October 25, 2011

"Hungry Girl" Lisa Lillien Shares Nutritional Advice with Students

Lisa Lillien eats what she wants and can still fit in her pants.

Lillien, the host of the “Hungry Girl” show on the Food Network, shared nutritional tips and discussed her new book, Hungry Girl Supermarket Survival: Aisle by Aisle, in Kent on Thursday night.

Lillien recommended using “emergency snacks” to keep eating habits under control. Protein-filled, satisfying foods prevent unnecessary grazing on “trigger foods” like bread at a meal, according to Lillien.

In her first appearance on a college campus, Lillien discussed her book, revealing her nutritional tips and experiences starting a new business as a self-proclaimed “foodologist.”

Lillien discussed her philosophy behind a table covered in healthy snacks like freeze-dried fruit Pop chips, and muffin tops.

Lillien became Hungry Girl in 2004, when she shed about 20 pounds after changing her outlook on eating. Then an employee with Warner Brothers and Nickelodeon, she began sending daily “healthy eating” e-mails to her friends.

Her readership started off as a humble, small-scale group of about 75 acquaintances, but quickly grew to 1.1 million people.

“The business really grew organically,” Lillien said.

She also listed ways to reduce the calorie count of dishes made at home. Lillien suggested using cereal as breading for fried foods instead of traditional calorie-filled batter.

“I’ve always loved onion rings, and I found a way to make them healthier. Nobody knows the difference,” Lillien said.

Baking can be made healthier by using canned pumpkin as an egg and oil substitute, according to Lillien. “A little olive oil is fine on occasion, but generally people cook with too much oil,” she said. “It’s loaded with calories and fat.”

Though filling snacks are helpful, Lillien said, she cautioned against “food fakers”—foods that appear healthy but are actually high in calories and fat. Lillien listed granola, wasabi peas, and veggie chips as common “fakers,” and suggested foods like Greek yogurt as healthier alternatives.

First-year Jenna Rozelle, who often watches “Hungry Girl” on Food Network, said that she was surprised at Lillien’s focus on calorie-counting rather than a more natural, organic approach to dieting. “It’s definitely different from what a lot of other chefs recommend,” Rozelle said.

However, in her talk Lillien said she considers her approach more modern and realistic: “I focus on real world eating, how people are eating today.”