“The holidays” is often synonymous with “inevitable weight gain,” but it doesn’t have to be. Indulge in that slice of pecan pie or a plate of festively decorated cookies, but balance it all out with healthy decisions, both at home and when dining out. From a coastal Spanish spot to one of the poke trend’s brightest stars, here are five restaurants that make lighter eating actually enjoyable. And for a little extra inspiration, get the scoop on how six local chefs are trying to stay healthy this holiday season, too.
Drawing on California and Mediterranean influences, Lettuce Entertain You’s fresh concept helmed by former Intro chef-in-residence CJ Jacobson is an easy option for healthful dining that sacrifices nothing in the way of flavor. Dishes like the vibrant tuna crudo, seasonal pumpkin hummus, local basmati and beluga lentil salad, and grilled chicken kebabs with sweet peppers, yogurt marinade, and zhoug make for indulgent meals, sans guilt. 74 W. Illinois St., 312-527-5586
This all-day café has the answer to all your disciplined eating needs. Sip a power greens juice (kale, romaine, celery, pineapple, and mint) with quinoa cakes and poached eggs for breakfast, an “enlightened” Caesar salad tossed with a Greek yogurt-based dressing for lunch, and pan-roasted Chilean sea bass with Tuscan kale, freekeh, fresno chilis, and miso broth for dinner. 519 N. Clark St., 312-284-1377; 671 N. St. Clair, 312-642-0001