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?
**EDITED TO ADD**