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America's Most Wanted Recipes Without the Guilt: Cut the Calories, Keep the Taste of Your Favorite Restaurant Dishes (America's Most Wanted Recipes Series) Paperback – September 6, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: America's Most Wanted Recipes Series
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; Original edition (September 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451623313
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451623314
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ron Douglas is the New York Times bestselling author of the America’s Most Wanted Recipes series, which includes, most recently, America’s Most Wanted Recipes Just Desserts. He is a former finance director at JP Morgan and founder of the #1 copycat recipe website, RecipeSecrets.net. He lives in New York with his wife and two children.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

PREFACE

The America’s Most Wanted Recipes cookbook series has become well known for providing accurate copycat recipes of your favorite restaurant dishes. People really love having the option of saving money by re-creating restaurant-quality meals at home whenever they want—so much so that we’ve developed a huge following, with more than 1 million books in print and over 1.9 million monthly views of our Web site, RecipeSecrets.net.

Now, in America’s Most Wanted Recipes Without the Guilt, we’ve focused on providing reduced-calorie versions with the same great taste that you’ll find at the most popular restaurants in the country. Yes, you can enjoy your favorite foods without the guilt!

America’s Most Wanted Recipes Without the Guilt was inspired by my childhood friend and neighbor Troy “Escalade” Jackson, who passed away in his sleep in February 2011 at age thirty-five. Troy was a legendary athlete from Queens, New York, and had thousands of adoring fans and friends. He was a class act and will truly be missed.

In the wake of my friend’s sudden passing, I decided to make America’s Most Wanted Recipes Without the Guilt more than just a cookbook. I felt an obligation to use the success of my cookbooks as a platform for educating readers on how to eat more healthfully as a better way of life instead of as just a temporary diet.

We’ve enlisted the help of licensed, registered dietitian Mary M. Franz to provide nutritional details and healthy tips throughout this cookbook. We’ve also worked with Mary to provide you with a comprehensive health and nutrition guide, located at the back of this book.

For each recipe in America’s Most Wanted RecipesWithout the Guilt, we’ve included simple ways to make your favorite restaurant meals healthier, along with the number of calories saved by doing so. We hope that our examples help readers learn how to choose healthier options in their everyday meal planning.

THE OBESITY EPIDEMIC

It is no secret that Americans are getting heavier. Chances are good that you know someone who is struggling to lose weight, or maybe you are battling your own weight problem. If so, you know how incredibly difficult it can be to lose even a few pounds. And maybe, like many others, you have just given up and resigned yourself to living with your excess weight.

The facts are stunning. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 34 percent of American adults are either overweight or obese, and 6 percent are classified as “extremely obese.” In addition, nearly 20 percent of American kids aged two to seventeen are now obese. Childhood obesity is of special concern because it often leads to poor health very early in life. For example, over half of obese kids have at least one risk factor for heart disease, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol. In addition, children who are obese tend to be obese as adults.

People who are obese experience many negative effects on their health and well-being. In addition to having less energy and a poor self-image, obese individuals have higher rates of serious health problems, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and some kinds of cancers, and experience physical ailments such as arthritis and back pain.

Reasons for Obesity

Why are we so heavy? There are many reasons for the explosion in the rate of obesity, but two of the main ones are an inactive lifestyle and poor eating habits. The past century saw a dramatic drop in the amount of exercise we get. Many jobs are now sedentary, in contrast to the active physical work such as farming that once employed most people. In addition, driving has replaced walking for nearly all of our errands and activities, so far fewer of the calories we consume are being burned. As for kids, cuts in school athletic programs, less outdoor play, and increased television-watching and video game use are to blame.

Our poor eating habits are just as troubling.

Skipping meals: Busy schedules and long commutes cause about 40 percent of Americans to skip breakfast; in addition, about one-third of people trying to lose weight skip meals regularly. However, missing meals, particularly breakfast, has been shown to lead to overeating later in the day, especially of high-calorie foods such as sweets and salty snacks.

Bigger portion sizes: If you eat out in restaurants, you have probably noticed that the amount of food on your plate is increasing. Your eyes are not deceiving you! Over the past twenty years, restaurant portions have doubled and tripled in size, resulting in hundreds, if not thousands, of extra calories. This so-called portion distortion (discussed later on) is thought to be one of the main drivers behind the obesity epidemic.

Eating more “empty-calorie foods”: Empty-calorie foods are processed foods that contain large amounts of calories, fat, sugar, and salt, but little nutritional value. You know what they are: chips, cookies, cake, pie, fries, candy, soda, and doughnuts. Because these calorically loaded foods are now available on nearly every corner (from convenience stores, franchise coffee shops, and vending machines), we have the opportunity to eat more and more of them—and we do.

Not enough fruits and vegetables: Because fruits and vegetables are naturally low in calories and high in fiber, they fill us up and can help us lose or maintain weight. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 recommends eating 2 cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables each day (about nine servings all together). However, less than 30 percent of Americans meet this goal.

Restaurant dining: Another possible reason for the increase in overweight and obesity is the number and types of meals eaten away from home. About 25 percent of Americans now eat fast food at least once a week, and many families have replaced dinners at home with take-out food or meals eaten at sit-down restaurants.

Although quick, convenient, and tasty, restaurant food tends to be high in calories, fat, sugar, and sodium. An average meal consisting of a cheeseburger, medium fries, and a medium soda in a fast-food restaurant comes in at around 1,100 calories, 50 grams of fat, and 1,300 mg of sodium, while a steak dinner with an appetizer and dessert at a popular restaurant chain can rack up 2,000 calories, over 100 grams of fat, and 4,000 mg of sodium. Such numbers are surprising even to veteran nutritionists, including Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University, who finds the sky-high calorie counts in restaurant foods to be “astonishing.” “For someone like me who thinks that she knows about these things, I’m stunned by the number of calories in fast foods. I had no idea.”

Why is restaurant food so fattening? The answer lies in the cooking methods as well as the ingredients that are used: butter, fats, oils, cream, cheese, heavy sauces, and sugar and other kinds of sweeteners.

One of the biggest culprits in boosting the calories in restaurant meals is fat, particularly butter, shortening, and frying fats, which contain high levels of saturated and trans fats. Because fat is a “flavor carrier” (meaning it enhances the taste and other sensory qualities of food), restaurant chefs often add it in large amounts to provide customers with the delicious dining experience they are seeking. Consider this: Nearly half of the fat in the aforementioned steak dinner is added during cooking, building in hundreds of extra calories.

Of course, fat is not the only culinary demon here. Soft drinks, shakes, and desserts are often loaded with sugar. A large fast-food shake may contain 145 grams (36 teaspoons) of sugar, pushing the calorie count to 1,100!

Fortunately, a new federal law now requires restaurants with twenty or more locations to post calorie counts for all of their menu items. This legislation was designed to help consumers make informed choices about what they are eating when dining out. Although many restaurant chains provide this information on their Web sites, they must now list calorie counts right on their menus. However, it may take many restaurants some time (perhaps a few years) to get up to speed with this new law.

PORTION DISTORTION

Americans like big things, and our restaurant meals are no exception. Throughout the past twenty years, restaurant portions have doubled and even tripled, leading to sky-high calorie counts for many restaurant dishes. And although many of us have come to accept these enormous portions as normal, the truth is that a typical restaurant meal often provides enough food for two or three people. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has coined a term for this phenomenon: portion distortion.
COMPARISON OF PORTIONS AND CALORIES 20 YEARS AGO TO PRESENT DAY FOOD 2O YEARS AGO PORTION CALORIES Bagel 3-inch diameter 140 Cheeseburger 1 333 Spaghetti with meatballs 1 cup sauce3 small meatballs 500 Soda 6.5 ounces 82 Blueberry muffin 1.5 ounces 210 Source: www.nhlbi.nih.gov. COMPARISON OF PORTIONS AND CALORIES 20 YEARS AGO TO PRESENT DAY FOOD TODAY PORTION CALORIES Bagel 6-inch diameter 350 Cheeseburger 1 590 Spaghetti with meatballs 2 cups sauce 3 large meatballs 1,020 Soda 20 ounces 250 Blueberry muffin 5 ounces 500 Source: www.nhlbi.nih.gov.
Our dinner plates have also increased in size, from 9-inch diameter to 12-inch diameter since 1960; and many restaurant plates are even larger than that. It’s a no-brainer: Bigger plates mean more food—as much as 30 percent more than half a century ago—and with it, more calories. Unless we burn those excess calories off, we will store them as fat.

Here’s what you can do to...

More About the Author

Ron Douglas is a former finance director at JP Morgan and founder of the #1 copycat recipe website. He lives in New York with his wife and two children.

Customer Reviews

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Well researched and well written and presented.
A R Holt
So if you enjoy some of the tasty dishes when you eat out and you would like to make them but at a huge savings of fat and calories this would be for you.
wogan
The book : America's Most Wanted Recipes was in very good shape and I am extremely happy with my purchase.
Debbie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By wogan TOP 100 REVIEWER on November 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
`America's Most Wanted Recipes' is a collection of recipes that are popular in many of the fast food/sit down restaurants - except the recipes in these pages are way lower in calories and the ones we have tried have been pretty good. Admittedly we in most cases have not tried the original in the restaurant, since I would rather cook at home, and do not eat out that often. They are probably better with full cream instead of fat free; but when you save, many times hundreds of calories a serving, it's definitely worth it, especially health wise.

There are very good segments in the beginning about the obesity epidemic and especially telling is a comparison of portion size and calories of today and 20 years ago, how to navigate the restaurant world - to make it a healthier experience, and the benefits of cooking at home. Restaurants included range from Applebee's to White Barn Inn Restaurant. Pages at the end of the book give the restaurant web sites and an index. Recipes are given by restaurant in alphabetical order. There are no pictures of the finished dishes. Nutritional information per serving is given along with the caloric savings and how the dish is healthier and lower in calories.

The number of calories saved per portion is amazing. In the recipes we have tried it has really added up: Oreo cheesecake saves 497 calories per serving and was very good, now if you put the original Cheesecake Factory cake beside it you would say it is richer and tastier, but the one with far less calories is also good.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By goldgodess on May 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have the original Americas Most Wanted Recipes. The book caught my eye with the lower salt/sugar exchange without compromising the flavor. The only negative is there is no pictures. So far tried 2 recipes and prefer the lower fat to original copycat recipe. Easy and fun book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By river on February 13, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are some great recipes in this book and cutting unwanted calories is a plus. I have prepared several of these recipes and I am glad I purchased this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J Francis on March 19, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
HIs modifications of his original recipes are really not all that tempting. I don't think this book will be useful. Mostly, I guess, I'll have to bypass the copycat recipes and stick with simpler, more healthful cooking.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Hillm22 on May 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There are a lot of excellent diet cookbooks out there. This isn't one of them. Here you have a collection of restaurant recipes with the sugar and fat replaced with sweet-n-low packets and "diet margarine". I'm sure that the base recipes are fine, but the "healthy" changes reflect the author's lack of experience in the area.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Valmg on January 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
The book is broken down into sections, included alphabetically. The restaurants include Applebee's, Bahama Breeze, Bennigan's, Boston Market, Buca Di Beppo, California Pizza Kitchen, Carrabba's Italian Grill, The Cheesecake Factory, Chi-Chi's, Chili's, Cracker Barrel, Daniel, Dave and Buster's, Famous Dave's, Golden Corral, Hard Rock Cafe, Hardee's, Houston's, IHOP, The ivy, Joe's Crab Shack, KFC, Luby's Cafeteria, Macaroni Grill, Nobu, O'Charley's, The Old Spaghetti Factory, Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse, Panda Express, panera Bread, PF Chang's China Bistro, Planet Hollywood, Rainforest Cafe, Red Lobster, Red Robin, Ruby Tuesday, Sbarro, Shoney's, Steak and Ale, Texas Roadhouse, TGI Friday's, Union Pacific, Uno Chicago Grill, and White Barn Inn Restaurant. I have never been to many of these restaurants, and I've not had most of the dishes included for the ones that I have been to, so I can't say how close most of these recipes are as far as taste. I have had Panera Bread's Broccoli Cheese Soup and made the version in this cookbook. It wasn't quite as good as the Panera Bread soup but it was good. There are a number of recipes I'm looking forward to trying. Recipes included all seem to call for ordinary ingredients. Sadly, there are no photos at all, and also mention of prep and cooking time, things that I feel no cookbook is complete without. The cookbook would be ideal for folks that like to eat out often, so they can have fun trying to recreate their favorite dishes.
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A great book ,tho I haven't had time to make any thing in it yet but will, have looked thur the pages and they look so good, can't wait to try some recipes ,His books are really good, I have several & have made many recipes & they are so good You must try his books ,you won't be sorry. That good. I even get his copycat recipes about twice on my e-mail , you just sign up for it ,but the books are big and so many copycat recipes in them . thanks Joyce Lehman
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