Hungry Girl Shares Her Holiday Tips, Plus Recipes

By , SparkPeople Blogger
When it comes to better-for-you tasty treats, Hungry Girl is in the know. This best-selling cookbook author has created lighter versions of everything from the BLT to monkey bread. Cocktails, candy, cupcakes, even crab burritos. Stepfanie, the editor of dailySpark, chatted with Hungry Girl for the first time this summer (read the interview!) and learned plenty of new tips for staying on track and eating what you like. So we were overjoyed to hear that THE Hungry Girl, also known as Lisa Lillien, was available to answer our questions about staying on track during the holidays. In between shooting segments for Rachael Ray's TV show, promoting the Yoplait yogurt that bears the face of her animated alter ego, and a tour for her latest book, Lisa took some time to talk to the dailySpark!

dailySpark: When desserts and treats are abundant at parties, it can be tempting to overeat. What are your favorite portion-controlled holiday sweets?

Hungry Girl: I LOVE candy canes. They're sweet, take a long time to eat, and the peppermint stops me from craving the really high-calorie stuff. I also have been known to eat a holiday cookie every now and then...

dailySpark: This time of year, the invitations to parties, dinners and drinks are incessant. How do you stay on track and be social?

Hungry Girl: I go to parties, of course, but I try not to make it about the food. If I'm going to a cocktail party I'll have a little snack beforehand. I'm not a big drinker but I'll have a cocktail once in a while. I go for flavored vodka, with club soda and a splash of juice. I stick with crudités and cocktail shrimp or chicken skewers and avoid greasy, fried hors d'eourves.

dailySpark: The day of a major event, such as a holiday party, what is your eating strategy? Do you skip meals or cut back? Eat before you go? Avoid food at parties?

Hungry Girl: I try to plan my food for the day (to some degree) ahead of time. And then during the day I try to be as careful as I can and I avoid high-calorie foods. I don't skip meals (that makes you hungrier) but I tend to snack before a party or event so I'm not too hungry. Some of my favorite foods to grab are Fuji apples, a Yoplait Fiber One Yogurt (just 50 calories!), or a light string cheese stick. Then when I get to the event I won't just grab the first thing I see.

dailySpark: Your site has a wealth of better-for-you recipes. Can you give us some favorite recipes that would be appropriate to take to a holiday party?

Hungry Girl: Here are two great ones... HG's Pumpkin-licious Nog

PER SERVING (1 cup): 110 calories, 2g fat, 344mg sodium, 16g carbs, 2g fiber, 6.5g sugars, 6g protein

Even non-nog-lovers will become obsessed with this creamy, pumpkin-packed stuff!
5 cups light vanilla soymilk

One small (4-serving) package Jell-O Sugar Free Fat Free Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix

6 no-calorie sweetener packets (like Splenda)

2/3 cup canned pure pumpkin
1 tsp rum extract

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Optional Topping: additional cinnamon 

In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend on high until mixed thoroughly. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow it to thicken. If you like, top each glass off with a sprinkling of cinnamon. Enjoy! MAKES 5 SERVINGS

(Click here for the recipe!) 

HG's Caramel Pudding Pumpkin Cupcakes PER SERVING (1 cupcake): 108 calories, 2g fat, 188mg sodium, 21g carbs, 0.5g fiber, 12g sugars, 2g protein
This recipe is from our very first cookbook, Hungry Girl: Recipes & Survival Strategies for Guilt-Free Eating in the Real World. Everyone LOVES these! 

For Cupcakes

2 cups moist-style yellow cake mix

1 cup canned pure pumpkin

1/3 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters Original) 

2 tbsp. sugar-free pancake syrup

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated) 

1/8 tsp salt 

For Topping
3 cubes (about 1 oz.) chewy caramel

2 tsp light vanilla soymilk

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Combine all cupcake ingredients in a mixing bowl with 1/3 cup water. Whip with a whisk or fork for 2 minutes, or until thoroughly blended. 

Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray or line with baking cups. Evenly spoon batter into muffin cups. 

Place pan in the oven and cook for about 12 minutes, until cupcakes have puffed up but still appear a little gooey on top. 

Once cupcakes are cool enough to handle, arrange them closely on a plate so that the edges are touching. Place caramel and soymilk in a tall microwave-safe glass or dish (mixture will bubble and rise when heated). 

Microwave at medium power for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir mixture vigorously until smooth and thoroughly blended. (Return to microwave for 30 seconds at medium heat if caramel has not fully melted.) Immediately drizzle caramel sauce over cupcakes. Eat up! 


dailySpark: Holiday cooking and entertaining can really put a dent in the grocery budget. Do you have any tips for saving money on groceries?

Hungry Girl: Buy in bulk - even if you have to share/split some stuff with friends. Cut coupons. Look for sales -- I'm all about sales... food, clothing, etc. 

Hungry Girl shared her tips for staying on track during the holidays. Do you have a tip that helps you stay on track?

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I love Yoplait Yogurt! Yum! Report
Goodness! Hungry Girl's got her bases covered! Good article! Report
pumpkin nog sounds yummy Report
WW pumpkin mousse. It's on SparkPeople Recipes, too. It's so delicious and I can eat it with no guilt and it helps me avoid fattening desserts. Report
So saved this to my favorites so I can find that recipe for cupcakes again easily! YUMMY!!! Report
I LOVE the idea of using sugar-free syrup in a baked-good!! I never thought of that!! It's great!! Report
These sound good & I like her tips. Report
Yummy tips, I just signed up for HG's newsletter! Report
these look great but I find it frustrating that every "low fat-low calorie" recipe for sweets has "no calorie sweeteners" I am allergic to all of them, including stevia. I do have one cookbook that has some recipes using sugar, honey, or apple sauce. You CAN make sweets low in calories with sugar, honey, and/or apple sauce. Report
Wonderful tips, thanks HG! Report
These sound great! I just discovered Hungry Girl. Made the egg in a cup yesterday and now I'm hooked. Thanks for the ideas! Report
Thank you Hungry Girl for the tips and recipes.... the cupcakes sounds delicious.. will try them out for the family... DJ Report
Those cupcakes sound AMAZING and I plan on making them in the near future! Report
I'm a big fan of Hungry Girl. Her tips and recipes, plus the support of Sparkpeople, really helps me stay on track and keep food in perspective. Report
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