Holiday season is well underway. Calendars are filled to the brim with parties and get-togethers and holiday feasts loom large.

Think you need to duct tape your mouth shut to avoid holiday weight gain? Think again. Be smart about your eating so you can enjoy holiday treats without going overboard.

Here's how:

Know when you'll attend events that may challenge you, and be prepared for them. This means eating really healthfully leading up to the event (and afterward) and enjoying only those small treats that are really worth it.

Make sure you eat a healthy snack before a party so that you're not starving when they bring out the food. Good choices include yogurt and fruit or an apple with peanut butter. Something with a little protein will help keep you satisfied, and you won't be tempted to eat your way through the buffet.

Don't hover by the buffet table. Standing next to a large display of food makes it easier to eat mindlessly. Instead, allow yourself a couple of choices (using a small plate or napkin), then walk away.

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If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Have plenty of water so that you're not drinking that glass of wine to quench your thirst. My favorite drink is a glass of sparkling wine; the bubbles make it feel special. And it's easy to make the refill sparkling water instead of wine.

Don't forget the nibbles! Be mindful of what you're eating because bites here and there can really add up. Some good choices include shrimp cocktail, veggies and hummus, seared tuna, grilled chicken skewers and olives.

Understand that every time you eat, you're making a decision. So when you're tempted by Mom's famous eggnog or Aunt Betty's sausage stuffing, ask yourself: Do I really want to eat this, or do I want to reach my goal? As long as more often than not, the answer is "reach my goal," you'll be in good shape.

Enjoy those splurges that truly are once a year. I make brown sugar bacon every Christmas morning. It's something my family loves, and I do too. It'll go next to a big bowl of roasted fruit and a veggie-packed frittata. I'll savor every bite and look forward to the next time I'll have it, just about a year from now.

Offer to bring a healthier dish to someone's home. There will be plenty of unhealthy foods available, and everyone is grateful when there's something they don't have to feel bad about eating. Try a big fruit salad or a colorful display of cut veggies with store-bought hummus.

Lisa Corrado can be reached at or visit