Top 5 Guilt-Free Restaurants

When it comes to the weekend the first thing you want to do is relax and go eat with your friends, family or significant other. You immediately think about your diet. You mentally begin to cancel many restaurants out and are left with nowhere to go. Here is the thing — you do not have to do that each time you want to socialize.

Let me guide you to restaurants I have found over the years to be a healthier alternative to your usual burger spot or Italian restaurants. Yes, you still have to make sacrifices when you want to stick to your diet, but there are many restaurants out there that are good for you and you are still going to enjoy. Whether you are vegan or not, here are five guilt-free restaurants.

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Urban Plates serves delicious-nutritious food that you can enjoy guilt-free. Photo by me.

The first restaurant on the list is Urban Plates. A plate that includes grilled albacore, roasted rosemary potatoes, tomato mozzarella salad and complimentary rustic bread slice is 600 calories. Urban Plates serves balanced meals, which means each customizable plate you order includes a protein, a carb and a vegetable. You can order any protein from salmon to chicken breast to steak and fish. The same goes for carbohydrates and vegetables that are seasonal and change every few months.

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Tender Greens has a wide variety of food its menu, so it is easy to choose an amazing meal. Photo by me.

Next on the list is Tender Greens. A plate with salt and pepper chicken, sprouted rice and a complimentary small salad is approximately 580 calories. Like Urban Plates, the plates are also customizable balanced meals.

Fresh Griller serves wraps, bowls and salads filled with colorful ingredients to ensure you are eating your required intake of vegetables. For instance a steak wrap with no sauces is 350 calories. Most of the items on the menu are approximately below 600 calories, which is great when you are sticking to your diet.

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Café Gratitude accommodate food allergies. Simply let your server know your allergy.  Photo by me.

For those of you who are vegans or vegetarians, one of my favorite places to go is Café Gratitude. One bowl of Indian curry is 250 calories. Cafe Gratitude has a seasonal menu that ranges from bowls to wraps to salads to vegetable shots and natural smoothies.

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Veggie Grill serves vegan and vegetarian options. Photo by me. 

Another great vegan option is Veggie Grill. A quinoa veggie burger is 580 calories. The burger is filled with cilantro pesto, vegan mayonnaise, arugula and vegan cheese. Veggie Grill has healthy and unhealthy options, but the healthy options include healthy re-creations of buffalo wings, burgers and nachos.

You can stop worrying when it comes to eating out and enjoy your night out with your friends or on your dates.

 

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Five Thanksgiving Essentials

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Thanksgiving is the best day to share a homemade meal and spend quality time with your family and friends. Photo by my brother, Edgar Morales

Thanksgiving is approaching, which for some is filled with excitement because it is his or her cheat day, but for others is excitement mixed with stress. Why do I say stress? Well, some of you  experience stress because you have to cook a three-course meal. I understand your stress completely since I am in charge to cook thee Thanksgiving dinner, which is a lot of pressure.

To help you de-stress a bit this Thanksgiving, I am going to tell you the five essentials everyone needs for any holiday dinner. These essentials are budget friendly, make the cleaning process quicker and versatile.

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These silicone baking mats can be used to bake desserts, roast vegetables, make stuffing, pan-sized cakes and roasting meats. Photo by me.

This first item is my holy grail because anyone who knows me knows I hate the cleanup afterward. It takes too long and I am really tired, so baking mats are my best friend. I buy mine at Costco because they sell three for 10 dollars, which isn’t too expensive. However, if you do not have a membership with Costco you can also find these mats here.

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The thermometer is also great for other meats like thick cut of steak, lamb, chicken, pork and any other thick cut meats. Photo by me.

This next item is crucial to making the turkey. The thermometer. Yes, a thermometer is crucial to making the turkey, trust me because I had to learn this the hard way by serving raw turkey to my guests a couple of years ago. The thermometer will help you avoid that mistake because you insert the thermometer into the turkey, once the turkey reaches the required temperature, your turkey is done. This also prevents serving dry turkey to your guests. I bought this new set at Costco for $20. It may sound like a lot for a thermometer, but this set comes with three different thermometers with a different purpose, which makes the purchase worth the money. Again, here is an alternative.

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Baking sheets are essential because it prevents the turkey from slipping out of your hands and prevents your oven from getting dirty by the turkey drippings. Photo by me.

A baking sheet with a cooling rack is another essential because these two are used for practically everything. You can bake desserts, cook your turkey, bake macaroni and cheese, roast vegetables and cool your desserts on the cooling rack. The list is endless. The cooling rack is so important because it prevents the bottom of your desserts from getting soggy, which is something no one wants. I bought mine at Costco, what can I say, I am obsessed with Costco.

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A hand mixer is great for making cookies. Photo by me.

The fourth Thanksgiving essential is a hand mixer. A hand mixer will help you make corn bread, turkey marinade, cookie batter, banana bread, pie filling and mashed potatoes. The hand mixer is also a cheaper alternative to a stand mixer, and it does the job well. This is the priciest item on the list, but I think it is worth the splurge.

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Cheaper baking pans can be found at Costco, Marshalls, Target, TJ Maxx and Ross. Photo by me.

The final essential is baking pans whether you buy loaf pan or the circular cake pan, these are essentials because you can use these for everything. You can bake cakes, loafs of bread, casseroles, baked pastas, pies, ice cream cakes and lasagnas. These are very versatile that you can make anything you want.

Do not be stressed Thanksgiving day, instead enjoy the day because nothing is better than cooking a homemade meal for your family and friends.

Thanksgiving Don’ts

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Thanksgiving table filled with high-carb and cheesy goodness, but you should avoid to not ruin all your hard work. Photo by me.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means possible weight gain is right around the corner. The most testing times when you are on a diet is the holiday season, but there are tips to consider to avoid ruining your progress.

Even though portion control may help you stay on track, it is difficult when you are sitting at the table and see the warm buttermilk biscuits, baked macaroni and cheese and delicious homemade apple pie. Here are the top three things you should not eat to avoid gaining a pound.  

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Fresh biscuits right out of the oven can be hard to resist, but fill up your plate with vegetables to beat your temptation. Photo by me.

The fresh buttermilk biscuits are 212 calories per biscuit. If you eat one biscuit fresh out of the oven and another at the dinner table, you have eaten 424 calories.

The homemade macaroni and cheese is 461 calories per cup. This is one dish I highly recommend you to avoid because it is high in fats and carbs. A second serving is half of your required calories.

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One thing many cannot decline is dessert. One 1/8 slice of apple pie is approximately 296 calories, which in most cases we get double the serving size, so this high-carb dessert should also be avoided.

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One way to ensure you eat healthy Thanksgiving day is to make healthy side dishes like I did above. Photo by me.

This Thanksgiving ignore the high-carb food, make healthy choices and most important enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner because this day is all about family and friends.