Hungry Girl: How to Eat Clean in the Real World

03/28/2016 at 12:41 PM ET

Hungry Girl
Courtesy Lisa Lillien

Lisa Lillien is the author of the popular Hungry Girl website and email newsletter, featuring smart, funny advice on guilt-free eating. She is also the author of ten books, six of which debuted at number one on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Read her PEOPLE.com blog every Monday for slimmed-down celebrity recipes and more.

The concept of clean eating is huge these days, which is great. But is it realistic for everyone? Where would you even start? I’ve got answers…

Here’s the 411 on clean eating, in a nutshell: While there’s no official definition, ‘clean eating’ tends to focus on a diet of natural whole foods (fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, natural protein, etc.). What gets skipped? Refined sugar, heavily processed food, and anything artificial. There are different degrees of clean eating– some have very strict specifications about how and where the food is harvested, produced, raised, packaged, etc. It can be a little intimidating!

RELATED: Hungry Girl: 4 Sneaky Habits Sabotaging Your Diet

That’s why I came up with a real-world approach to clean eating, known as Clean & Hungry. It embraces the basic tenets of clean eating without being too extreme. It’s accessible to the masses, and it’s also great for weight management (something other clean-eating strategies don’t always accomplish). I also keep my recipes simple. If dishes are too complicated and/or call for very obscure ingredients, most people won’t make them!

Below are some of my Clean & Hungry basics that you can start embracing today:

Stick with all-natural foods (like fruits and veggies) and foods that are readily available in all-natural varieties (like cheese and yogurt). When in doubt, read the ingredient lists, and avoid anything questionable.

Limit refined sugar. If you’ve got to have it, go for minimally processed kinds like cane sugar or agave syrup. Better yet, stick with all-natural sweeteners that are free of calories and sugar, like stevia and monk fruit. You can also turn to the natural sweetness of fruit. For example, I like to bake with no-sugar-added applesauce and make frozen treats with mashed bananas.

RELATED: Hungry Girl: Save Time in the Morning With My Slow-Cooker Breakfast Casserole

Swap out starchy and/or processed carbs for fresh vegetables. While whole grains and potatoes are great, they can be calorie dense. Craving rice? Blitz cauliflower florets into rice-sized pieces in a blender, and lightly cook until softened in a skillet. The texture and mild taste works perfectly! You can also mash cooked cauliflower for a light spin on mashed potatoes. Heck, cauliflower can even be made into pizza crust! And if you love pasta, try spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles.

Want to dabble in Clean & Hungry recipes? Try this Naked Chicken & Eggplant Parm, oatmeal recipes, and this Spaghetti Squash Pie. The entrees each have five ingredients or less, and all of the recipes have under 400 calories!

Hungry for more? Check out my brand-new cookbook: Hungry Girl Clean & Hungry: Easy All-Natural Recipes for Healthy Eating in the Real World. It makes its official debut this week!

‘Til next time… Chew the right thing!

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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Sherry on

Or just eat rice..these articles kill me.. Unless you’re tying to look like a supermodel most foods in moderation (think 80/20 rule) is fine.

Kelly on

Eggplant is not good for you!

And Sherry, brown rice is ok, but white rice, not so much.

she said on

Actually I do actual fasts frequently as well, I can easily do full multiple days. And on most days I dont even eat anything in the morning. I think its called intermittent fasting

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