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Cookbook Review: Hungry Girl 200 Under 200

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WebMD Expert Review

Hungry Girl 200 Under 200: What It Is

Hungry Girl 200 Under 200 is a collection of 200 recipes, all under 200 calories. Author Lisa Lillien, founder of the popular Hungry Girl web site and newsletter, is a self-described "hungry girl" who loves food but doesn’t want to gain weight.

Like her web site and newsletter, this Hungry Girl cookbook is aimed at everyday people who often turn to processed foods for convenience, with advice on how to go about it a little more healthfully. Along with its easy-to-make recipes, Hungry Girl 200 Under 200 features kitschy blurbs, helpful tips, lots of illustrations, and 16 pages of color photos.

Lillien, neither a dietitian nor a chef, has devoted her career to finding tasty reduced-calorie foods and to tasting and creating easy, fun, low-calorie recipes. She launched the "Hungry Girl’ web site and newsletter in 2003, and now has an estimated 700,000 subscribers.

Like many women, Lillien has long struggled with her weight. She tried multiple diets until she finally found success with Weight Watchers (she provides Weight Watchers points tallies for all her recipes).

The secrets to Lillien's success are her everywoman style -- and her taste buds. "I can taste something and know if this will be something everyone will love or only 20% of the people," she says.

Although dietitians would generally recommend a more natural, less processed diet, Lillien says that's not always realistic for everyone.

"I wanted Hungry Girl 200 Under 200 to be fun, realistic, and relatable for all the women who are diet-conscious but need to bridge the gap between the ideal healthy diet and the over-the-top junk food diet," Lillien says.

Hungry Girl 200 Under 200 is loaded with references to branded products, but Lillien says she endorses only products that meet her criteria of good taste plus acceptable calorie levels.

Hungry Girl 200 Under 200: The Recipes

This is an easy-to-use cookbook, delivered in a witty, fun style that might help get non-cooks into the kitchen. Most of the recipes are for simple-to-prepare mini-meals or snacks that combine convenience foods available in your neighborhood grocery store.

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