Who doesn’t love the Hungry Girl? With bestselling books like Hungry Girl: Recipes and Survival Strategies for Guilt-Free Eating in the Real World and Hungry Girl: 200 Under 200, Lisa Lillien is one of the most creative and fun foodies who knows how to have her cake, low-fat of course, and eat it, too.
Just in time for the holidays, DietsInReview.com had a chance to talk with Lisa as she shared with us some of her tips for making the season fun, festive and healthy. She also gave us the scoop on her soon-to-be-released, Chew the Right Thing, a perfect guilt-free gift for the holidays.
Listen now to the audio of my conversation with Lisa, or continue reading the transcipt below.
1. The holidays are upon us. What do you recommend for how we can walk the tightrope of eating our favorite holiday foods but not gain weight?
During the holidays, we don’t want to hear that we can’t indulge or that certain foods are off-limits. You have to find a happy medium, and indulge in things you really love and swap out those high calorie foods for healthy alternatives.
I’m a big believer in planning what you are going to eat before you go to an event. If you know you’re going to a big party, have a snack ahead of time so you’re not starving and eat everything once you get there. Pay attention to the food that is there before you start eating. That way, you can make a healthy decision.
2. What are some of your favorite pre-party snacks?
Whether I’m at home or the office, I always keep things around to help curb cravings. During the holidays, I love candy canes; They are low calorie, they taste festive, and peppermint has been shown help to reduce cravings. I also love fat-free yogurt, particularly, Fiber One Yoplait yogurt, which has only 50 calories plus five grams of fiber and three grams of protein. You get a lot of bang for that snack. And it is Hungry Girl-approved. Portion control snacks, like 100-calorie packs of almonds, are also a favorite go-to healthy snack of mine.
3. Not all holiday food is bad. Many ingredients used are made with healthy, low-cal foods like pumpkin, butternut squash and lean turkey breast. Can you give a few tips for how to use these naturally, low-cal ingredients in our favorite holiday dishes and still keep them somewhat low calorie?
Many of the foods in holiday dishes are healthy. You can do things like use chicken stock in place butter to keep dishes moist. I do this in a stuffing I make called Save-the-Day Stuffing, which is made with light bread and apples. I have the recipe for it in my first cookbook. I make my Too Good To-Deny Pumpkin Pie with Fiber One breakfast cereal for the crust and pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix, for the filling.
Green bean casserole is another great example. You don’t have to use high fat, crispy-fried onions as a topping. I use garlic and onion-flavored soy crisps as a topping and 98 percent fat-free cream of celery soup rather than the full-fat versions. It keeps calories and fat grams down but it tastes just as good.
It’s about dissecting the recipe and replacing some of the ingredients with smarter ingredients.
4. Your latest creation, Chew the Right Thing, releases on December 8, 2009. This isn’t a book but rather, it is a set of 50 recipe cards. Can you tell us a bit more about these cards and how to use them?
I’m so excited about this. Chew the Right Thing is so cute and it’s a great holiday gift. Each of the 50 recipe swaps are Hungry Girl favorites like Lord of the Onion Rings and De-Pudged Pigs in a Blanket. Instead of a cookbook, they are colorful and fun recipe cards that are easy to keep around the kitchen or on the counter. Plus, you can purchase the recipe cards for ten dollars or less, which makes it a fantastic and inexpensive holiday gift.
5. What is one of your favorite Hungry Girl holiday recipes?
That is a tough question. I love I Can’t Believe It’s Not Sweet Potato Pie, Too Good To Deny Pumpkin Pie, and Pumpkin-licious Nog. I’m not usually a fan of eggnog but I love this recipe. It’s amazing. Sorry, I guess I listed a few more than just one.