Ever since my mother described Brussels sprouts as "good and good for you," I've been a skeptic when it comes to health- and diet-food claims. And I still hate Brussels sprouts.
However, in the role of intrepid food journalist, I bravely ventured up and down the health- and diet-food aisles of grocery stores to find productsthat lived up to such claims as "low in calories and carbs but big in rich, creamy taste."
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The bad news: There are a lot of foods that resemble sawdust in flavor and texture. The good news: There are some that taste so blissful you'll keep checking the nutrition label to make sure they're really low in calories and carbs! And now (drum-roll please) Joanne's Tasteful Taste Buds Trophy goes to:
Jello-O Sugar-Free, Reduced-Calorie Pudding Snacks. I just happened to notice these in the grocery store next to the temptingly fattening containers of full-fat, sugary puddings. Since they contain no sugar, with just 60 calories per cup of swirled chocolate and vanilla pudding, this snack sounded as if it would taste sort of, well, gluey. My prediction was wrong! They're creamy, rich, amazingly satisfying and good enough for me to volunteer to be the next Jello-O spokeswoman (as long as I get free pudding with my paycheck)!
No Pudge Fudge Bars. The name says it all. Too cutesy for you? Try a taste and you'll succumb to the flavor. These enormous, chocolatey ice-cream bars contain only 60 calories and give you 6 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein and zero grams of fat and sugar! I have only one complaint: My local store keeps running out of them.
Walden Farms Calorie-Free Chocolate Dip and Marshmallow Dip. Sugar-free, carb-free, calorie-free, but definitely not free of good taste. Try dunking some fresh fruit into one of the dips (two tablespoons equals one serving, so you may want to measure out a serving. Remember, FDA guidelines say if a product contains fewer than 5 calories per serving, it can be labeled as "calorie-free"). Available at health-food stores and online in various low-carb shops.