by Chef Pablo

I promised my eight year old little girl a nice treat today for having reached some goals we had set. She wanted to go to McDonalds and I was happy to take her. I’ve been working very hard to get into shape and have recently lost over 20 lbs. So, I was planning on eating some healthy from home.

About three months ago, I would find myself at lunch in a fast food drive through at least a couple of times a week. I would order a Big Mac or even a Double Quarter Pounder if I was exceptionally hungry. Sure, I still crave those fries when I drive by and get a good whiff, but now I can control my urges. But why can’t I have these items at home using healthy alternatives?

What if I made that exact same burger at home, but I substituted some healthy alternatives? I’ve been doing up top secret recipes for quite some time and I always try to duplicate exactly what the restaurants make. What if I reduced the cream in Outback Steakhouse’s Walkabout Soup? What if I replaced the Italian sausage in Olive Gardens Zuppa Toscana Soup with turkey sausage? Could I make it into something healthy?

Of course, I know it’s probably not going to taste EXACTLY the same, but I’m willing to sacrifice a little to save on the scale each morning. I also know Splenda isn’t a duplicate for sugar and low fat cheese doesn’t always melt exactly the same way regular cheese does, but that’s OK.

I’ve put together a list of things you can do to change up your favorite restaurant recipes to help them fit into a healthier lifestyle.

Reduced Fat Options – Everything from milk to cheese and even salad dressings come in low or no fat versions. Even eggs are offered with little to know fat now.

Giving Thanks For Turkey – The other day I actually bought some turkey bacon. That is a HUGE stretch for a bacon aficionado like myself. It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t real bacon but it wasn’t bad either. Try finding a turkey substitute for your favorite high fat meats.

Spray, Don’t Pour, Your Oil – Spray on oil isn’t lower in fat pound for pound, but you are able to use a lot less when you spray it on. Experiment a little bit with it and you’ll find some new creative ways to use it. I was just telling a friend how to make chimichanga’s in the oven instead of deep fried. Just spray them with oil and bake until crispy.

Sugar Busting – Sugar is everywhere these days. But, you can fight the battle and win. When you’re favorite restaurant recipe calls for sugar, measure out some Splenda instead. I’ve done this with so many recipes and the results have been fantastic.

Low fat cheese on the top of your copy cat Pizza Hut pizza isn’t going to taste exactly the same. It’s not. But, if staying in shape is important to you, it’s worth a few minor modifications. If you follow the rest of the recipe correctly, you’ll end up with a good substitute.

If you’re looking to do some experimenting, head over to my restaurant recipes website and find something you’ve been craving lately. I think you’ll find the healthy version meets the demands of your taste buds for the most part.

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