Freeze-dried fruit, diet iced tea among new lighter fare on the shelves

School's out, pools are open and swimsuit season has officially been ushered into Georgia. While this signals lots of fun in the sun, it also means bathing beauties statewide are looking for ways to trim their waistline.

Thankfully, they need to look no further than local grocery shelves, as a variety of lighter fare has hit stores in recent weeks. Here are a few items we've found:

Crispy Green Crispy Fruit

In the great fruit debate, fresh fruit pummels the sugar-coated dried fruits every time. Sometimes, though, fresh fruit isn't an option. In such times, reach for Crispy Green Crispy Fruit snacks.

These are not gummy-type fruit snack of yore. Instead, Crispy Greens are freeze-dried versions of the real thing, weighing in with as much calories and sugar as conventional fruit, as well as all the flavor.

Sealed in a space age-like package, the snacks come in four varieties: apricot, pineapple (my favorite), apple and peach. Each individual-sized package has 40 calories or less, depending on the flavor, with no additives, fat, cholesterol or preservatives.

Crispy Green fruit snacks are sold at Whole Foods, Harry's Farmers Market and Fresh Market stores, and online at www.crispygreen.com.

Splenda Flavor Blends

for Coffee

Drop those sugar packets and creamers. Instead of adding extra calories to get extra flavor, reach for the new flavor packets from Splenda.

Splenda Flavor Blends for Coffee won't add any calories to drinks, but promise to stir up some flavor. The sweetener is available in three flavors: hazelnut, mocha and French vanilla.

While the flavor blends are intended for the morning brew, we found that the sweetener is delicious used in a variety of ways, including in hot and iced tea, and as a topping on bland cereal. Mixing and matching the flavors - say, combining a hazelnut with a French vanilla - is also a creative twist.

Each flavor is sold separately, and a single packet equals the sweetness of two teaspoons of sugar. Each box includes 30 flavor stick packets and retails for $3.99 at area grocery stores.

Lipton Diet

White Iced Tea

In the South, sweet tea is the rule, not the exception. After a few sips of Lipton's new Diet White Iced Tea, though, that may change.

A refreshing alternative to conventional tea, the white tea drink is packed with powerful, healthful antioxidants. Lipton's Diet White Iced Tea with raspberry, with its light, clean taste blended with a hint of sweet raspberry, is the perfect cool-down drink. Each 8-ounce serving contains 74 milligrams of protective flavonoid antioxidants, but no calories, carbs or fat.

The only problem with this iced tea is that there is just the one flavor. After downing a few of these, you'll be craving more.

Lipton's Diet White Tea is sold in single 20-ounce bottles, 12-packs of 16.9-ounce bottles, 1 liter bottles and 1.5 liter bottles. The tea is available at area convenience and grocery stores.

Little Debbie

mini doughnuts

Admittedly, the words "Little Debbie," "doughnuts" and "diet" do not mesh well together. But we know you're bound to cheat on your light eating ways, so you might as well do it right.

New individually wrapped mini doughnuts from Little Debbie may not help you shed pounds, but they will offer portion-controlled sizes so your snacking won't get out of hand. Instead of looking down to find the whole box gone, you'll only have eaten four tiny, glazed doughnuts.

The mini doughnuts are sold in boxes of six four-packs, and are available at local grocery stores.