Thursday, May 29, 2008

Zoinks, Scooby!

Wow! I mean, I figured restaurants probably underestimated the calorie and fat counts on their "guilt-free" menus a bit. But I had no idea it was to this extent.

Have y'all heard about this new study?
Egads. Apparently reporters from a group of Scripps TV stations took a sampling of diet menu items from chain restaurants including Applebee's, Macaroni Grill, Chili's, Taco Bell and Cheesecake Factory. Lab technicians then tested a total of 23 items, finding that 78 percent had higher fat content than listed on the menu and almost 69 percent exceeded the calorie count listed.

For example, Macaroni Grill’s "Skinny Chicken" was listed at 500 calories. Test results, however, showed it was about 1,022 calories. And while the fat grams per serving are listed at six, technicians discovered it was actually 49 grams of fat. FORTY-NINE!!! Gulp.

Granted, not all of the cases were so severe, but it certainly is a wakeup call to calorie-counters out there, particularly those who rely on these menus for say, their daily food tracking points?

Anyhoo, to help ease the pain, I've dug up a few recipes - many utilizing sucralose - that are designed to replace those not-so-guilt-free restaurant meals. While not a perfect match, the lower calories should help put a smile back on your face.

1. Instead of the On the Border Mexican Grill chicken fajitas, which clock in at 654 calories and 26.5 grams of fat, check out Hungry Girl's
Fajitas Fantastico. They only have 320 calories and 8.5g of fat.

2. Ditch the 641 calorie, nearly 50g fat Pear & Endive Salad from Cheesecake Factory for this 7g fat, 130 calorie Orange-Almond Salad.

3. Macaroni Grill's Simple Salmon dish sports 555 calories and more than 35 grams of fat. Check out this 360 calorie Grilled Glazed Salmon, which also features 10 grams less fat.


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