1. Start Snacking Before the Party
"Before I go to holiday functions, I eat a piece of low-fat cheese, a handful of carrots and celery, or a small bowl of high-fiber cereal with skim milk. It takes the edge off your appetite and you’re less tempted to gorge." — Jennifer Lovejoy, Ph.D., vice president, clinical development and support at Free & Clear, a company specializing in web-based learning and phone-based cognitive behavioral coaching to improve health
2. Remember, Small is Beautiful
"While I don’t deprive myself of foods I enjoy, I stick to small portions; my visual guide is two cupped hands—that’s the amount of food you want your stomach to hold." — Jennifer Lovejoy, Ph.D.
3. Go Easy on Alcohol
"Wine and Champagne quickly rack up calories. So I make my own wine cooler, adding two-thirds seltzer or mineral water to one-third wine. It cuts calories and still lets you enjoy a celebratory drink." — Jennifer Lovejoy, Ph.D.
4. Beware the Buffet
"I take big portions of vegetables and small amounts of starchy foods like pasta, potatoes, and bread. And I have just a taste of dessert. At a buffet, I keep portions small by making sure I can see the plate underneath." — Penny Gordon-Larsen, Ph.D., associate professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
5. Focus on the Food
"Mindful eating is my key to preventing weight gain. I take time to savor my food. And I always wait 15 minutes to see if I really want seconds." — Penny Gordon-Larsen, Ph.D.
6. Head for the Healthy Hors d'Oeuvres
"Even small bites of some holiday foods pack a lot of calories, like hors d’oeuvres in pastry shells or phyllo. I skip these and graze on raw vegetables and dip." — Aviva Must, Ph.D., professor and chair of the department of Public Health & Community Medicine at the Tufts University School of Medicine
7. You Don't Have to Clean Your Plate!
"I take only what I really want, and if I don’t like it, I don’t finish it. It’s a waste to consume calories you don’t enjoy." — Aviva Must, Ph.D.
8. Keep Working Out!
All three of the doctors we talked to say they exercise 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week during the holidays.
Keep Reading: How to use "assertive dieting" techniques to steer clear of the holiday spread