It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for our diets! With so many Christmas parties and holiday baked goods on the loose it’s difficult to stay focused and to not gain weight. So we’ve gathered some tips to help you manage this holiday season.

1. Use a small plate – you’ll eat more when you use a larger plate, so if you have the option to use a smaller plate (or even a napkin for finger foods) then opt for that.

2. Reprogram your mind about the meaning of social gatherings. Many times our gatherings are centered around food, but if you think about it…is that really the point? We consume so many unnecessary calories because we feel that eating is just what you do at those events, even if you aren’t hungry. If you aren’t hungry, it’s okay not to eat.

3. Don’t go to parties starving. Or to the grocery. It may seem like a good idea to deprive yourself throughout the day to “save up” your daily calorie allotment for a party, but you are significantly more likely to overeat if you show up starving.

4. Try drinking flavored seltzer water. It’s calorie free, and free from the potentially harmful chemicals found in diet soda. No, it doesn’t taste as good as sugar, but it’s good enough, and it will keep you occupied with something to drink while keeping you hydrated and away from extra empty calories.

5. Don’t keep holiday baked goods in the house. Just remove the temptation. If you are baking for an event, keep a small amount for yourself and give the rest away. Just know yourself and help yourself out. I know that my weakness is fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies…so I know not to put myself in a position where there’s a plate of 20 fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies sitting in front of me.

6. Make exercise a priority. We’re all very busy during the holiday season so exercise probably isn’t going to happen unless you have a plan. In the words of former Vice President Joe Biden: “No matter what you’re doing, you’ve got to make a plan.”

7. Consider if you actually really enjoy a specific food or not. I don’t know how many times I’ve eaten a stale Walmart cupcake just because it was someone’s birthday and cupcakes were being passed around. Was it worth it? No. So don’t eat things just because they are there or are a traditional holiday food. Save your calories for the foods you genuinely enjoy.

8. Eat a mint or chew gum when finished with your meal. This will get your mind on board that the meal is over, and it will give you some time for you to realize that you’re full. And not many foods taste very good when combined with mint, so that’s an added incentive to stop eating.

9. Get enough sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces more of the hormone that stimulates hunger, so you are more likely to overeat. Also, the later you stay up the more likely you are to sneak in an extra meal.

Have any other tips or tricks you use to stay healthy during the holidays? Let us know!