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What Science Says about Hungry Girl Lean Cuisine Weight Loss Dish

Tim Boyer's picture

On a recently televised show, Hungry Girl Lisa Lillien revealed that one way of achieving weight loss is by bulking up frozen food meals like Lean Cuisine with vegetables so that a dieter can eat more, but weigh less.

Hungry Girl is the diet themed brainchild of Lisa Lillien who according to her website “…considers herself a ‘foodologist,’ not because she has some kind of fancy degree, but because she is obsessed with food –– how wonderful it is, and how much of it she can eat and still fit into her pants.”

Her prevailing modus operandi is to pass on food finds and food-related tips & tricks to the public that she has discovered with the belief that dieting and losing weight does not mean a life of deprivation in order to become and remain slim.

She is also an author and has written several books about her food lifestyle. Her latest Hungry Girl book titled “Hungry Girl 300 Under 300: 300 Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Dishes Under 300 Calories,” has been a #1 best-seller for over 3 months.

One example of her food finds and tricks is to take a low-calorie frozen meal such as the Lean Cuisine Grilled Chicken Primavera and add a bag of mixed frozen vegetables that has been steamed. The Lean Cuisine Grilled Chicken Primavera contains 220 calories with 5 grams of fat and 0 grams of trans fat. Adding a typical bag of frozen vegetables to the meal puts the total calorie count to just under 300 calories for a quick and easy and filling meal.

Lean Cuisine meals are a popular source of pre-portioned diet meals that has the added advantage of simplicity and time-saving for people who want to lose weight and are too busy or too tired to cook from scratch after a long day of work. In fact, the idea of pre-portioned meals is foundational to what many diet plans consider an important factor toward avoiding overeating. However, one complaint is that such pre-portioned meals are too skimpy and leaves the consumer feeling non-satiated and wanting more.

Hungry Girl addresses this complaint with the idea that bulking up pre-portioned meals with healthy, low calorie vegetables is a great way to allow dieters to eat more, but still weigh less in comparison to other dieting methods. She points out that in the Lean Cuisine Grilled Chicken Primavera meal that there is a lot of excess sauce that can coat added vegetables for great taste and provide the dieter with a much more filling meal.

The idea of adding extra vegetables to a pre-portioned diet meal such as those found in Lean Cuisine products is not a new one. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that size matters when it comes to meal portions in weight-loss diets. In one study, they found that people who ate frozen entrees supplemented with additional vegetables, lost more weight than those who dieted on low calorie meals that were not packaged and pre-portioned.

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In a comparison study of two diet regimens, subjects were divided into two groups with one group self-selecting and cooking their meals based on the Food Guide Pyramid and the second group eating two packaged pre-portioned entrees per day supplemented with recommended food from the food pyramid. Previous to the study, the participants were diagnosed as being either overweight or obese and consumed an average of approximately 2,400 calories per day. On the compared diet regimens, the dieters aimed for a daily calorie intake of about 1,700 calories per day.

After eight weeks on their diets, all study subjects lost weight. However, the dieters on the pre-packaged meals supplemented with vegetables lost more weight on average (16.3 pounds) than the dieters who planned their food pyramid based meals (11.2 pounds).

The researchers attributed the difference in weight loss between the two groups being due to that the automatic portion control in the pre-packaged meals made it easier for dieters to stick to the 1,700 calorie per day goal whereas the pyramid group subjects were prone to committing errors in calculating and estimating the amount of calories they actually consumed.

The conclusion of the study was that the use of packaged pre-portioned entrees as part of a weight-loss diet is an effective means of achieving portion control and enhancing losses of weight and fat mass. Furthermore, many of the study subjects reported their surprise in feeling satiated by the diets when supplemented wiht low-calorie vegetables.

Therefore, the Hungry Girl promoted weight loss dish method of modifying a Lean Cuisine meal has sound scientific backing that a dieter can eat more, but weigh less when portion control is supplemented and bulked up with added low calorie vegetables.

Image Source: Courtesy of MorgueFile


Hungry Girl

“Use of packaged entrees as part of a weight-loss diet in overweight men: an 8-week randomized clinical trial” Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Volume 8, Issue 2, pages 146–155, March 2006; S. M. Hannum, L. A. Carson, E. M. Evans, E. L. Petr, C. M. Wharton, L. Bui and J. W. Erdman Jr.