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The Outback Steakhouse experience

Meat and potatoes. Potatoes and meat. If you want any combination of those two foods, you will find them at a steakhouse. Or, you could look no further than your local grocery store and have the mainstays of dining out made healthier because the steakhouse experience is easy to duplicate at home with less fat, salt, and sugar. You will pay far less and be able to cook healthier food by stocking your own kitchen with these essential mainstays of the steakhouse menu.

Skip the Extras

If you are familiar with any steakhouse, you probably notice the ever-present rolls they bring you when you are seated. While these rolls don't technically do too much damage to your wallet, your waistline is a whole different story. Unless you are running a marathon, skip the bread and save your appetite for the actual meal.

When you are cooking at home, you don't have to worry about the bread and rolls; don't make it or buy it and you can avoid it. Your healthy diet would also benefit from avoiding the pre-meal snacking that goes on during preparation. A nibble here, a nibble there, and before you know it, you have eaten a whole serving before you've even dished up your plate. Focus instead on cooking your meal, then dishing up the right size portions of your protein and veggies for a healthy meal that rivals any steakhouse.

Lay Off the Trans Fats

If you are cooking steakhouse-style meat and potatoes, you will want to tweak their style of cooking. Sure, it tastes great, but the recipes call for copious amounts of trans fats, like butter and lard. The best way to get the most flavor our of your meats and other foods is to keep it simple. Using some dry seasoning with a little canola oil will help the flavor soak in while keeping your meat unstuck from the grill or pan. If you want to add more flavor, try marinating your steaks in a home made balsamic vinaigrette for a few hours before cooking. And don't forget the garlic. Lots of flavor without any fat or sugar.

Choose Your Drinks Wisely

Of course, water is the best choice when it comes to choosing at a steakhouse or in your kitchen. But if you want to choose something other than water, you have a few options. Start with soda, for instance. As a rule of thumb, the more clear the soda, the better chance is has to be better for you. You may want to try some of the fruit or herb-infused carbonated beverages. You get the same fizzy comfort without all of the extra chemicals, sugar, and sometimes even salt.

If alcohol is on your menu, then red wine is normally your best choice. With the high levels of antioxidants and the lower calorie count compared to beer, liqueurs, or sweeter white wines, dry red wine comes out on top. Dry white wines are still a better choice than mixed drinks and beer when it comes to watching your calorie and carb intake. If you choose a mixed drink, use diet mixers in order to keep your calorie count to a minimum. The added sugar in the mixer with the sugar already in the liquor can quickly get away from you. Using a clear carbonated water like Perrier creates a healthier alternative to any syrupy mixer.

You are basically looking at a few ingredients; meat, potatoes, and a green. What could be simpler! For a healthier alternative to the restaurant variety of the steakhouse menu, be sure to skip the bread, choose your drinks wisely, and stay away from unhealthy fats. Opt for the natural flavors of the ingredients over artificially enhanced recipes. Not only will your dinner taste better, but it will be much healthier.

Prepare a golden mushroom steak to have a feeling of the steak house dining experience.