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The holidays are a time to get together with family and friends and enjoy foods you don’t necessarily eat during the rest of the year. For this reason, it is easy to over-stuff yourself with high-fat, high-calorie foods and then regret it the very next day.

If you are on a weight-loss diet and don’t want to feel guilty about overeating during the holidays, there are ways for you to enjoy your celebrations without overindulging.

The food choices you make and the portion sizes you choose can make a big difference between gorging yourself with food and just enjoying a satisfying meal. Here are tips to enjoy the holidays while sticking to your weight-loss diet.

Eat Regular Meals during the Day

Skipping meals plays havoc on your blood sugar levels and lowers your energy. Instead, eat a healthy breakfast and lunch. Try taking a walk or doing some other form of exercise after lunch to build up an appetite instead of skipping meals.

Be Careful Choosing Appetizers

Skip fried or high-fat meat appetizers and stick to the fresh vegetable tray instead before dinner. Appetizers will fill you up with unnecessary calories allowing you less calories to enjoy at dinnertime. One or two fresh vegetables will help take the edge off of your hunger without putting on the pounds.

Limit Alcohol Intake

Alcoholic beverages are generally high in sugar and calories that can add up fast. Try to limit yourself to one alcoholic beverage and stick to a low-calorie one or a glass of wine with dinner.

Choose Lean Meats

If a choice of meat is served, choose the leanest meats with your meal. Chicken, turkey, lean roast beef, or fish are your best choices. Shrimp is also a good choice if it is not fried. If ham or pork is served, only take a very small portion. Ham is usually high in fat, sugar and salt and not a good choice for a weight-loss diet.

Go Easy on the Side-Dishes

It’s tempting to want to try a little of everything but many of the traditional side-dishes served during the holidays are high in fat and sugar and will pack on the calories. Choose side dishes you don’t normally eat like the yams (yes, even if they are candied), stuffing and cranberry sauce and skip the ones you can eat anytime like the rolls, mashed potatoes or green bean casserole.

Even though these dishes are usually high in fat and calories, it will satisfy your cravings to have a small serving or each. If a vegetable is served that is not high in starch or covered in glaze, feel free to eat it too. Use the gravy sparingly- or not at all if you can avoid it. If you know you are going to want to eat dessert, only choose one or two side-dishes and save room, and calories, for dessert.

Choose Dessert Wisely

It’s hard to pass up dessert at a holiday meal or party, so indulge a little but choose wisely. Pumpkin pie is a good choice as long as you skip the whipped cream and ice cream. Fruit pies, like apple or blueberry, are good choices too.

Try to take only a small piece to appease your cravings and then stop there. Usually, there are many desserts, cookies and candies to choose from and it can be tempting. However, if you ate healthy portions at dinner, you should feel full enough to not want to eat too much dessert.

Try a bite or two of your favorite dessert and move away from the dessert table. Sticking to a weight-loss plan during the holidays is a challenge but you can do it.

Remind yourself every time you are tempted to overindulge that if you don’t eat that extra serving of stuffing or extra dessert now, you won’t have to try to lose those pounds later on. Enjoy the holidays, but do so in moderation and you will not only have a wonderful holiday season, but will feel good about yourself when the holidays are over.