Bob goes inside the Lean Cuisine culinary center with chef Amanda Hassner.

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Bob took some cameras into two companies whose products received the Best Life Diet seal of approval. His first stop was the top secret culinary center at the Lean Cuisine headquarters, where they keep a tight lid on new ideas.

The head of product development says a group of chefs work to come up with new possibilities for Lean Cuisine products. The new dishes go through months of testing before hitting the stores, but the consumers get the final say.

One of the chefs, Eric, created a ginger garlic stir fry with chicken, which he said had "bold flavors." The flavors might have been a little too bold for American families, who called to say it was too spicy. "So we brought it back in house, adjusted the heat level and sent it out again with passing grades," Eric says.

The team behind one of Lean Cuisine's most successful new products, the panini, had to solve a big problem. How do you take a cheesy sandwich from Italy, cut the fat, cut the salt, and still make it taste good?

The chefs started with the full-fat original, complete with butter, three cheeses, grilled spinach and mushrooms. To make it lean, they trim out some of the cheese and construct a spinach and mushroom sandwich with fewer than 300 calories. "The trick is to keep it healthy, but also have it taste great," Bob says.
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FROM: The Truth About Food with Dr. Oz and Bob Greene
Published on September 17, 2007

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