Just when you thought you had your healthy eating habits under control, the holidays can roll around and place temptation right at your doorstep.  Holiday parties can span from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s Day and many parties in between.  The cookie spreads, candy bowls, and rich and creamy comfort foods can sabotage your weight loss efforts, unless of course you have a plan of action in place to minimize the “damage” holiday parties do to your waistline.

*Plan ahead: If you know a holiday party is coming up, plan ahead of what you will eat at the party.  If you don’t know specifically what foods will be at the party, then just tell yourself  “I will limit myself to two cookies or one small piece of cake as a treat at the party.”  Setting limits will help you gain more control over your temptations rather than strictly depriving yourself from all “unhealthy” foods.

*Stay on track outside of party time: Even if you set limits to how many treats you will allow yourself at holiday parties, it is important to stay on track outside of party time.  Stick to your fruits, veggies, lean proteins, low-fat dairy, and whole grains at meal and snack time, and work out for at least 30 minutes most days so that the holiday parties won’t offset your healthy lifestyle routine.

*Bring a healthy dish: To guarantee that there will be at least one healthy dish you can eat at the holiday parties you attend, offer to bring something to the party.  Bring a veggie or fruit tray, a low-fat treat, or a salad. You will be making a good gesture to your party host and to your health.

*Eat protein and veggies first: Protein and the fiber in fruits and veggies can keep us fuller longer. So stick to the mixed nuts, cheese cubes, fruit, veggies, and lean meats at holiday parties and dinners. Drink lots of water and calorie-free beverages to stay hydrated too.

* Eat ahead of time: About an hour before a holiday party or dinner, have a small, protein rich snack such as a low-fat yogurt or a handful of almonds along with a 16-ounce bottle of water to help stave off any hunger that might cause you to overeat at the holiday party.

*Stand away from the food and drink table:  When you are at a holiday party be sure to place yourself away from the food and drink table.  The farther you are from tempting foods, the less likely you will keep refilling your plate for more.