Editor’s note: The following article is written by a Skinny Mom Resident Mom. The Resident Mom program gives a voice to our readers, allowing moms across the world to contribute content to Skinny Mom. If you’re interested in becoming a Resident Mom, click here to apply.

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Although it is filled with fun, cheer and laughter, the holiday season can also mean lots of stress. Combine it with the rich indulgences of holiday parties and you have got yourself a recipe for a health disaster.

couples at a dinner party

You can avoid a total holiday health fail if you have a plan in place. Prepare yourself with a few of these simple tools.

1. Plan ahead. When you know you have a party to go to, do you “save up” for eating at the party by skipping meals? Bad idea. On the contrary, you should eat regularly and even have a snack or light meal BEFORE heading over to the party. That way, you are not famished when you arrive.  

>> Snack on this Skinny Fruit Salad! It tastes just as good as dessert.

Skinny Fruit Salad

2. Dress for success. Pick an outfit that is snug and form fitting. Leave the elastic waistband eating pants at home! If you are dressed for success, you will have a reminder squeezing your waistline while you are at the event, keeping you mindful of how much and what you are eating.

3. Scope the scene: Since you were smart and had a snack before arriving, grab a drink and assess the situation. Wait a full 30 minutes before eating anything. Be strategic and plan your “attack.” Decide which must-have items are worth it.

>> If you’re planning on bringing a dish to the party, whip up these Skinny Eggnog Cupcakes!

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4. Keep the dominant hand busy. It may sound strange, but that dominant hand (the one you write with and grab food with!) can be kept at bay by simply holding your drink with it. That way, you are less likely to graze.

>> Read more: Staying Healthy During the Holidays Starts With H2O

5. Be a food snob. You scoped the scene and took your time before approaching the food table. When you get there, be a complete snob about it (internally, of course!). Be picky. You do not have to sample everything. You have pre-selected your must-have items, so stick with those.

6. Limit the variety. Select only two items at a time. If you have more than two must-have items, go back later. If you keep only a couple items on your plate at a time, you have a better chance at controlling what you are eating and how much.

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7. Portion control: Do not deprive yourself of enjoyment. Think about the size of your two hands cupped; that’s about how much food you want in your stomach at any one time. Keep the must-have items at small portions. If you want seconds of a particular food, wait 15 minutes to see if you are truly still hungry.

>> Read more: Road Ready: 10 Recipes to Take to All Your Holiday Parties

8. You do NOT have to clean your plate. You are a grown-up now. You do not have to eat things that do not agree with you. Toss it if you don’t like it! Don’t waste the calories on something you don’t like just for show.

9. Alcohol – less is more. A cocktail can be one way to take the edge off of rubbing elbows with the president of your company or those annoying distant relatives. But, beware; too much too quickly can get you into trouble. You may say a lot more than you intended to say to the wrong person and will live to regret it later. Or worse, you may eat a lot more than you intended to eat. Try alternating an alcoholic beverage with a club soda and lime. Let the bartender know at the beginning of the night that this is your plan so he can keep them coming in that order!

10. Set a New Year’s goal. Set some specific goals. Through the holidays, you might want to have a date set to begin your new fitness routine. Hire your trainer before New Year’s hits, so that you know you are set and ready to go.

>> Read more: Simple Stretches to Relieve Holiday Stresses

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!