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Hungry Girl 200 Calorie Cookbook

Hungry Girl 200 Calorie Cookbook: Cool or Not?

The title debuting on the May 3 New York Times best-seller list isn't a work of thought-provoking literature, it's a new cookbook called Hungry Girl 200 Under 200: 200 Recipes Under 200 Calories ($12). The collection, created by Lisa Lillien of, creatively combines mostly processed foods that yield low-calorie servings for snacking.

While Hungry Girl is wildly popular, she does have her critics. To those who knock her focus on packaged and boxed items, Lisa says, "People are hypocrites. They say 'shop the perimeter of the store, never eat anything that's not organic,' but it's B.S., because people can't live like that forever."

I'm torn on whether or not the Hungry Girl phenomenon is a good thing. I appreciate that her success suggests people are worried about their waistlines and attempting to take control by preparing food on their own. And while the emphasis on calorie intake is a proven way to control your weight, the heavy inclusion of processed foods isn't exactly a healthy approach to your diet. What do you think about the idea behind this new cookbook — is it cool or not?

idawson idawson 8 years
I have one of her cookbooks and some of her salads are decent. But I do tend to dismiss many of the recipes. I had a nutritionist to whom I showed the book and basically she said that I should read with caution because a lot of the food in the book is junk food.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
"For those spending so much time knocking her, take some of that energy and focus it into creating your own website, newsletter and cookbooks." The entire point of this post was: "What do you think about the idea behind this new cookbook — is it cool or not?" We're just answering the question. And also, it's a logical fallacy to assume that you can't criticize something unless you're actively trying to pursue a similar path. I can watch a movie and say it's terrible, and not feel bad because I haven't tried to make a movie before. When you publish anything from art to books, you're putting it out there for criticism. Clearly a lot of people on here think her cookbook and attitude towards food is crap. Why would you want to suppress our opinions? I can only think that it's because you disagree. Not a good enough reason.
hithatsmybike hithatsmybike 8 years
If it's low-calorie it just means I can eat 3 of them =) lol jk I've never heard of Hungry Girl, but I'm not that interested either.. I generally don't count calories, too obsessive for me. It's much easier to just eat nutritious food in reasonable portions.
LemonOut LemonOut 8 years
Hungry Girl can be useful-- she sometimes suggests god products on her website, but most of her recipes are not interesting to me. I could not imagine buying or using some of the strange, processed stuff she uses all the time in her recipe. Also, I think there is something to be said for preparing tasty, healthful, yet possibly more caloric food and enjoying it. For instance, she often uses a lot of fat-free dairy in her recipes, which I consider a waste of calories, because it is so different and inferior to the original in most cases. Much better, IMO, to use low-fat dairy and have much better taste for slightly more calories. I much prefer Ellie Krieger for healthy recipes that use real food.
katyharper katyharper 8 years
I am just cracking up reading all of these comments. Imagine if we all got this worked up over something that really mattered...
verr0nica verr0nica 8 years
I am not going to lie, I am very conscious of what goes in my mouth and try to make everything from scratch to maximize nutrients and minimize sodium and preservatives but I I do need to use processed food for times when I don't have time to cook or would like a "cheat". I don't think eating by Hungry Girl standards is healthy at all but it helps the majority of fatasses that like artificial foods find a way to *gasp* not eat like a fatass! While the cookbook is too much of a fad in my opinion, her grocery store finds and low fat alternatives are helping people get closer to a healthy weight. something is better than nothing.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
I don't eat processed food. Incidentally, most of natural, whole foods are under 200 calories per serving.
Zulkey Zulkey 8 years
god, those shirtaki noodles are the worst. I tried making her "fettucine alfredo" and felt like such a failure until I realized that I was cooking with an unholy ingredient and it wasn't MY fault if the "cheese" didn't stick to the "pasta". ugh.
jade408 jade408 8 years
I used to subscribe to the email list. But it was way too processed, so I left. The one thing I learned that won me over? The unsweetened almond breeze almond milk (chocolate and vanilla) are really great. The closest to milk you can get w/o the cow. Way more neutral tasting than soy milk. And you can make a yummy vegan chocolate mousse by using that as the milk part (add coco powder, agave syrup, vanilla, and avocado -- blend).
glampop20 glampop20 8 years
I like the concept of low-cal alternatives to dishes that would otherwise be overindulgent, but I have to admit her recipes are terrible. I have tried a few and they are truly grotesque. One of them called for these tofu noodles which smelled like fish, plus sour cream, cream cheese, and parmesan cheese to make an alfredo sauce. It was truly one of the most disgusting things I have ever eaten. Just have whole wheat pasta instead... it is so much easier. Also- her e-mail newsletters sound like a 7th grader wrote them. Just putting that out there.
jadenirvana jadenirvana 8 years
I do agree her penchant for processed foods is a little fifties. I always sub in fresh fruit for canned in her recipes. But overall I love Hungry Girl. She's like Jennifer Weiner for dieting-funny, honest, and comforting to women who can't eat a carrot stick and call it a day. I just bought the cookbook and I like it. If nothing else, I think HungryGirl offers great PMS recipes for when you're hungry, lazy, and don't want to totally blow your diet.
opentypeA opentypeA 8 years
Smacks83 - I was TOTALLY thinking of those nasty noodles.. I tried them once, because I was all like "Ooh, HungryGirl recommended them, HungryGirl says they're low-cal," blah blah blah, and I couldn't even stand the SMELL let alone the taste! Even tons of sauce didn't help -- they just slid down like a fork full of worms. Nasty!
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I just visited her website...holy FAKE stuff! She has a recipe on there for some sort of fake Danish that was made with fat free whipped cream, marshmallow creme, canned croissant dough and a bunch of Splenda. I think the only remotely healthy thing in it was frozen cherries. Gross!
dd-sugar dd-sugar 8 years
Boo for processed food and anything/one who advocates them. I've eaten natural foods since the 70s. There's always someone out there with a gimmick. Hope people educate themselves.
annissa annissa 8 years
Low in calories does not equal good for you! Duh.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
Books like this represent everything that is wrong with the American Food culture. Overweight? Starve yourself by eating 200 calorie meals made from processed foods! I love how she says that you can't live forever eating healthy organic foods. That has to be one of the more idiotic things I've heard recently.
kkbutler kkbutler 8 years
I personally eat a mostly raw diet (which includes wine and dark chocolate!) so I can't really imagine eating a ton of processed foods. But think of how many Americans only eat processed foods. Perhaps learning healthier/alternative choices, with more realistic calorie intakes, is a great first step for those who aren't living a healthy lifestyle to begin with. Maybe her versions of snacks are better than what some people are eating to start. She's not claiming to be a super healthy girl just a hungry one. Hopefully people will use her ideas to supplement for some of the foods they are eating now as opposed to adopting it as a lifestyle.
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