Hungry Girl: The Interview [Video!]

by Jenn (eating bender) on August 6, 2009

First of all, big thanks to Julie and her team for making this interview with Lisa Lillien possible. We chatted via Skype on Tuesday and everything went smoothly. The overall topic for the video interview was related to healthy snacks and snacking, but as you’ll see, I also wanted to get Lisa’s thoughts on the FTC guidelines and whether or not she feels her recipes should be seen as mainstays in a person’s diet. The interview can be viewed below and runs slightly over 11 minutes. I hope you will find it interesting! (And laugh at my awkwardness!)

Fiber One Yogurt

As you may or may not know, Fiber One is an official “Hungry Girl Approved” brand. To go along with the interview, I was sent two versions of the Fiber One Nonfat Yogurt: Key Lime Pie and Strawberry.


The packaging for these yogurts promises “50 calories + 5 grams fiber + 0 grams fat = zero guilt.” Here’s my honest take on them.

The Good:

Obviously, the fiber content is a big sticking point (literally) for these yogurts. Fiber has been proven to keep you fuller longer, so getting more fiber is always going to be a good thing. In addition, the yogurt tasted good by “sweetened” yogurt standards (as opposed to Greek). The key lime pie was slightly tart and had a real lime zing to it, and the strawberry had an overall sweet taste with little pieces of fruit scattered throughout.

The Not-So-Good:

I’ve got to be honest and say that the ingredient list was not really for me. Artificial sweeteners (particularly aspartame) are not good for my sensitive stomach, and I tend to steer away from products that contain them (as I’m sure many of you already know). I am also not a huge sweetened yogurt eater – if anything, I’ll go Greek.

Bottom Line:

If you dig sweetened yogurts and are cool with eating artificial sweeteners, these yogurts definitely meet the taste criteria and have the added benefit of fiber. In other words, it’s up to you to decide what your personal preference is. I know there are a lot of opinions on artificial sweeteners and the like in the blogosphere, so I’ll leave it up to you :)

That said, I appreciate having the chance to do the review and, even more spectacularly, having the chance to interview Lisa Lillien. I also did a little digging and found that not all Fiber One products contain aspartame – check out their Frosted Shredded Wheat cereal or muffins, to list a few examples.


Anyone who has a follow-up question for Lisa Lillien or anyone on the Fiber One team that I did not cover in this post should feel free to ask it below in the comments. I know some of you who have strong opinions, so this may be a good chance to get feedback.

Go eat some fiber!


1 Erica August 6, 2009 at 11:14 am

Great job with the interview! I think you were VERY professional! I agree with her thoughts on everything in moderation- I like choosing one item to treat myself with when I go out to eat. Although I am still not a fan of all of the fake foods she uses, I think she has done great things for a lot of people struggling with their weight/what to eat!

2 verbalriot August 6, 2009 at 11:17 am

Great interview Jenn! I have tried that yogurt and don’t dig it…not only the ingredients freak me out but it just tastes artificial.

I do agree that eggs ARE IT. Thanks so much!

3 lilveggiepatch August 6, 2009 at 11:20 am

That was great, Jenn! You didn’t look awkward at all :-)

I’ve been getting Hungry-Girl’s daily email for years… it’s great to finally see an in-person interview. Thanks!

4 MarathonVal August 6, 2009 at 11:48 am

You did an awesome job Jenn! You’ve definitely got the whole interviewing thing down – must be that PR background 😉

Although I love some of her ideas for substitutions, listening to her was so interesting for me because just a few months ago I WAS that person who ate 1/2 of her calories from lowfat this, fat free that. Now, I literally have 0% of those products in my diet. But hey, if it works for some people than who am I to knock it….

5 brandi August 6, 2009 at 11:49 am

Jenn, what a great job and great interview!!! Fantastic :)

6 glidingcalm August 6, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Thanks so much Jenn! This was really cool! I am so impressed by the events/products/interviews that come your way!! You are so well organized and always present information so well!!!

7 Sarah (from See Sarah Eat) August 6, 2009 at 12:10 pm

Great job Jenn!

Personally, I stay away from Fiber One products because I just find the addition of fiber to be so “artificial” for lack of a better word.

I also don’t eat artificial sweeteners and have noticed that their bars contain high fructose corn syrup and their muffin mix contains partially hydrogenated oils. Plus, for some reason, I find pop tarts with fiber to be particularly heinous. I say that because there are many people out there who will assume they are eating something healthy just because it has fiber added into it.

If they were to make some improvements to their ingredients, they might have a shot in my household. But for now, I just can’t do it. Great post though!

8 janetha August 6, 2009 at 12:12 pm

jenn, loved the interview. i agree with you on the artificial sweetener. i read the HG newsletter daily and i have her book but i do find there is a little too much packaged/processed ingredients. it is GREAT for people trying to slim down and swap out unhealthy meals for better alternatives though! thanks for sharing. xo

9 buffmuffy August 6, 2009 at 12:36 pm

love the interview! she is pretty, i had no idea what she looked like. LOL.

10 Rose August 6, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Very cool, Jenn! I don’t have time to watch it now, but I will when I get home!

11 Allison August 6, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Yay! You asked the shiratki question! Great job Jenn – you are a total natural! :)

12 Danielle August 6, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Ah I can’t wait to get home and watch this, I’m sure you did fabulous though!

13 Rebeca August 6, 2009 at 2:02 pm

This was great! I know a lot of people have issues with her recipes because of the artificial sweetener reliance but I’ve always had issues with them so I just swapped with a natural source and still had great tasting low(er) calorie options… I think that fits into what she said about using her recipes to spark your own ideas!

Great interview J…

I totally agree on those yogurts… I’d rather have some Greek+fruit than that long list of chemicals

14 justine August 6, 2009 at 3:09 pm

You did not look awkward! You looked cute! Thanks for the interview but I was a little disappointed you didn’t ask her more about all the fake ingredients she uses and endorses. I would have also liked to know why she promotes such low fat?

Great Job,

15 Annabel @ August 6, 2009 at 4:04 pm

Hey Jenn — you did a FABULOUS job! I loved the video! I know no one cares what my opinion is, but I’ll give it anyway. Coming from my own personal experience, struggle and eventual triumph to living a healthy lifestyle, I’ve come to realize that health is just one more of those things in life that we can’t say “one size fits all” so to speak. While, obviously, there are certain food choices and “healthy” lifestyles I would never condone, when it comes down to it, it’s a very personal decision given that our bodies are different and given what the psychological implications are in whatever lifestyle we choose. Yes, Hungry Girl does promote a lot of artificial sweeteners and low-fat this and low-cal that; however, for some people who are coming from eating fast food three times a day and shoving Twinkies down for a mid-night snack, Hungry Girl certainly offers a hand in the sometimes arduous process of educating, re-educating, conditioning and de-conditioning ourselves from the standard American diet of crap. My journey to health had it’s phases of education. I began in the low-cal, low-fat, calorie count process where I learned how to actually read nutritional information (yes, I know it’s hard for health bloggers to fathom it — but some people do NOT know how to read nutrition labels!) and to understand how what I ate truly affected my health. As my weight began to decrease from 280 pounds, I became more proactive in my food choices, beginning to cook more of my own meals and care less about low-cal, but more about getting the most nutritional bang out of my calorie buck. As the journey has continued and as 150 pounds have said ‘good riddance,’ I’ve never ceased to continue to learn, to continue to try new things and to always be amazed at how varying all of our lifestyles are, but that we may still end (and strive to end) at that same point of a healthy and happy existence. I know this was a rant, but I guess my short point is — Hungry Girl is a great stepping stone for some people and if, otherwise, people choose to follow the HG lifestyle forever — to each her own!
<3 Annabel

16 Rosey Rebecca August 6, 2009 at 4:36 pm

Great interview!! I personally hate FiberOne Products because of the ingredients they use! Like I said the other day, I used to LOVE Hungry Girl, but as I stopped eating foods with fake ingredients, I really started to dislike her recipes. I wish she would stop caring so much about her name popping up on brand name products and put out a healthier message using real foods instead of fake ones.

With that said, her newsletters are helpful sometimes!!

Sorry for the rant!

17 karla522 August 6, 2009 at 4:46 pm

Awesome job Jenn! You’re such a fantastic journalist :)

People really give HG a hard time about her ingredients sometimes, but I think it makes sense when she says there a starting point/inspiration point. If you don’t personally like some of the ingredients, try swapping them out with ones that you like better! No one’s going to get mad if you make a little switcheroo, right? 😉

18 faith August 6, 2009 at 4:54 pm

good job jenn! she actually won back a few points with me because she seems pretty personable and sincere! throughout the entire thing though i couldn’t help but noticining her major carb fear…what is this about?

if a follow up was done, i would be very curious to find out her opinion on all the artificial ingredients used in her recipes…

also, where does she get her national “food” history day data from?

19 Sarah (LovIN My Tummy) August 6, 2009 at 4:57 pm

Oprah should be worried.

You did great Jenn! I love how you weren’t afraid to ask her about “real” foods, and I think her response was really fair.

Who are you going to get next???

20 Hangry Pants August 6, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Jenn you did awesome! I think your questions were great and I also really liked to hear about how she eats other non-Hungry Girl approved real foods.

I liked your attempt to get her to talk about the FTC regulations, but I am not sure she got the question.

And with the Shirataki noodles – I thought that was a great story! It shows that free samples CAN become part of your life.

Great interview Jenn and Hungry Girl.

21 Andee (Runtolive) August 6, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Thanks for the great interview! It was very informative, I love key lime flavors, but not a fan of the artificial sugars either

22 Natalie August 6, 2009 at 5:18 pm

That was such a great interview! You asked awesome questions. Some of the hungry girl tips include too many processed foods, but she did give some good tips.

23 peanutbutterprerogative August 6, 2009 at 5:54 pm

thanks for asking her some great questions! i just picked up the fiberone yogurts myself, and i agree that they do taste fake. i’d much prefer greek yogurt as well. i did find however that the keylime ones taste good after being in the freezer for about 30 min…still, it is hard to ignore the aspartame!

24 ksgoodeats August 6, 2009 at 5:59 pm

Jenn you did an awesome job!! No awkwardness at all – you were professional! You should be very proud of how well this interview went! You picked a lot of really great questions to ask and it was interesting to hear her answers :)

25 Susan August 6, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Wonderful interview! It was great to watch over skype too, I didn’t notice ANY awkward moments 😉 I really like hungry girl. Sure, she may use a lot of packaged and “diet” food, but some of her recipes are really creative. Plus, some of those packaged foods she promotes (hello vitas and shiratake) are awesome :)

26 sweetandnatural August 6, 2009 at 6:44 pm

Good job Jenn! I agree with Heather that she didn’t get that FTC question AT ALL. I was very curious to hear her answer too with all the product endorsing she does. Oh well!

27 luckytastebuds August 6, 2009 at 7:19 pm

You looked super cute in the video!! heehehe I think Lisa might have gotten her hair down just for your interview too, so MAJOR KUDO’S to you!! I’m so proud to be your classmate-ish! Medill has definitely trained you well my dear. 😉

Oh man, I might have some bad news. I don’t think I can make it on Saturday cuz I have to help my boyfriend with a couch delivery between 11 -3 downtown. GAHHHH. :( I hope you guys have a ton of fun, and let me know what I should order when I go to the restaurant!! (DANG IT, i really really really wanted to try Blind Faith!!!) Hope you’re having a banging week Jenn!!

P.s. I’m going to WILDFIRE TOMORROW!!!!! What is your favorite dish from there??

28 VeggieGirl August 6, 2009 at 7:44 pm

What a fun interview!!

29 ttfn300 August 6, 2009 at 9:38 pm

how fun!! great job :)

30 broccolihut August 6, 2009 at 10:42 pm

Awesome interview, Jenn! Your selection of questions was spot-on–they were all ones that I had wanted to know the answers to!
Not sure that I’ll be trying that yogurt though. I’m pretty boring when it comes to yogurt–I like my plain Stonyfield!
See you soon:)

31 Lara (Thinspired) August 7, 2009 at 3:41 am

First of all Jenn, this is just so cool that you got to do this!
Second, you did so great! You were natural and let her speak and knew just when to move on to the next question. You wren’t awkward at all! And your questions were great 😉
Question if you know it off the top of your head–is HG certified in any way, or is everything from experience?
Thanks so much, Jenn!

32 Angie All The Way August 7, 2009 at 11:53 am

Great job! I’ve always wondered what she looked like and hadn’t seen her until now! I’m not a Fibre One fan myself for the same reasons most other people mentioned and we don’t tend to get the extent of the products they make here in Canada, but all the power to whoever does!

33 hjartas August 7, 2009 at 1:39 pm

great job on the interview! i didn’t think it was all that awkward, haha. i didn’t know what hungrygirl looked like! anyway, this was a fun, informative interview. thanks!

34 julie August 7, 2009 at 5:08 pm

love love love hungrygirl! when she came to a book signing on Long Island this year I asked her if she would hire me if I moved to Cali haha. I wish!

great interview girl :)

35 Danielle August 7, 2009 at 5:44 pm

Great interview my dear and what an awesome opportunity! I would rather not have a yogurt like that one because I generally try to avoid ingredients I can’t pronounce or understand but the flavors look yummy :)

36 Mary :: A Merry Life August 8, 2009 at 11:49 am

Oh I love Lisa and Hungry Girl! Great interview Jenn!

37 D August 8, 2009 at 3:22 pm

Jenn, you did a great job, not akward or anything else, in the least bit.

I had heard about “Hungry Girl” before, but knew little about her. I happened to see one of her books at the library a few weeks back, so I grabbed it to check out what she was all about. Upon further readings, beyond her book, her approach to health isn’t what I would deem “healthy”, but as we all know, there is no one definition for this.

When reading her recipes, there were times I shuddered a little bit. So many fake ingredients and just pure crap that makes up her recipes – a whole section dedicated to “Cool Whip”, yowzers!!!

Fiber One is rather sneaky, long ingredient list, some completely foreign to me. It’s annoying that they tout themselves as healthy, yet some products contain HFCS or Hydrogentated oil. Good lesson to people, to take the time to read the labels.

Jenn, please know I think you did a great job!!!!!!!!!

38 Kelly Olexa August 8, 2009 at 8:22 pm

AWESOME Job girl!! WOO_HOO!!

39 Lainie August 9, 2009 at 12:56 am

What a wonderful interview – I love hungry girl! And I think you did an AWESOME job!

40 Heather Eats Almond Butter August 9, 2009 at 10:42 am

Ugh, our Internet is too slow and won’t let me watch this video. Totally bummed because from reading the other comments, sounds like you did a wonderful job.

I’ll be honest, not a fan of Hungry Girl, but wanted to see you in action. :(

Fiber One – I won’t lie – used to eat the stuff like crazy. No more…AND I threw away my Crystal Light. Evil Aspartame.

Hope you had a good weekend Jenn. Your trip to Wisconsin to meet up with the fam. looked like so much fun. Frozen custard…totally jealous. You know I love it. :)

41 Miz. August 10, 2009 at 4:44 am

AWESOME job with the interview.

the ‘get’ and how it came off!

Im so impressed, Woman.

42 Diana (Soap & Chocolate) August 13, 2009 at 4:36 pm

Great job! It was great to hear Lisa speak a bit since I never made it to her book signing, though I’ve been getting her emails for a while. I think I’ve moved on from her style of recipes, but for a while, they were inspiring in my own kitchen for sure! In fact, I think the first I ever heard of her was from the little symbol stamped on the shirataki noodles. The rest is history…

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