My Turn to “Ask Aida”

by Jenn (eating bender) on September 3, 2009

Way to go, Miss Brittany!! You guessed right :)

Last week, I was contacted by one of the representatives of Yoplait Delights with an offer I couldn’t refuse: the chance to interview Aida Mollenkamp, one of the original editors at CHOW and host of her own Food Network show, Ask Aida. Turns out, she is now a spokesperson for the new yogurts and was up for chatting about anything, from snacking to life as a host, editor, and beyond.

Hope you like it!

Thanks so much for joining me today! I know one of the subjects you wanted to touch on is snacking. So to start I’ll ask a question I ask a lot on the blog: what is your ideal ratio of whole foods like fruits and veggies compared to packaged goods when trying to plan a snack?

I like a variety. I’ll reach for things like dried fruit or nuts – trail mix is a good way to get both. I also like fresh fruit such as an apple with almond butter or peanut butter, as well as lowfat cheeses. Basically, anything with a healthy fat and sugar combination that will be satisfying. There’s nothing worse than going through a bag of rice cakes and getting no satisfaction out of it.

For the packaged stuff, I grew up around yogurt my whole life. I think people are surprised by the idea of eating it in the afternoon because they think of it more as a morning snack, but it actually works really well. That’s the whole idea behind Yoplait Delights. They did a survey to tailor the product to the needs of afternoon snackers and found that 9 out of 10 women want a low-calorie snacking option and most of us reach for an afternoon snacking solution because we have that “slump.” If it’s not yogurt, I also keep a lot of whole grain crackers and bread and will do toast with a banana. Basically, if you know you’re getting something complete and satisfying, you can’t go wrong.

I always hear that snacking before eating out or attending parties can help make it easier to decide what to eat once you get there so that you make better choices overall. Is that a standard that everyone should live by when they go out to eat or go to parties?

Honestly, eating right before a party has always seemed weird to me. I’ve always been a three-a-day person when it comes to meals, with a couple of snacks in between and a later dinner between 7 and 9 p.m. But the holidays will be coming up, so for some people knowing that you have something that can hold you over so that you’re not ravenous when you arrive is helpful.

How do you avoid blowing your diet on empty calories?

It’s an issue of balance. I know that I’m going to want a sweet every day, so one day it’s fruit, one day it’s a square of chocolate. It’s the same idea when I go to a holiday party. I tend to go across the board with my selection, but I usually choose a protein first since it takes 20 minutes for my stomach to realize it’s not hungry anymore. The protein will fill you up faster.

Speaking of balance, I know you must be pretty busy with all you have going on. What has your experience been working with Food Network on your show, Ask Aida?

It’s been a really incredible experience. It’s all happened rather quickly and I can’t believe we’re in season three. I’m excited about the changes coming up because we are going to have fewer questions that I can answer more fully and more in depth. I think my biggest fear was that since CHOW is such a start-up, small magazine, by going over to Food Network, I thought I’d get lost in the shuffle. But it’s really a family over there. Everyone is into food and they really look out for my vision.

How do you determine what questions will be answered?

We get tons and tons of questions and we sort them based on topics and then we develop the recipes. I grew up on the coast, so I try to show people that relatively healthy food can be exciting, too. It doesn’t always have to be the frozen option that you throw in the microwave. I like introducing new ingredients to people. You’ll never be healthy if you’re not pleasing yourself while eating. Iceberg lettuce won’t last – eat things like whole grains and cheeses instead.

Do you have some good “No Recipe Recipes” that can apply to snack foods?

One that comes to mind is combining the idea of making yourself a mini grilled cheese with the addition of plenty of fruits and veggies. That way, you’re still getting the grilled cheese but it’s not just a total indulgence. You’re cutting the fat and adding satisfaction.

Finally, as a food blogger, I am very interested in the role you play at CHOW – could you talk more about that?

I got to CHOW in 2005 and was one of the first five people on staff. We were bought by CNET in 2006, became a website in September and were bought by CBS in August 2008. The cool part is that it’s a small staff, so I get do to everything, from food styling and recipe development to writing and research with my whole team. It feeds off really well with Food Network because they are two different voices. At the end of the day, it’s about getting people excited about food. Even if you’re just eating it as opposed to cooking it, it can be fun. It shouldn’t be from a drive through. It should be about an experience where you are in the moment and enjoying yourself.

Big thanks to Aida Mollenkamp for a very fun and interesting interview!

As I mentioned earlier, I was able to talk to Aida thanks to Yoplait Delights, who also sent over some samples of the new flavors that I will review in a later post.


According to Aida, there is a flavor debate between the chocolate raspberry and lemon torte. Her favorite is the chocolate raspberry. If you see these and try them, you’ll have to let me know what you think. I’ll let you know which one I liked most once I try them all :)

It’s almost the holiday weekend! Bobby and I are headed home to Arizona to see my family and do some wedding planning. Well, it will likely end up being me and my mom who focus on the planning…but I seriously can’t wait to get there. I miss my family every day!

I hope your holiday weekend is just as enjoyable. Any big plans?


The mini versions of Lärabar are now available! Thanks to Ellie for the tip…and a very big happy birthday to her as well!




{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

1 The Foodie Diaries September 3, 2009 at 10:33 pm

Great interview, Jenn! You maintained your professionalism with grace..I probably would have freaked and gushed to her, slash ask if she wanted to fork over her job at any point in the near future.

I’m spending labor day in D.C. catching up with my sister and my college friends–so excited! Have a great time in AZ with your fam!



2 Sara September 3, 2009 at 10:57 pm

Great interview with Aida! Have fun with the wedding plans…fun, fun! :)


3 Annabel @ September 3, 2009 at 11:38 pm

Great interview! I always love your question style. Have fun in AZ! And I’ve been meaning to say congrats on your impending wedding! woo-hoo!
p.s. Looks like you have to eat every single Lemon Torte flavor tomorrow as it expires then! ;D Wish I could help ya out!


4 Lara (Thinspired) September 4, 2009 at 3:21 am

Great interview, Jenn! You get some of the best, most unique interviews! Very cool.
Good luck with wedding planning :)


5 Erica September 4, 2009 at 4:38 am

She seems really down to earth which is fabulous! I always thought the idea of eating before a party was sort of weird too so I’m glad she said it :) Good luck with the wedding planning and safe travels :)


6 Lindsey (Mrs. LC) September 4, 2009 at 5:58 am

How fun, and what a great opportunity for you. :) She seems like she has some great jobs! Have fun wedding planning this weekend. :)


7 Meg September 4, 2009 at 6:00 am

Awesome interview! Aida is wonderful! I met her at the Eat and Greet last week…of course she was by the Yoplait Delights.


8 Mara @ What's For Dinner? September 4, 2009 at 6:17 am

HOW COOL!!!! I’d love to meet and/or talk to someone like her, she’s so great!


9 Gina September 4, 2009 at 6:44 am

Great post!! Out of all of those, I would have to say the one that works best for me is snacking before going to dinner or a party. I ALWAYS eat when I am hungry and most of the times that we go out to eat we don’t go until around 7, but I get hungry at 5:30 or 6. I always eat a 100-200 calorie snack, that way I don’t pig out, it really helps a lot!


10 Lori September 4, 2009 at 7:12 am

Great post!
I packed the chocolate raspberry ones in my kids lunches and they loved them!


11 brandi September 4, 2009 at 7:16 am

what a great interview, Jenn!

I hope you guys have a fantastic weekend!


12 carolinebee September 4, 2009 at 7:39 am

Jenn!!! I’m just catchin up on your life! Have so much fun in AZ 😀


13 megzzwinsatlife September 4, 2009 at 7:49 am

Have fun in Arizona!! Great Interview.. with some really great tips!! Can’t wait to here about your weekend :-)


14 traveleatlove September 4, 2009 at 8:02 am

Cool interview! Enjoy wedding planning. We are spending the weekend on a mini getaway in San Francisco/wine country. Yum!


15 Rose September 4, 2009 at 8:43 am

How cool is this! Great interview, Jenn!


16 insideiamdancing September 4, 2009 at 8:54 am

Great interview! I love yogurts as snacks… 😀 Thank you for the birthday wishes and the Lara bar news made my day too! Haha 😀

Have a great weekend!


17 Shannon September 4, 2009 at 10:35 am

What a great interview!! i’ll be interested to hear what you think of those… :)


18 ksgoodeats September 4, 2009 at 10:37 am

Thanks for the interview – what an awesome opportunity! First HG, now Aida!

Enjoy your time with the fam!! Can’t wait to hear about more wedding details :)


19 Alison September 4, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Great interview! Eating before a party has always seemed weird to me too. I understand it, but for me – I’d just end up eating before and during the party.


20 Kristin September 4, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Great interview! I’d love to try those, they look delicious- like a healthy dessert!


P.S. Just switched to wordpress!


21 Jenny September 4, 2009 at 2:39 pm

I love Aida! She’s so cute and down to earth. What an awesome opportunity, Bendahhh! thanks for sharing :)


22 glidingcalm September 4, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Mmm! That yogurt looks yummy!! Iwould love to try that someday!!!

Thanks for the awesome interview!!

I am so excited for you to go home and see your fam!!!


23 eatingbirdfood September 4, 2009 at 6:43 pm

Woo-hoo. I can’t believe I asked it correctly!! And thanks for shout out.

Great interview Jenn and the yogurts looks delicious. I’m pumped to see which is your favorite.

Have a lovely long weekend in Arizona.


24 Leianna September 4, 2009 at 9:18 pm

I love that show “Ask Aida” She has some amazing and quick recipes! You are so lucky!
And the yogurt delights look amazing: lemon for sure!


25 broccolihut September 4, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Wow, thanks so much for sharing this with us–sweet gig, Jenn!
Have a great weekend at home:)


26 foodieinthecity September 5, 2009 at 6:57 am

Gahh, I just found your blog from Caitlin’s, how did I go so long without reading it!?!?

I can’t wait to catch up on it, and great interview!

I just started my own blog, so hopefully you will swing by and follow me too.

Have a wonderful weekend!


27 Kelly Olexa September 5, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Great interview and congratulations!! The chocolate raspberry sounds divine…YUMMY!!


28 jenngirl September 5, 2009 at 7:54 pm

Awesome interview, and I am SO curious about those new Yoplaits, can’t wait to see your review!

Hope you’re having so much fun with family this weekend, wooo hooo for wedding plans! 😉


29 Julia September 5, 2009 at 11:38 pm

Awesome interview!
I don’t normally buy Yoplait now that I can get Stonyfield easily, but those little Parfaits look pretty yummy!


30 inmytummy September 6, 2009 at 5:55 am

I’ve seen those in the grocery store and thought about try them. They look good. Do you happen to know if they have HFCS in them? A lot of the Yoplaits do.

No real plans for the weekend…but I’m going to Cancun on Tuesday!!


31 CaSaundra September 6, 2009 at 8:16 am

You’re soo lucky! I love her show & the questions you asked were really great. Thanks =) Enjoy your holiday weekend!


32 rhodeygirltests September 7, 2009 at 8:11 pm

Two questions: What is the sweetener in the new yogurt- Is it sugar or some sugar substitute? Is the yogurt made with hormone free milk? I haven’t seen these new yogurts in my market so I can’t verify for myself!!!!

Thanks Jenn, and great interview!


33 Nicci@NiftyEats September 7, 2009 at 8:30 pm

Great interview with Aida, I really enjoyed your questions and her answers!!


34 Kailey (SnackFace) September 8, 2009 at 12:45 pm

Ah! I loved this! OK, don’t all aspiring journalistas just want Aida’s career? She’s fabulous.

I hope things are amazing in your life right now! (I’m sure they are!)


35 Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) September 8, 2009 at 10:06 pm

Awesome interview!


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