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My Love And Hate Affair With Hungry Girl

If you don’t know who this woman is, and you have been trying to lose weight or eat healthy, then you have been living under a rock. She has several ‘cookbooks’ out and now even has a ‘cooking’ show on the Food Network that both showcase her talent, or lack thereof depending on opinion, for throwing food together and calling it fast and healthy.

I really am conflicted about this woman. She seems to have a really cool personality and you can tell that she enjoys what she is doing, but her answer to the growing obesity problem in this country is just plain bad and unhealthy. That is not to say that she doesn’t have some good ideas because she does, but many of her recipes call for ingredients that have been created in labs and that are not good for you.

For example here is a recipe for ‘Banana Split Pie’ that she just cooked today on her Hungry Girl show on the Food Network:

One 60-calorie sugar-free chocolate pudding snack (like the kind by Jello-O)
2 cups Cool Whip Free, thawed
3 cups fat-free vanilla ice cream (like Bryers Smooth & Dreamy Fat free)
1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
2 bananas, sliced
2 tbsp. Hershey’s Lite Chocolate Syrup
1 tbsp. crushed dry-roasted peanuts
8 maraschino cherries

Do I really have to explain what is wrong with this concoction? First off she uses two ingredients that are sugar-free, meaning that they contain some sort of artificial sweetener. Then she uses two fat-free products on top of that, both of which more than likely have added chemicals in them because the fat has been taken out. Why use such ingredients when you can use the real thing and eat the final product in moderation?

It’s not just the above recipe which is awful, the majority of her foods contain either non-fat products or artificial sweeteners. It has been proven time and time again that a low-fat diet doesn’t work and that those fake sugars have known carcinogens in them. Since that is the case you would think that people who cook would try to steer clear of them. Instead of being logical and trying to come up with recipes that contain actual food products, she perpetuates the use of such junk . She has said in interviews that people cannot eat completely healthy food all of the time, and I say hogwash to that! She may not be able to, but that doesn’t mean you or I can’t.

What’s even more scary than all of this is the alarming fact that a lot of people follow her and think that everything she says is gospel. Some of them even believe that those overly processed ingredients are good for you! No, eating food with chemical laden ingredients is not healthy and will not make you healthy. Eating healthy requires little effort and saying that it takes too long to cut up vegetables, or to prep a meal period, is ridiculous and being lazy. I work full-time, exercise for 40 minutes six times a week and manage to cook dinner.

When it comes down to it the idea behind Hungry Girl is nothing more than a fad that will run its course eventually like all things do. In the meantime people are eating it up literally, and becoming unhealthy in the process.

EDIT: I advertised this post on her Facebook wall and she took it down. Go figure. Denial is not a river in Egypt lady.


26 responses »

  1. I understand that cool whip is a molecule away from plastic and for me that is a big NO thank you.

  2. I like Hungry Girl. I guess I’m approaching it from a different perspective. Instead of “this is health food” I’m looking at it as “you’re going to be eating junk anyway, here’s junk with fewer calories.”

    • But you don’t have to eat junk! There are plenty of products and recipes that don’t use bad ingredients.

    • Lindsey, you need an intervention staged by intelligent cooks who aren’t shills for the processed food industry. There is no excuse for eating junk food when there are so many healthy, tasty alternatives; you just need to break the habit of all that over-sweetened, over-salted, over-processed crap. Our palates retrain themselves quickly. I haven’t touched junk food in years, and I grew up in the heart of pretzel and homemade potato chip country. It doesn’t even taste good to me anymore. If I crave French fries, I just cut up a few potatoes or yams and make oven fries. Try Greek yogurt (unsweetened) to which you add fresh fruit of your choice. That’s a tasty, healthy snack. If you need a little more sweetness, then just add a little squirt of honey. Many raw veggies are crunchy and delicious. Create a dip for them using plain Greek yogurt and your favorite spices. Create your own pita or tortilla chips in the oven. For dinner, purchase some fish or poultry, along with some fresh veggies, preferably locally grown. Toss them in a tablespoon of olive or grapeseed oil, then pop them in the oven to roast. What could be simpler? When they come out, you can add some citrus zest and squirt some fresh citrus juice on them, along with some fresh pepper, a little smoked salt or herbs of your choice, even a little good olive oil.

  3. I agree with all you’ve said. I’ve thought those same things from the first moment I read her blog. It proves that more people are worried about giving up their ‘goodies’ than they are about their over all health. It is so easy to cut out calories from standard recipes without replacing any of the ingredients with unhealthy alternatives. Simply cutting the amount of fat and sugar in many recipes yields a still tasty product naturally. There are also ‘healthy’ fat replacements to use in recipes, such as applesauce, pureed prunes, etc. I DO use agave syrup at times, I’ve done a lot of reading about it and feel it is a good choice. But, I would NEVER use artificial sweeteners, including the Stevia on the market now. They’ve messed around with it too much for my comfort. I grow my own stevia, and use it in things like iced tea, etc. I think common sense has died, I just don’t ‘get it’. There is so much information around these days, it only takes a bit of research to learn what IS and what is NOT healthy. Hmm.

    • The sad thing is that a lot of people think that they eating healthy by buying into her madness. If you tell them that they are putting a lot of junk into their bodies they will tell you to shut up. It’s kind of pathetic. She promoted a product yesterday on her Facebook wall whose second ingredient was HFCS and only one person questioned her on it.

  4. I agree with you 100 percent about Hungry Girl! Glad I found your blog as I just started mine recently and I’m encountering the same thing — People are looking at calories only and not the ingredients they are putting in their bodies.

    Chemical additives trick the brain and body do no good! Keep up the good fight.


    • Hungry Girl fanatics think they are eating healthy by following her but they are just stuffing themselves with what is basically junk food. Ingredients and portion control are way more healthier for you than using products with things such a sucralose i them. Thank you for the encouragement! 🙂

  5. I have been following Hungry Girl for years, since well before she was an over-exposed corporate shill. Despite that obviously snarky comment, I still kind of like her, mostly for her diligence in finding healthiER alternatives to complete junk, and for her relentlessly cheerful demeanor. But I’ve always found her recipes way too reliant on prepackaged weirdness (like flavored coffee creamer has any place in a muffin, fercripesake!). The bottom line is, she’s trying to make a dent in the poor eating habits of the general public, and she is succeeding in opening people’s eyes. Hopefully they’ll use her as a stepping stone to truly healthy eating, like I did.

    • I have a few of her books, and like I said I think some of her ideas are good, but she uses so many artificial ingredients that most of what she prepares cannot be called by any stretch of the term. People would rather go out and buy those Vitamuffin tops for a lot of money because she’s endorsed them instead of taking a few hours out of their day and baking something similar that would be way healthier. I agree that she can be used as a stepping stone, but I feel that there is a certain percentage of her fan-base that are going to be stuck in her rut forever because they actually believe that that food is good for them.

    • I must respectfully disagree, tad. Most people don’t use such people as HG as a stepping stone, but rather as a crutch to justify their lazy, unhealthy habits. Telling people it’s healthy to eat all that processed junk makes HG nothing short of evil in my book. Why can’t she just cook simple, healthy, unprocessed food? It’s irresponsible to lie to people the way she does. I’m tired of such people hoodwinking the ignorant American consumer just to pad their own purses. The government should seize her profits to pay the medical bills of all the diabetics she’s creating. HG could care less about what happens to her fans; she just uses them to laugh all the way to the bank.

  6. I have been amazed at some of her recipes. People need to eat real food not chemicals. Real food is from nature and it does not come in a box. We also to be models for our children . It is about health and nourishment not about empty calories and being super skinny. skinny does not equal healthy. check out my blog
    for easy healthy recipes and snacks.

    Thaks for the great posts


  7. I found this through a google search. I’m on WW and I loathe the fact that WW endorses her and her stupid food swaps. Rather than make better choices or eat smaller portions of real food, Hungry Girl uses chemical ladden swaps and products to make healthier versions of junk. No thank you. I’d rather cook healthier meals and splurge once in a while on a real treat.

  8. I see both sides of it myself… It all depends on where you are in the healthy-eating spectrum. An unhealthy, obese/overweight person needs to lose weight, and she can help in that arena. However, once you become enlightened about what you eat, not just how much, then you want to eat more natural and whole foods and less processed food. Eating this way is not everyone’s priority. Of course it’s healthier, but I can see where limiting your calories even of processed foods can be of value to some people.

    The other problem I have with her is having to buy an entire package of something to use a tiny amount of it in a recipe. Not only is it wasteful to have to open a can of something for a tablespoon of it, but having extra ingredients in the house is a huge problem for overeaters. So a recipe may look good but it’s complete impractical to make.

    I made a few of her recipes years ago, but there are fewer things of hers I am willing to make these days. Sometimes however, I can glean hints from her emails that I can apply to eating the way I do now.

  9. I was so glad to find this site. Up until now I’ve thought that I was the crazy person in the world. My husband and I honestly do not like her. I’m a self taught cook that makes lighter versions of foods. Generally I don’t discriminate, I tend to learn something from every TV celebrity that cooks, However, she is the only cook on TV that makes me literally “yuck” at the screen. I constantly think to myself who is eating this chemical laden crap. Healthy eating begins with real flavor that comes from real ingredients!

  10. Yall are funny. She promotes guilt free eating and healthier tips and tricks. She doesn’t say to eat her recipes all day every day she just says when you want to eat some of your favorite things here is a guilt free way of doing so. Calm down geez it ain’t that serious.

    • It IS serious. If she’s promoting products that use artificial sweeteners and chemically altered ingredients, she’s not helping anyone get any healthier. There’s no sense in using products that are fat-free/sugar-free, if you’re replacing the fat and sugar with equally unhealthy substitutes. Even as an occasional “treat”, it’s not worth using those products when there are much better, much healthier alternatives. It’s not “guilt-free”, it’s lazy and unhealthy. You’re only deceiving yourself to think otherwise.

  11. The thing is she doesn’t say its healthy she says
    “Best for your calorie buck”
    and “GUILT FREE” to most people that means i don’t feel guilty about eating all those calories.
    and along with that i know that i personally don’t care about my health i care about calories and fats along with about 99% of all people who are trying to lose weight or have Anorexia/bulimia

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  16. That iis a very good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere.
    Short but very accurte info… Thanks for sharing this one.

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