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TASTY ALTERNATIVE FOOD CHOICES

I've battled with weight issues most of my adult life. As I work toward cutting my caloric intake to something more reasonable in light of my unfortunately sedentary activity level, I've decided to make some space here to share the things that I've found work well with my personal tastes, in hopes that others might benefit as well.

1. My biggest enemy has always been Mountain Dew...yeah..."it goes down good", but it takes a lot of other stuff down there with it! I don't dislike water, but I can never seem to get enough of it down to keep from getting dehydrated. So I prefer something with a little flavor. I've tried many kinds of diet pop and flavored water without success, and I had all but given up on Crystal Light after trying most of their flavors, but then found this Sunrise Classic Orange, which reminds me of Tang, which I loved as a kid. The individal packets you can buy for 50 cents or so are intended for 20-oz glasses of water. I usually put them into a glass with about 40 ounces instead. It still flavors nicely, dilutes well, is better cold but still tolerable when somewhat warm. My only complaint is that it seems impossible to get all the stuff absorbed in the water. It always seems to leave some residue at the bottom of the glass. My local Kroger store doesn't carry the canister size, so I'm buying it from Amazon instead.

2. I've tried snack bars/power bars/energy bars, and found most of them inedible. But I heard a number of women discussing Luna Bars, so I tried them (even though they were labeled as "the whole nutrition bar for women". I tried 3 flavors, and the only one I could handle was Nutz Over Chocolate...which has a relatively pleasing texture and a nice, mild taste. It's listed as 70% organic, and includes protein from soybeans. Straight out of the wrapper, the odor isn't really unpleasant...but, neither is it appetizing. But get it into your mouth, because it actually works once it hits your tongue. I wouldn't consider these as a complete meal replacement...they just don't last long enough. But for those times when you're hungry and need to stave off hunger for a good couple hours, these are a great solution!

3. Breakfast has been a particular weakness for me. I think they have a cot set up for me in the back of my local McDonald's now, because I've been there every morning for years. But those sausage, egg and cheese McMuffins and the steak, egg and cheese bagels (no onions, please) come at a high price...not just on the wallet, but in terms of excess calorie-bang for the buck. I've recently been eating Jimmy Dean's new D-Lights breakfast sandwiches. Since they come frozen, they're not quite as good as the Egg McMuffin. On the other hand, they take 2 minutes to heat without leaving the house and they're plenty filling...and they're 200 calories less. They're roughly the same price, I guess...a little over a buck and a half apiece (not counting the gas to drive to Mickey D's and back). The turkey sausage version clocks in at 260 calories, takes pretty good and holds me over just about as long as the McMuffins did. And the commercials are cute, too!