In a nutshell, 2017 could easily be compared to a good weekend night outing, followed by a massive, eternal hangover that refused to go away, no matter how much water and Aspirin you fed it. But now, we are just three days into the new year, feeling brand spanking new, and determined to maintain that welcomed feeling you get when waking up on a Sunday morning, refreshed and ready to conquer the world. BUH-BYE 2017!

Just like you promise yourself on “those” mornings, “I am never going to drink again” and “My diet starts on Monday,” you (like the other 7 billion people) have probably made New Year’s Resolutions so as to keep feeling healthy and dandy. Now, while we are in no capacity, whatsoever, health experts, there are a few tidbits that we picked up along the way last year that can help you stay on track with your goals and provide some memorable times in 2018.

Don’t Limit Yourself

This may sound counterintuitive, but limiting yourself can ultimately be a bigger harm than help. If you really want something delicious, high calorie or not, go for it. Indulge a little. Life’s too short to be saying no to yumminess. Can’t decide between two items on the menu? Ask for both! We both did this plenty of times, especially when it came to appetizers like Roosevelt’s @ 7’s spinach dip and calamari. Plus, if you can’t finish everything, you can always take it home! Your tummy and your wallet will thank you later.

So Fresh, So Clean

A key part to truly eating healthy is eating things that are fresh and steering clear of processed foods. It’s common knowledge, the more processed your food is, the more time it takes to break it down. You can find some of the freshest and latest fruits and vegetables in season at your local Farmers Markets (there are many popping out throughout the RGV). If you don’t really feel like cooking, try House Wine & Bistro or its sister restaurant SALT-New American Table. Chef Larry’s farm to table dishes, besides always being fresh, are always a treat.

Dance It Off

While we may be not be Meredith Grey and Cristina Yang shaking it out on the small screen, we have found out that dancing “it” off can really help bring in clarity and help you maintain your weight (or at least believe that, LoL). There were numerous evenings last year of over the top, fine dining in which we felt no remorse because we knew we would be shaking our tail feather by the end of the night. You should be able to easily reach an extra four to six thousand steps during a night dancing to Single Barrel at The Flying Walrus.

Don’t Be Afraid to Explore

Some of our best memories were made during the times we visited off the chart locations. Don’t be scared to try the hole in the wall or a part of town that you’re not familiar with (just remember, safety first). 9 times out of 10, you’ll be welcomed and treated like royalty. Some of the best service and “bang for your buck” was during our visit to Danny’s Bar & Grill in Edinburg. The combination of no windows, mozzarella sticks and wings, margaritas, photos of regulars on the walls and Danny himself, made for a memorable afternoon.

Expensive Does Not Mean Quality

Dropping serious cash at a place is not directly correlated with having a great experience. Sometimes less is more. Remember, your overall experience relies on food quality, customer service, ambience, and of course, the company you are breaking bread with. Whether you are having a barbacoa taco or beef tartare, always be open to exploration and good-hearted fun.

Pizza Will Always Be the Solution

If you’re ever at a loss and can’t decide what to eat, remember, pizza is always the best solution. Little known fact, pizza is in its own food group-or at least for us at Dishin’ It it is. There’s nothing that a good piece of dough, tomato sauce, cheese and your choice of toppings can’t fix (or at minimum, help you forget about it for a while). One of our favorite pizza (and Italian) places this year was definitely Il Forno a Legna. Made with fresh ingredients and all from scratch, these brick oven pies are sure to make you smile!

Brunch is the Most Important Meal of the Week

You’ve read of our extensive love for and obsession with brunch! Brunch is an essential part of the week where you meet with your “Framily” in order to mentally prepare for the upcoming week and reflect on the shenanigans of the previous one all while sipping on mimosas or Bloody Marias from Bodega Tavern & Kitchen or Suerte Bar & Grill’s Big Red Margaritas.

For more Dishin’ It adventures, make sure to follow us on our social media platforms (FB and Instagram) @dishinit, or pick up your weekly paper to learn more about the fantastic options our Rio Grande Valley is serving up. Peace, love and prosperity in 2018!

Gaby Jones and Trisha Watts work hand-in-hand with the service industry. Jones is in charge of craft and imported beer for L&F Distributors and Watts is the communications director for Visit McAllen. Each week they will have a new adventure and provide an opinion on various locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley.