To eat the pie, or not eat the pie — that is the question. Just because you’re watching your weight doesn’t mean you have to miss out on holiday favorites like pumpkin pie and eggnog. But there is a right way and a wrong way to indulge over the holidays if you want to stave off packing on some extra pounds.

Fortunately, balancing your healthy lifestyle and indulging in holiday treats might be a whole lot easier than you think. Follow these five tips at your holiday gatherings to enjoy the best of both worlds.

1. Indulge in Smaller Portions

If you want to try the pie, try the pie! But there’s a caveat — slowly enjoy a modest slice (about the size of a lightbulb) rather than quickly scarfing down an oversized slice. The same goes for other fattening foods, like stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy.

To give you an idea of a proper portion size for these foods, think of them in terms of these items:

  • 1 serving of stuffing = 1 ice cream scoop
  • 1 serving of mashed potatoes = the size of a computer mouse
  • 1 serving of gravy = the size of a golf ball

Keeping track of your portions is especially important if you’ll be sitting down to more than one holiday meal in a day. It can be helpful to use a food journal app to keep track of how much you’re really eating.

2. Start with a Salad

Don’t skip over the fruits and veggies to get right to the good stuff. Fill up on fibrous veggies before your meal to help you keep those portions of stuffing and mashed potatoes on the small side, while still feeling satisfied.

If you’re not sure what might be on the menu at a party or gathering, consider snacking on some vegetables before you go to ensure you won’t feel ravenously hungry and throw your healthy eating plan out the window when you arrive.

3. Stay Hydrated

Drinking water in between meals will help you to feel fuller longer and can be a great stand-in for a snack if you start feeling hungry. We often confuse feelings of thirst for hunger, so making sure you’re hydrated can help you to keep snacking to a minimum.

Drinking enough water throughout the day also offsets dehydration caused by alcohol consumption. While on the subject, if you are going to indulge in an adult beverage over the holidays, dry red wine is one of the healthiest choices, followed by dry champagne.

4. Wear Your Favorite Outfit

When you look good, you feel good. Wearing your favorite outfit will not only give you a confidence boost, but it can actually help you to stay mindful of your healthy eating goals while at holiday gatherings.

On the flip side, wearing your comfiest, stretchiest pants to the dinner table could spell disaster for your dieting efforts, since you won’t be reminded by your waistband when you’ve over-indulged.

5. Send Leftovers Home with Friends & Family

Not only is it a nice gesture to send your guests home with a doggie bag of holiday goodies, but it’ll also help you avoid eating turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie for three days straight. After all, if it’s not in your fridge, you can’t eat it!

On the other hand, if you’re offered a goodie bag by your host, you can politely decline by letting him or her know that, while the food was delicious, you’re watching your weight.

If you’re watching your weight over the holidays to prep for a body contouring treatment come January, book your consultation now to be even more motivated to reach your fitness goals!