Giving In to Guilty Pleasures

‘Hungry Girl’ expert Lisa Lillien dishes on how you can indulge
Hungry Girl

Check out these guilt-free guilty pleasures!

Keeping on track is tough when you are dieting, especially when you equate healthy eating with sacrifice. You give up the midnight snacking, the decadent cookies and kiss cake goodbye. But did you know that there is a way to give into temptation without majorly ruining your plan? Lisa Lillien, New York Times best selling author and creator of the Hungry Girl brand knows a few things about “cutting corners.” She believes that decadence doesn’t always mean compromise, which is why she recently teamed up with Coffee Mate to help hungry girls (and guys) everywhere to stay on track with their healthier habits in 2014. Check out lisa’s tips and fabulous recipes so you can indulge a little today too!

Tell us a little bit about the Hungry Girl diet that debuts in March. Why do you feel this diet is the most successful way to lose weight?

The Hungry Girl Diet is the first ever HG diet plan. After running the brand for 10 years and authoring 9 books (mostly cookbooks), I thought it was time to give the audience what they have been asking for since the beginning — a set plan with specific foods to eat to lose weight. I couldn't be more excited about this book and the plan! It's great because it really focuses on foods that give you the most bang for your calorie buck — both nutritionally, and for satiety. The plan is easy to follow and give you tools, tips, recipes and ideas you can use not just for four weeks (the length of the plan) — you can use them forever

What first inspired you to develop these recipes (the 4 Coffee-mate recipes)?

I love Coffee-mate and use it all the time in recipes so it was a natural fit. Some of the newer flavors and products really lend themselves to the recipes I developed. They're soooo gooood!!! I especially love the Nice 'n Spiced French Toast! (I'm a breakfast fanatic!)

What is the biggest dietary mistake people make when it comes to their resolutions?

The biggest mistake people make is being too hard on themselves and too black and white. So many people make food-related resolutions that aren't flexible enough and so when they slip up — even a little bit — they give up completely. That's not a great idea. I always recommend that people make more realistic resolutions so they feel more successful even when they have an "off" day here and there when it comes to food.

What is the best way to stay on track?

WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU EAT! I am not saying people need to keep fancy food journals — but writing down what you eat is SO helpful! It really makes you think more about every single thing that goes into your mouth! :)

What is your ultimate go-to snack for those who get sporadic cravings?

I hate to sound boring — but I LOVE Fuji apples. I eat at least one a day and you can never go wrong with an apple! I often pair it with a giant iced coffee (that I make super-creamy for hardly any calories!) with powdered Coffee-mate. My FAST recipe — 1 tsp. instant coffee granules with 2 tsp. powdered Coffee-mate (any flavor) — add 2 oz hot water, stir — then load up your glass with LOTS of crushed ice (1.5 cups!) and 2 oz cold water! DONE! (Add sweetener of choice if desired.)

Are there any surprising ingredient swaps that typically shock first time Hungry Girl dieters?

YES — tofu shirataki noodles instead of pasta. They're amazing! 40 calories for a huge serving. Also swapping out eggs and oil with pumpkin when baking. THE BEST!

Are there any indulgences you just can’t swap out for a healthy option?

Hmmmm — not really... but sometimes I DO indulge in the real thing. OK, I may have lied — there's no swap for amazing pretzel bread.

What do you feel people struggle with most when it comes to their diet?

They are often too hard on themselves — and they beat themselves up if they fall off the wagon. Nobody's perfect! Also people have a hard time avoiding snacking at night. That's a real struggle for a lot of people. I tell those people to brush their teeth right after dinner. That really helps!

If you had one guilty pleasure what would it be and how would you make it healthy?

I LOVE LOVE LOVE french fries. So I bake them and make them out of a mixture of potatoes — as well as veggies like carrots and butternut squash! They're amazing!

Check out these amazing recipes:

HG’s Blendy Vanilla Bliss
Need a refreshing, healthy treat? This will satisfy those midnight cravings with finesse!

HG’s Nice 'n Spiced French Toast
Who says you can’t have a breakfast ‘pastry’ on a diet? Try this seemingly sinful (but actually super tasty) breakfast meal that you will love!

HG’s Spiced Apple Salad
Afternoon snacks don’t have to come from the office vending machine. Stir up this semi-homemade treat to keep you full and focused.

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HG’s Choco-Berry Oatmeal
Nothing tastes more decadent than the delicious combination of berries and chocolate. Lump them together with a warm oatmeal and you’ll be starting your day off right!