healthy eating. To be honest, I still love to eat great food including those really yummy snack foods that you think about when January rolls around. All those great finger foods and gooey dips are usually so high in fat and calories, but they don't have to be. Here's a great example: the infamous chicken wing. You know, I used to think that chicken wings weren't fattening because they were, well, chicken. Here's a great substitution. These delicious chicken-- buffalo chicken tenders were made with pure white meat, and for the sauce, all I've done is mix equal amounts of red hot sauce with the buffalo wing sauce. No butter at all. You don't need it. It tastes delicious. I love to serve them right out of the slow cooker, but if you're a more dry chicken fan like my sons are, you can just lay them on a cookie sheet and slow bake them for 25 minutes, turning them over every now and then in a 350-degree oven. You won't get to suck on a chicken bone, but this simple substitution will save you lots of fat and calories. Three wings, 160 calories, 10 grams of fat. Compared to a third of a pound of chicken tenders, only 40 calories, no fat. Don't forget the blue cheese. You can put out light blue cheese or fat-free blue cheese, but I have these really yummy mix of-- I hate to call it a recipe 'cause it's more just like mixing a few ingredients. I love fat-free crumbled feta. It's moist, it's delicious, and it's completely fat-free. It's got a great flavor, trust me. I mix a little bit of light ranch dressing with it, put it together until-- Well, you can do whatever consistency you want. I like it a little bit pasty and it is one of the absolute, most delicious combination of ingredients. They taste so good together and they go great with the buffalo chicken wings. The total recipe savings are more than 180 calories and 25 grams of fat. Yowzer! Well, what about substitutions at the grocery store? Look, I wanna put out some chips and dip. Try a light chip instead of a baked chip. Seven chips. Every seven chips, you're gonna save 6 grams of fat. That's a lot. And I've got here a really quick simple recipe for a yummy dip. I'll just start with fat-free sour cream. I'm gonna add to it as much salsa as I want. I like to have just about equal amounts. And I'm just gonna add a packet of fat-free ranch dip mix. It is a really fabulous flavor, these three together. Eating right doesn't have to cost more or take more time to prepare, but it does take some thought and planning. All of these great recipes and tips and many more can be found on my website, kimbensen.com. Come on! Lighten up, it's easy, trust me. And even your favorite couch potatoes won't know the difference. Coming up, I'm gonna give you some tips for reading a nutrition label. -You're watching Parents TV. E-mail us at ideas@parents.tv. -You're walking down the aisle of the grocery store, and all of a sudden, you hear it, "Low-sugar, low-sodium, fat-free, all natural. Buy me! Buy me!" The buzzwords just start jumping out at you, screaming for you to purchase them. Well, what do you look for when you're checking out the nutrition facts on the back of the box of cereal? Understanding the USDA nutrition label is not an easy job, but it's a very important one. And today, what we're gonna do is take a quick peek at the nutrition label and see if we can demystify it a little bit. You wanna start at the top of the label with the serving size and the servings per container. If the serving size is more than one and you plan on eating the entire package of whatever that is, you're gonna need to multiply the number of servings by each nutritional listing there is. So, look at the number of calories per serving. The label here has a serving size of two, but if I ate both of them, I'd be eating 160 calories, not the 80 that it's listed for. And I love this example. These are two of my favorite products. They're both Campbell's Chicken and Stars Soup. This, however-- and they both say 70 calories in the nutrition label, in the calorie section, but this one is for serving size of one and this one, because it's condensed, is for serving size of two and a half. So, a lot of people eat the entire can of Chicken and Stars soup or their-- or add their water to it and eat the whole can of it, but if you do that, you're gonna be getting 70 x 2.5 which is 140 plus 35, 175 instead of the 70 calories that are listed on this one, so it can be very deceiving. The next three ingredients or nutrients that are listed are your fat, your cholesterol, and your sodium. These are the items that you want to limit. Moving on down the label, you wanna get enough of the last group of nutrients--the fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. The FDA bases these percentages on a 2000-calorie a day diet. The percent daily value helps you to determine if a serving of food is high or low in a nutrient and how much they're able to contribute to your daily recommended allowance. Basically, that's a lot of mumbo jumbo to say 5% or less is low and that's a good range for those items in here, the nutrients that you wanna limit, and 20% or more is high. That's a great range for the things that you wanna eat plenty of. Well, that's the short version of label reading 101, but whatever you do, make sure you turn the can around before you throw it into your grocery cart. For all these tips and more, head to my website, kimbensen.com. For Parents TV, I'm Kim Bensen.