Universal Press Syndicate

Wish-Bone Bountifuls. Hearty Italian, Tuscan Romano Basil, Simply Santa Fe, and Berry Delight. $2.79 per 9.5-ounce bottle.

Bonnie: I prefer to make my own salad dressings and dress my salads lightly, so I had low expectations for Bountifuls, Wish-Bone's new line of low-calorie dressings containing fruits and veggies.

I then tried them and found these were much tastier than I expected. Each of these new vinaigrette-style dressings contains only 35 or fewer calories per 2 tablespoons and pieces of real fruit and veggies. I recommend these to those looking for interesting-tasting, low-calorie dressings, especially the Simply Santa Fe and Tuscan Romano Basil, my favorites.

Carolyn: I also liked these more than I expected. As with many low-fat dressings, the vinegar taste is strong, but unlike others, it's not overwhelming. And Wish-Bone also didn't try to drown that vinegaryness in excess sugar. Incredibly, this was even true of the fruit-based Berry Delight.

Most impressive of all are the big pieces of real vegetable and fruit that you can see and taste. The carrot pieces in the Hearty Italian were so noticeable that the fresh ones I put in my salad seemed redundant. The flavors are so true to the names that I was able to identify the Tuscan Romano Basil as containing lots of basil when tasting it blind.

Of course these aren't as tasty as full-fat and full-calorie dressings. But they're awfully good for what they are.

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Fudgsicle Triple Chocolate. Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, and White Chocolate. $4.09 per 29.7-ounce package containing 18 pops.

Bonnie: Fudgsicle now offers two flavor variations on its original low-fat snack. Inside one box, you have a choice of dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate. I enjoyed the taste of all but the near-tasteless white.

Each variety contains only 60 calories, 1.5 grams of total fat, and is a good source of calcium and contains some iron. Now if only Fudgsicle would make these without the white chocolate variety.

Carolyn: It's no wonder that Skinny Cow chose a Fudgsicle-like pop as one of its earliest ice cream novelties for dieters. They're low in calories and fat, while still having a rich, fudgy taste.

This new Fudgsicle "collection" would appear to be going after that same adult weight-watcher market. There is also a gourmet aspect to this array of chocolate flavors.

The problem, as with any variety pack, is that you're probably not going to like all these flavors equally. I could have done without any of the fake-tasting white and preferred a whole box of the dark. What makes this worse is that there are no markings on any of the pops' white wrappers, so you can't tell what flavor you're opening. These little 60-calorie pops also aren't very filling. Most people will have two.

But if you have a lot of discipline and live with someone who likes the flavors you don't, this could be the answer to your summer dieting prayers.

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Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Crackers. Cheddar, White Cheddar, and Mild Cheddar. $2.99 per 8-ounce box.

Bonnie: Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Crackers are macaroni-shaped Cheese Nips in different flavors. The Mild Cheddar even has about the same nutrition facts as Cheese Nips: 150 calories, 7 grams of fat and 310 milligrams of sodium.

The other two flavors oddly have a bit less sodium. I say oddly, as each of their ingredient lists is longer than the Mild Cheddar, with the Cheddar list being twice as long. That means there's lots of additives, including artificial flavors, artificial colors and oh so many of the flavor enhancers that I try to avoid.

Carolyn: My first thought on seeing these new Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Crackers is that they had an odd shape for something that's supposed to appeal to kids. At least that's the primary market for traditional Kraft Mac & Cheese. Then it dawned on me: These crackers are supposed to look like mac and cheese's mini elbow macaroni.

The unattractive amoeba shape and idiotic box-opening instructions aside ("To open slide finger under flap and loosen gently" — who does not already know this?), these are quite similar to Cheez-Its, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish and Nabisco Cheese Nips (also Kraft-owned). I'd give a slight edge to the new Mac & Cheese Cheddar and White Cheddar varieties for more cheese powder, and therefore stronger flavor.


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. For previous columns, visit www.supermarketsampler.com, and for more food info and chances to win free products, visit www.biteofthebest.com. © Universal Press Syndicate