Lisa Lillien was so sure the "diet" breakfast pastry she ate daily was too low-cal to be true that she sent it to a lab. The result? Twice the calories claimed on the label. Furious, the self-styled "foodologist" vowed to make her own healthy snacks and "share them with the world."

In 2004 Lillien launched Hungry-Girl.com, a free e-mail service with food news, diet tips and recipes. She now has a national following and a bestselling cookbook, Hungry Girl. Her approach seemingly works: Once 143 lbs., the 5'1" Lillien, 42, is down to 118 lbs. Working from the Encino, Calif., apartment she shares with TV-writer husband Dan Schneider, she makes minimeals of egg-white omelets and whips up baked onion rings coated with fiber cereal ("60 calories instead of 600!") and chocolate peanut butter fudge with pumpkin. "It's about guilt-free eating," she says, "but I won't sacrifice taste."

  • Contributors:
  • Vicki Sheff-Cahan/Los Angeles.