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Hungry Girl chomps for college students

BY MELEA ANDRYS | APRIL 22, 2009 7:26 AM

Pop Quiz: Do your meal options rotate between fast food, ramen noodles, and anything that isn’t covered by a thick layer of mold in your fridge? Was the last thing you “cooked” a bowl of cereal? Are you sometimes forced to forgo lunch after opening your wallet only to find lint and the stench of financial destitution?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, chances are you’re either my long-lost twin or the average college student. Between studying hard, working harder, and drinking hardest of all, we barely have time to eat a meal — let alone prepare one that’s actually good for us. Luckily, the nutritional masterminds at Hungry Girl have come up with another great cookbook for those of us who are busy, broke, kitchen illiterate, and in dire need of a healthy meal, or at least food that doesn’t come out of a vending machine. Hungry Girl: 200 Under 200: 200 Recipes Under 200 Calories is a service to the college community (and those of us on perpetual diets), covering a wide assortment of meals, snacks, and desserts complete with easy-to-follow instructions and extremely low calorie counts.

Lisa Lillen and her Hungry Girl website (www.hungry-girl.com) have gained fame since the site’s 2006 inception and first cookbook, Hungry Girl: Recipes and Survival Strategies for Guilt-Free Eating in the Real World. The site features a “Top Ate” list of calorie-saving cooking swaps (including using canned pumpkin instead of eggs and oil for baked goods) that are incorporated throughout its recipes, many of which are tailored as low-calorie alternatives to restaurant food or fatty home-style favorites.



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Hungry Girl: 200 Under 200 continues in this fashion, providing the reader with 200 delicious low-calorie recipes for breakfasts, appetizers, salads, mini-meals, drinks, and desserts. Though some of the titles may be a little bubbly and annoying — for example: “Totally PUMPin’ Fettuccine,” “Super Duper Strawberry Shortcake,” and “Crazy-Crumbly Super-Yummy Coffee Cake” — the recipes themselves are solid. Many sport only a few ingredients or reuse low-calorie Hungry Girl staples to cut down on grocery costs. Plus, each recipe comes with a helpful nutritional information bar for those who are counting calories.

The only downside to Hungry Girl: 200 Under 200 is that many of recipes yield smaller portions in order to cut down on fat. This may be perfect for preparing a snack for one, but if you’re craving an entire meal because you’re actually a hungry girl, plan on cooking several different things. Also, though most recipes are so scrumptious it’s hard to believe they’re low-fat, there are a few ingredient substitutions that are by no means delicious. These include Tofu Shirataki noodles, which taste like rubber, and Fiber One bran cereal, which is used as a substitute for deep frying but just makes everything taste like it’s covered in grain.

Despite its few letdowns, Hungry Girl: 200 Under 200 is a solid cookbook full of great ideas. Pick it up now to ensure you make it through finals week with some much needed nutrition.

CINNAMON-VANILLA FRENCH TOAST NUGGETS
Nutrition facts per serving (8 nuggets): 151 calories, 2.25g fat, 299mg sodium, 24g carbs, 3.5g sugars, 8.5 protein

What you’ll need:
2 hot dog buns
1⁄3 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute
1 teaspoon Coffee-mate Sugar-Free French Vanilla powdered creamer
2 dashes cinnamon
Sugar-free pancake syrup (optional)

What to do:
Split each bun in half and cut each of those halves into four pieces for a total of 16 bread chunks. In a small bowl, dissolve powdered creamer in 1 tablespoon warm water. Add egg substitute and a dash of cinnamon, stirring until mixed well. Bring a large pan coated with nonstick spray to medium-high heat. Dip or soak bread pieces in egg mixture, covering them completely. Place egg-dipped bread in the pan and cook for three to five minutes, flipping occasionally to cook evenly. Remove from heat and place the nuggets on a plate. Sprinkle with another dash of cinnamon. Top with some sugar-free pancake syrup, if you’d like. Yields two servings.

SMOTHERED PIG IN A BLANKET
Nutrition facts per serving: 196 calories, 5.25g fat, 950mg sodium, 24g carbs, 2.5g fiber, 5g sugar, 14g protein

What you’ll need:
1 fat-free (or reduced-fat) hot dog
1 serving Pillsbury Reduced-Fat Crescent Rolls refrigerated dough
1⁄2 slice fat-free cheddar cheese (diagonally slice cheese so it is triangle-shaped)
1⁄4 cup low-fat veggie chili

What to do:
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Stretch or roll out triangle-shaped dough slightly to make it larger but still triangular. Lay cheese triangle at the dough’s base. Place hot dog at the base and gently roll it up in the dough and cheese. Place your blanketed pup in a baking pan lightly covered with nonstick spray. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until dough appears slightly browned and crispy. Meanwhile, heat chili in the microwave. Once the pig in a blanket is fully cooked, place it on a plate and top the pig with chili. Yields one serving.

— Recipes from Hungry Girl: 200 Under 200: 200 Recipes Under 200 Calories


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