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on May 12, 2010
I have purchased all three of Ms. Lillien cook books. The first two are great however focus mostly on sweets. I am a 52 year old woman who is deficient in the "I must have chocolate now" chromosome so most of those chapters went untried. 1-2-3 is the best of the bunch. This book provides healthy meals. The recipes are very basic; if you can read you can cook. So far I have made the College breakfast burritto, So Fancy Fish Pack (foil section) and Jammed with Cheese Stuffed French Toast all excellent. Tonight is Chop Chop Beef Stir Fry. There has been some criticism of her use of some ingredients. This book's recipes are more "whole foods" than some of the others. If artificial sweetener, non fat cheese, egg beaters etc. are so offensive to some then substiute and make allowances for the calories. To me the whole point of Ms. Lillien's approach to cooking is just that; start cooking. Don't rely on take out, fast food or sticking some cardboard box in the microwave. It's cooking, not nuclear physics.

Normally the cute recipe names and preamble "Rat(atouille) Pack - 'too bad Frank, Dino and Sammy aren't around to try this'" would annoy me, but it is, I believe, Ms. Lillien's genuine personality. Moreover I am impressed that a young woman would even know who the hell F,D&S were.

Keep up the good work. This old broad is a fan.
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on March 30, 2010
My wife and I have been changing how we eat since August of 2009. Together since then we have lost over 117 pounds! Hungry Girl has been helping us to eat healthier but not miss any of the taste! LOVE HUNGRY GIRL! We try recipes almost daily. Easy step by step instructions with all the nutrition info we need to manage in weight watchers! You gotta get these cookbooks! ALL of them!
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on March 30, 2010
I purchased this book a month ago on Amazon and have been anxiously awaiting its debut. Since it came in the mail today I have not been able to put it down. I want to make everything in it! I started marking pages with strips of paper I ripped off the packing slip but quickly ran out of paper. Then I moved on to bending corners... pretty soon I realized there was few pages left unmarked so I gave up! I think I could make any of these recipes for my husband and he wouldn't even realize I made a low fat and healthy version of his favorite food. That is the true test--if a non-dieter can enjoy and even ask for dishes made from a guilt-free recipe book! I have used my 200 under 200 recipe book at least 5 times a week since I got it for Christmas and can't wait to begin trying all these tasty new dishes. We are hooked on Hungry Girl!
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on September 2, 2010
I was really looking forward to getting this book but I was amazed by the ingredients in half the recipes. Also the sodium counts! One recipe had a single serving had 1200 mg of sodium! 1200! I can't stand to eat something low fat/low calorie that then bloats me up because of all the salt I just ate. What's the point in that?

I really don't like having recipes where I have to use all artificially flavored or artificially sweetened foods. I have tried to see what I could possibly make out of the whole book. The only thing I might even want is the french toast style waffles. This recipe involves taking nutrigrain low fat frozen waffles and then adding the typical ingredients for french toast (swapping out egg for egg substitute). That's not too bad but again sodium starts to rack up when you are using 3-5 ingredients of processed foods.

I bought three cookbooks after this one that I love. Devin Alexander's "Fast food Fix", "The Most decadent diet" and "I can't believe it's not fattening". Now those I love! The most recent "I can't believe it's not fattening" tries its best to still use some items that are prepackaged products to save time but she focuses on all natural products and tries to keep all her recipes healthy. I have made dozens of items from each of these books but I have yet to still be able to make anything from the HG 1-2-3 book.

I was so dissapointed with the recipes, plus even the food in the pictures looks unappealing. I highly recommend you not buy this book and try something else. Even eating lean cuisines will be better for your health. At least there you are only looking at 500-600 mg of sodium per meal. You can get at least three lean cuisines for the price of this book.
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on July 8, 2010
When I first went to college, I lived in the dorms and had the luxury of having the dining hall downstairs from me. Nowadays, I live off campus and have to fend for myself. With a packed schedule, little patience, and not the best culinary skills in the world- Hungry Girl has made yummy cooking possible for me!

I do get all the complaints about her using low-fat/fat-free/non-healthy foods. The thing to do is just use her cookbooks as a supplement to an already balanced diet. If you are more into the healthy and organic eating, these books probably aren't going to be on your bookshelf. If you are looking for lower calorie, easy versions of your favorite meals- buy this book! I am the type of person who just can't limit her to the smallest sliver of delicious organic cake- I need a big heapin' slice. This is where Hungry Girl helps me the most. I can have my big heapin' slice and not have the guilt of it on my mind. If the recipes turn out to be too bland for you, just take a little bit of initiative and throw in more spices!

Her books help me pre-cook meals and pre-prepare dinners/lunches/breakfasts. Without her easy recipes I would be eating cereal and energy bars all the time- so these books give me fun, different options. I do have a tendency to add more fruit/veggies to the recipes to make them more hearty.

Another thing I really, really like about her books is that she uses a LOT of vegetarian meats (like BOCA and Morningstar). I'm a vegetarian and this has helped me a lot with creating new recipes and using hers. Even if the recipe in not vegetarian, they are very easily converted (with a mere replacement of turkey bacon with veggie bacon). All in all? I'm a fan! Since I've gotten these cookbooks I'm guaranteed at least one big, home-cooked meal a day. And, of course, a guilt-free delicious dessert! No more Ramen and Spaghetti-Os for me!
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on April 3, 2010
I checked this out from the library because the title sounded promising. I was hoping for easy and guilt-free recipes. To me, "guilt-free" means eating healthy foods and that is not what all of the recipes in this book are. My mistake. The definition of "guilt-free" in this book is "low fat and low calorie" even for recipes with poor nutrional profiles. Quite a number of recipes in this book have just such profiles.

I have read a lot of good books on nutrition, my favorite one currently is Pollan's "In Defense of Food". I do not count calories and I do eat whole, natural foods and not too much white sugar as recommended in that book (and because of that book, I have switched from reduced-fat products (which are processed in order to obtain fat reduction) to regular "whole" products). I have lost weight by doing this.

Many of the recipes in "Hungry Girl 1-2-3" are in direct opposition to the research/advice found in books such as "In Defense of Food" and "The Belly Fat Cure". These books promote eating whole, natural foods to increase health; weight loss can be a benefit, as well. We now know that we need healthy fats for good health - the low fat advice of the past has been discredited. Many Hungry Girl recipes call for highly processed foods, including egg substitute and reduced fat and fat-free foods, as well as products with partially hydrogenated oil & fake sweeteners.

I have not actually tried any of the recipes yet (most of the other reviewers here have not, either, apparently) but a few of the recipes do sound good (and do have what I consider healthy ingredients for myself) plus I have gotten some ideas for my own recipes from even the ones with highly processed ingredients (there are a couple I want to try but will substitite real food for the fake ingredients). Ultimately, though, I prefer cookbooks where I don't have to modify. Some of the Hungry Girl 1-2-3 recipes feature very few ingredients and that also appealed to me...however, food quality matters. I highly recommend Rozanne Gold's "Recipes 1-2-3" and "Low Carb 1-2-3" for recipes with only 3 ingredients (prep is not always simple or quick, though). Also, the mini recipes in Jacques Pepin's "Fast Food My Way" are very good and easy to prepare.

On the positive side, there are a lot of recipes that do not use processed foods and look to be very easy to prepare. Overall, though, it is disappointing to find that these recipes are labeled "guilt-free" solely because they are low in calories and fat and not because of the quality and nature of the ingredients. So, I would not make a lot of these recipes for my family or myself based on what I believe to be guilt-free (healthful) eating.
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on March 30, 2010
I love the HG emails and products, and this book is great- in my opinion, the best Hungry Girl book so far. I just started flipping through it and already have tons of pages marked as things I want to make later! I have a couple friends with birthdays coming up and I think this will make a great gift. Since it's so inexpensive you could pair it with a cute pink spatula or pot holder for a really fun complete present!

The only thing I noticed after going through it for a while.... no pictures. That's a downside in my book, but it still works.
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on May 26, 2011
I have to say, after hearing lots of buzz about Hungry Girl online and occasionally on the Weight Watchers website, I was pretty excited to get a good deal on this book here at Amazon. I'm a college student, and although I don't have a lot of weight left to lose, I wanted to make sure that I could continue my healthy eating habits beyond hitting my goal weight. I even went and looked at her site before purchasing it. I made the Won-Ton Tacos, which were different and pretty good, so I decided to take the plunge. I'm sorry to say that apparently I didn't do enough research.

Cons of the book, listed in order from least to most important:

-There were very few pictures.

-I was under the impression points/points+ values were printed in the book. You can get them on her website, but that's just one extra step

-She has an aggravating vernacular. Very "cute," but not for me.

-Most of the book really isn't cooking. I don't consider letting something cook in the microwave for 10 minutes cooking. I think "quick and easy" is cut up a few things, throw it in a pot, let it simmer and it's ready to eat. "Quick and easy" to HG means adding odd assortments of fat free foods together and mixing it up, occasionally cooking, but sometimes not. I suppose buying this book has shown me that I really do like to cook, which probably reflects more on me than the product.

-The food is bland most of the time. I will spice it up on my own, but really, how much can you add to many of these things?

-She recommends things that I've never heard of, are expensive, or are straight up something I would never consider buying. I'm not going to use a liquid egg substitute. I don't really have that big of a problem with subbing eggs in myself, but I have no idea what "real" food to substitute sometimes, or how much of it to use. Plus, that changes the calorie count/nutritional facts by a lot. Some things are just too expensive for a college student, like her pasta substitutes. Pasta is not inherently bad for you, especially if you use whole wheat, so I can't justify that swap, but HG can cut 50 calories so it's a must. I can't afford to spend 2 times what I'd pay for ground turkey for a soy substitute. I guess what I'd say is that unless you eat ONLY HG-style food, you'll be spending a lot on ingredients you won't use much. It's (to me) unrealistic to expect people to have these ingredients on hand, or to buy them to use weird measurements (which least me to the most annoying thing about the book...).

-Why would I ever use 1/2 a packet of something? Am I supposed to save it? Where? How? Also, if I'm going to be cooking out of here consistently, I'm not going to be buying packets - it's way more cost efficient to buy the bulk, unpackaged portions. This aggravated me to no end, and ultimately was why I gave up trying from this book. Although the odd substitutions were annoying and probably unhealthy, I can substitute things pretty easily. I will not put up with looking up how much oatmeal is in a packet online before I try to cook something.

Things the book did well:

-You're not taking in many calories, I can tell you that.

-There are a lot of recipes. Many of them are similar, but there are a lot of varieties of smoothies, salads, etc.

If you really want to cook meals that are healthy, I don't recommend this book. I love the Weight Watchers cookbooks, and there are plenty of food blogs that I feel give a much better product for free.
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on January 26, 2011
Ok, so I understand why many people really like this book. I particularly liked the fact that so many recipes call for meat substitutes such as boca burgers because I am vegetarian and these are a fairly normal thing to find in my freezer. Plus having them used in so many recipes saves me the trouble of recreating recipes to fit my lifestyle. I also recently joined weight watchers, more as a motivational healthy eating tool than to lose a drastic amount of weight so the low calorie/ low WW points are helpful up to a point. I don't have a particular issue with sugar substitutes. I use stevia on a pretty regular basis and I use sugar free syrups in my morning coffee. However, the amount of processed foods called for definitely gave me pause. I'm not a huge fan of things like cool whip or reduced fat american cheese or egg beaters. So it seems as though while I will not have to make substitutions regarding meat products, I will have to recreate recipes to include things like real organic egg whites and fuller flavored cheeses in smaller amounts. I am also kind of shocked that a product endorsed by weight watchers uses so few fresh fruits and vegetables. The new program allows for almost unlimited consumption of these and so I think many of the recipes could be made more filling and actually healthier by adding more fresh ingredients.
Realistically, this book is a good starting point if you are used to consuming a lot of processed foods and sugar and want to make substitutions to reduce your calorie intake. It's also a decent jumping off point for creating your own healthier versions of recipes in the book. I will say this: I am a huge fan of sweets and this has definitely given me options for reducing my caloric intake in that regard, I just wouldn't base an entire eating plan on what is provided in this book.
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on May 7, 2010
I love Hungry Girl. I look forward to her e-mails everyday. As a member of Weight Watchers, she helps me find products and recipes that make dieting an adventure instead of something I dread.

Hungry Girl 1-2-3 is like having her e-mails in one place. The book is chock full of recipes that are low in fat and fun to cook. Some of my favorites include Pizza-Fried Chicken (chicken is the crust!), Hawaiian Slaw (which is super easy to make with packaged broccoli slaw), and Scoopable Creamsicle Crush Pie (only 112 calories and 0.5g fat!).

The only disappointment I have is that the book does not include Weight Watcher points. That would have been really simple to add and made it perfect for those of us in the program.
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