Not so sure about the Hungry Girl
Saturday, March 12, 2011
I am underwhelmed by the Hungry Girl. For every "hey, that's a great tip" there are 20 "what heck is she doing that for?????" She loves loves loves her artificial sweeteners, doesn't she. She is throwing in a yellow packet in what seems like very recipe that isn't savory. Today Hungry Girl was making a "double-o-cinnamon apple breakfast bowl" and it made me want to hurl. She whacked up a Fuji apple, she throws fat-free cottage cheese into a disposable plastic container with some cinnamon, a tsp of vanilla extra and a yellow packet of artificial sweetener (yellow tells you which one), then she tops it with the apple and more cinnamon. Here are my objections a Fuji apple is a fairly sweet apple, why does she need to sweeten the cottage cheese. She didn't treat the apple with anything acidic to keep it from browning, by the way, but she's packing it to got so it will be nice and brown unless she is counting on the whey in the cottage cheese to do the job, but since she didn't shake the container I am dubious. That is going to be so sweet I wouldn't be able to eat it.
She followed that up with "Cannoli-Stuffed French Toast Nuggets" and yet another item to make me queasy. The only thing vaguely cannoli-like is that she used ricotta for the filling. Yuppers. She sweetened fat free ricotta with another yellow packet, vanilla and threw in mini-chocolate chips and stuffed it into a HOT DOG BUN (how to shout that a hot dog bun, sure it was whole wheat, but hot dog buns do not cannoli make). She cuts the bun bite sized and dips in egg substitute with vanilla and cinnamon, the fries it up in a pan that she hit with some cooking spray and touch on whipped butter. She tops them with powdered sugar and sugar-free pancake syrup. It doesn't sound good, I sounds like I should make cannoli, but who has time to fry all those shells (I did a couple hundred cannoli shells one night and I don't think I've made them since, it was mentally scarring).
She wraps up the show with her "Growing Oatmeal Bowl." She shows a bowl of oatmeal and the graphic shows that a serving is 1/2 cup oatmeal uncooked. If you have made oatmeal in your life you would know that you cook that 1/2 cup of oatmeal with 1 cup of liquid making 1 1/2 cups of cooked oatmeal. I find it difficult to finish choking down my morning bowl of oatmeal toward the bottom 1/4 cup. It's lost most of its heat, it's starting to set up like concrete. Hungry Girl's master plan, she doubles the cooking liquid and doubles the cooking time. (She says she doubles the volume but she doesn't, 1+1+1/2 = 2 1/2 cups, double the original volume should be 3 cups, but that's just me being snarky.) The recipe is take a cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, a cup of water, 1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal, half an apple, two yellow packets, a tsp of salt and cooks it twice as long. She shows the results, it is bigger and it looks soupy and unappetizing. I made apple oatmeal one morning, and haven't again because it was sooooo much food. I took a cup of unsweetened almond milk (completely oblivious to Hungry Girl's method, but because I use a lot of almond milk and I was adding almond butter) and put it and a 1/2 cup of old-fashioned oats in a microwave proof bowl and nuked for recommended time. I whacked up a Granny Smith apple and mixed it and 2 tablespoons of almond butter into the cooked oatmeal. I could barely finish it and ended up skipping lunch because I wasn't hungry again until almost 4 pm. Obviously, that was too much food and that was a single serving of oatmeal.
Here is my frustration point with Hungry Girl, the root of the obesity problem is that we eat too much. We have been conditioned to like our food saltier and saltier as well as sweeter and sweeter because that is what makes packed food palatable. What Hungry Girl is doing is showing us how to maintain eating portions that are too big and too sweet, and I think that is counter productive. I didn't start the show in the beginning today because I landed on it by flipping, but she was holding a quart size bowl (possible larger) saying the cereal and milk was 250 calories. No one who isn't Michael Phelps needs to eat a quart of cereal in one sitting. Throwing on all the artificial sweetener perpetuates the elevated sweetness threshold, but back for a week on both the sugar and salt and you will be surprised how salty and sickeningly sweet your old food tastes.
For the record, I liked Hungry Girls idea of mixing whole wheat spaghetti 50/50 with spaghetti squash. I have been using spaghetti squash in lieu of spaghetti, but it seemed unsatisfying. I will start using the 50/50 trick when spaghetti squash comes back into season. I also like using ribbons of zucchini mixed 50/50 with fettuccine. Same basic principle, and it is sensible, it cuts down calories and adds veggies. I like ways to mix in extra veggies.
For more bang for my buck, I think I will stick with Ellie Krieger.