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The Best Local Eats for Your Holiday Hustle

It’s the time of year when our to-do lists seem endlessly long.  As a result, grocery shopping and meal preparation end up on the chopping block.  Your first line of defense during this stressful season could be a quick appointment with your provider at Lifestyle Medical Center; we have plenty of strategies to help you succeed!  For those times when you feel you just have no other choice, it’s worth noting that we live in an area where better-for-you options are available.  Check out the following “nice list” of restaurants in the Triangle hand-picked by a few of our Registered Dietitians.  Whether you need a quick-stop option for the whole family or are arranging a social night out, there are options at each of these establishments that won’t leave you feeling naughty.

RALEIGH & CARY

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  1. b.good is a leaner (and greener) alternative to traditional fast food. Order your a lean protein over veggies instead of a bun.
  2. Try Neomande or Sassool for a quick-fix meal to serve the family. The authentic Mediterranean offerings include vegetable and whole-grain based dishes that you can order by-the-pound to assemble at home.
  3. Order lunch online from Happy + Hale. Build your own salad with a variety of veggies. (also in Durham)
  4. Have your special holiday dinner at Irregardless Cafe & Catering. Meals are sourced from their own community garden! 
  5. Tazza Kitchen is a great spot for a meal with friends. Order a few items for the table to share to control portions; brick-oven veggies are particularly delicious.
  6. MOD Pizza offers thin crust, personalized pizzas for a healthier pizza night.  Choose the “Mini Mod” size and load it with vegetables.

DURHAM & CHAPEL HILL

  1. Build a wholesome lunch or dinner from the hot bar or salad bar at Weaver Street Market.  As with any buffet, be sure to fill up half of your plate with veggies first. 
  2. Enjoy a casual breakfast at The Refectory Café. Eggs and avocado on whole grain toast is a heart-healthy swap for that sausage biscuit!  Nutrient-dense brunch, lunch and dinner menus are also offered.
  3. Med (Mediterranean) Deli is yet another great spot to access delicious and nutritious middle eastern foods for fast-casual dining or to take home.
  4. Lunch at NOSH comes with a side of veggie slaw or cous cous as a refreshing alternative to chips and fries.  Choosing the half salad, half sandwich option won’t leave you feeling stuffed.
  5. Luna Rotissserie and Empanadas offers a nice alternative to the traditional “meat and three.”  Rotisserie chicken with a side of roasted kale and quinoa makes for a balanced meal.

Bonus: all of these restaurants offer menu items that are vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free friendly.

No matter where you end up, remember:  there are always steps you can take to keep your choices nutritionally sound when dining out.  Skip the caloric beverages, hold the creamy dressings, load up on vegetables and set aside half the portion in a to-go box.  You can become savvy at these and many other new habits by working with one of the providers at Lifestyle Medical Centers!

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