Lisa Lillien, B.A.’87

Back to Her Roots

By Carol Olechowski
Lisa Lillien speaks at UAlbany event
Lisa Lillien visited UAlbany in 2013.  Paul Miller

Fans of “Hungry Girl” – diet-and-lifestyle expert Lisa Lillien – “have been asking for a magazine for years.” So “when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped all over it!” exclaims the self-described “guru of guilt-free eating.”

Published by Meredith, the Spring 2018 Hungry Girl rolled off the presses in mid-January. “For now, two test issues are planned. If the magazine is successful, it could become a quarterly,” notes Lillien, adding that the publication’s initial circulation is 225,000.

According to its editor-in-chief, each issue will feature approximately 100 pages packed with “a lot of recipes, lifestyle content, hacks – even info for pet owners, with recipes for dogs!”

Hungry Girl Magazine Cover

Lillien is excited about helming Hungry Girl; “my roots are in magazines,” she observes. After earning a degree in communications and business administration from the University at Albany, Lillien returned home to Long Island to edit the “teen fanzine” Tutti Frutti. She later held executive positions at Nickelodeon, TV Land, and Warner Bros. before launching Hungry Girl in 2004.

The brand began as a free email, titled “Tips and Tricks … for Hungry Chicks” and sent daily to fewer than 100 subscribers. In each message, Lillien, who’d gone “up and down about 15 pounds” in her teens and 20s, dispensed common-sense advice about diet and fitness; offered recipes for tasty, nutritionally balanced meals and snacks; and suggested substitutions for high-calorie, high-fat packaged foods.

Soon, the “foodologist” branched out into other media. She wrote a column for the New York Daily News and created weekly content for Weight, Redbook, and Yahoo! Lillien’s books became fixtures on the New York Times best-seller list. She reached television viewers through “Hungry Girl,” which aired on both Food Network and the Cooking Channel, and through guest shots on “The Dr. Oz Show.”

Based in Los Angeles, Lillien continues to travel for TV and personal appearances. Her 12th book, the Amazon No.-1 Best Seller Hungry Girl Clean & Hungry OBSESSED! All-Natural Recipes for the Foods You Can’t Live Without, was published last September. And the email that launched the Hungry Girl brand 14 years ago still goes out each day – to more than 1 million readers.

Hungry Girl is sold at supermarkets, bookstores, newsstands – “and readers can order it online,” Lillien says. “It will also be available digitally.” The second issue will publish in April.