Lisa Lillien — known to her legions of followers as Hungry Girl — didn’t set out to create a diet when she started the Hungry Girl empire, which has spawned cookbooks, a TV show and even a mega-office in LA dubbed “HungryLand.” But she found that the questions she kept getting from fans were about putting her ideas — be they recipes, food swaps or general healthy living tips — into action. She consulted nutritionist David Grotto to come up with “The Hungry Girl Diet,” a four-week plan that promises “big portions [and] big results.” Here’s what we learned about the diet when we chatted up the foodie maven.
It’s whole-foods based
Lillien’s recipes sometimes call for artificial sweeteners or packaged foods, but the basis of her diet plan is about eating clean. “There are so many ingredients that I use that are all natural, that are clean and still are perfectly aligned with what my brand is about, so I wanted to focus on those for this particular book,” she says.
You’re encouraged to dig in
“I took the time to find ingredients that you can eat a lot of, that give you large volumes of food that are extremely satisfying,” Lillien says. “You wont be hungry on the diet.”
It has rules you can live by
This isn’t some diet that has a start and stop date. These are healthy-eating rules that you can incorporate forever. “People who have 20, 30, 50, 100 pounds to lose, they were repeating the plan and taking from it whatever they want, and they continue doing it,” Lillien says.
Plus: Make her favorite breakfast
When she’s short on time, Lillien loves Greek yogurt with sliced red grapes, almonds and some high-fiber cereal. But when she’s in the mood to cook breakfast, growing oatmeal bowls are often her dish of choice.
Growing Oatmeal B-Fast
337 calories, 6.5g fat, 357mg sodium, 48.5g carbs, 9.5g fiber, 15g sugars, 22g protein
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 no-calorie sweetener packet
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup fat-free milk
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/4 cup raspberries and/or blackberries
1/4 ounce almonds or pistachios (about 6 almonds or 12 pistachios)
Side: 2 large hard-boiled egg whites
In a nonstick pot, combine all oatmeal ingredients except pumpkin, berries, nuts, and eggs. Mix in 1 1/4 cups water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add pumpkin and cook and stir until thick and creamy, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and let slightly cool and thicken. Top with berries and nuts, or have ’em on the side with your egg whites!
HG Alternative: Instead of hard-boiling the egg whites, scramble them up. A serving of two large egg whites is equal to 1/4 cup liquid egg whites or fat-free liquid egg substitute. In a microwave-safe mug sprayed with nonstick spray, microwave egg whites/substitute for 1 minute. Stir and microwave for 30 seconds, or until set. Or just scramble in a skillet sprayed with nonstick spray. Season with spices like garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper.
Another HG Alternative: Instead of egg whites, you can add 1/3 ounce (about 2 tablespoons) vanilla protein powder to your oatmeal bowl after cooking. Look for one with around about 100 calories per scoop, like Designer Whey.