January 7, 2011 at 12:29 pm , by Catherine LeFebvre
For any woman that’s had a hard time trying to put together a quick snack or a meal from readily-available ingredients and pantry products that aren’t loaded with fat and calories, Lisa Lillien, the woman behind the Hungry Girl phenomenon, is a savior. She was kind enough to chat with us about her popular diet and recipe newsletter and books, her TV show (premiering tomorrow on Cooking Channel), as well her favorite guilt-free foods — she even gave us an exclusive recipe for her fab Pizza-fied Nachos!
Just for our readers that might not already know about your fantastic newsletter and books – can you tell me about Hungry Girl in a nutshell?
Hungry Girl is a free daily email about guilt-free eating. There are food finds and reviews, shockers [about calorie counts and nutrition info], survival guides, and zillions of easy recipes. It’s all about real world eating. The books are recipe books filled with great ideas and crazy-easy and delicious recipes that will make anyone feel like they can cook — even if they think they can’t. And the ingredients used are all things you can easily find in supermarkets.
Tell me a little about your new TV show. What can Hungry Girl fans expect? Will it have any connection with your newest book?
The new show is info-packed and a lot of fun. It truly is the Hungry Girl brand and daily emails coming to life onscreen. Fans can expect tons of recipes, survival tips, shockers and supermarket finds! All of the recipes on the show are similar to the recipes you find in Hungry Girl books — they’re easy, guilt-free and delicious!
Speaking of your newest book, what is the trick to coming up with so many low-calorie recipes?
The trick is to always stay HUNGRY — hungry for new and exciting foods. I love that I never run out of good ideas because I love food and am constantly looking to make over EVERYTHING. I’m inspired by things I see on TV all the time – whether it’s a cooking show or a restaurant commercial.
Where did the name/persona Hungry Girl come from?
It just popped into my head one day… not sure where it came from but I FELT it somehow and it stuck… I just fell in love with it!
What’s the biggest challenge you face when trying to come up with recipes, especially when trying to use products that readers can find readily, inexpensive foods, and pre-packaged foods?
The biggest challenge is making sure people use the right ingredients and read labels carefully… I often recommend specific products because they taste way better than others… and it’s important to use those.
What are the top 5 cooking staples, food or products, that every home cook should have in his/her pantry?
1. Unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2. Light creamy cheese wedges (usually called “swiss” and have 35 calories)
3. Egg substitute – fat free and protein packed — and without the cholesterol!
4. High fiber tortillas – you can do SOOO many things with them – make guilt-free pizza, wraps, burritos, chips, etc. etc…
5. Tofu shirataki noodles instead of pasta
One of my favorite things about your newsletter are the food-swaps. What are some of your personal favorite food-swaps of all time?
DEFINITELY tofu shirataki noodles instead of pasta – and FAUX FRYING using Fiber One cereal [as a coating] instead of breadcrumbs! (then I bake it!)
Here’s a non-food related question: What do you do for fun, outside of Hungry Girl? If you had a whole day to yourself, what would you do?
I’d get a mani/pedi (because I rarely relax), shop for clothes (an obsession of mine – especially boots), spend as much time with cute animals as possible, and eat sushi with my husband.
TUNE IN: Lisa Lillien’s first TV series Hungry Girl will premiere on Cooking Channel January 8 at 4 PM EST/1 PM PST!