Universal Press Syndicate
Edy's Dibs Ice Cream; mint, Nestle drumstick, Nestle Crunch, chocolate and vanilla; $3.99 per 9-ounce box containing 60 pieces. Vanilla and Nestle Crunch also available in a 4-ounce cup for $1.75.

Bonnie: Dibs are adorable bite-size, chocolate-covered ice cream nibbles. They remind me of the delicious chocolate-coated vanilla ice cream BonBons I got in movie theaters decades ago. From what I recall, those contained both better-quality ice cream and chocolate.

The ice cream and chocolate used for these Dibs are mediocre at best. But these are fun and at least offer the possibility of eating less; that is, if you can restrain yourself from mindlessly eating the 26 Dibs that Edy's considers a portion.

That serving provides about 400 calories, with half the day's fat and all the day's saturated fat limit, or way too much. I'd say half of that or less is a more realistic serving size. Dibs would best be purchased by the person who could be satisfied popping only two or three.

Carolyn: BonBons and Dove Miniatures are ice cream versions of expensive boxed chocolates: They're small but satisfying because they're so rich.

These Dibs are smaller than either BonBons or Dove Miniatures and are more like dollhouse-size, store-brand, chocolate-covered ice cream bars. Because they're not premium, they're not as satisfying. In fact, these little balls are probably meant to be eaten in volume, like their snack-chip and mini-cookie models.

Although they're less messy than an ice cream novelty and more convenient than ice cream in a cup, they'll never be as convenient or portable as those previously named snacks (which you can stash in the back of a desk drawer). Another problem: Put a single-serve carton of Dibs in your car's cup holder on a hot summer day, and you have less than 10 minutes before it turns into a mound of mush.

Oscar Mayer Ready to Serve Breakfast Meats; Canadian Style Bacon and Pork Sausage Patties; $3.19 per 8.8- to 9.8-ounce box.

Bonnie: These new fully cooked meats make breakfast prep easier, as they can be served straight from the box. (They do taste better heated, but be careful not to overheat them, as they can quickly become tough and chewy.)

Both are high in sodium, with more than 600 milligrams, or about a quarter of the recommended daily limit. So it's wise to not have them more than once a week.

I like the Canadian Style Bacon better, as it's lots lower in fat and calories than the Pork Sausage Patties. Specifically, one serving contains one-third the calories and about 90 percent less fat. I use them in place of regular bacon on sandwiches or with eggs or diced and added to salads and pasta.

Carolyn: No breakfast meat is as messy and time-consuming to prepare as bacon. So it follows that no precooked breakfast meat was more welcome than precooked bacon. But fat-splattering sausage comes close, which makes me wonder why it's taken food companies like Oscar Mayer and Jimmy Dean so long to come out with a fast-cooking, precooked kind. I'm also marveling at how little fat Oscar Mayer's pork patties spew (I actually had to add oil so they wouldn't stick to the pan!), and how much these eat like regular meat (gristle and all).

Oscar Mayer's Ready to Serve Canadian Style Bacon is both much less needed and much less impressive. It tastes exactly like precooked ham slices, which have long been in supermarket refrigerator cases.

Please note: Both of these ready-to-serve meats need to be refrigerated even before opening the packages, making them less convenient than shelf-stable precooked bacon and canned and precooked Spam, that age-old breakfast favorite (at least of mine).

True Lemon Crystallized Lemon Substitute; $2.99 per 1-ounce box containing 40 packets.

Bonnie: This new crystallized lemon substitute comes in a bright yellow packet similar to sugar or artificial sweetener packets. Each packet is equivalent to a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. It's all natural. So if you're out of fresh lemons, consider putting some on seafood, over fruit or in your water or iced tea. One packet is also a good source of vitamin C, providing 25 percent of the RDA, or about the same as half a lemon.

I still much prefer the fresh taste of fresh lemons, but in a big pinch this will do just fine.

Carolyn: True Lemon is to real lemon what Spam is to fresh ham or Coffee-Mate is to cream: It's a new, nonperishable substitute to use when you run out of the real thing and don't feel like going out to get more. True Lemon has the added advantage of being less messy and time-consuming than extracting juice from a lemon. And unlike ReaLemon lemon juice from concentrate in the plastic lemons, True Lemon doesn't require refrigeration. It's also cheaper than ReaLemon.

So True Lemon is a pretty good product, though I take issue with promotional materials advertising that one of these packets mixed in water can be a viable substitute to the new Crystal Light on the Go flavoring and sweetening powder. This would only be true if unsweetened, flavored water seems like a treat to you (any bottled water seems like a waste of money to me).


Bonnie Tandy Leblang is a registered dietitian and professional speaker. Carolyn Wyman is a junk-food fanatic and author of "Better Than Homemade: Amazing Foods That Changed the Way We Eat (Quirk). Each week they critique three new food items. © Universal Press Syndicate