For many people, the holidays test their will to eat healthy. With tempting treats brought by relatives from the far-flung locales and the caloric minefield of work holiday party appetizers, coupled with a steady supply of booze, you can quickly find yourself going overboard. Here are some tips to stay in top shape as you navigate your year-end holiday gatherings.

Plan ahead

pexels-photo-302457.jpgThe first step to every holiday party is to take stock of your food and booze options and craft a plan of attack. Seek out what appears to be the healthiest option for appetizers. You generally can’t go wrong with a veggie tray, as long as you go light on the ever-present French onion dip. Look for bruschetta, a hearty salsa or even a bowl of mixed nuts. Those are all options that won’t break your calorie bank.

As for alcohol, there are some low-calorie ways to get you where you need to be to fully enjoy your gathering. Your lowest calorie option to loosen up is a utilitarian vodka club soda. While it could be spruced up with a flavored sparkling water, it isn’t the most flavorful drink you could choose. If you’re just down a for a drink to carry and sip, maybe an antioxidant-rich glass of red wine Is more your speed. While alcohol is generally considered empty calories, these drinks are a “healthier” alternative to a heavy glass of eggnog and brandy. And this should go without saying, but be sure to drink responsibly, so you don’t wind up wearing a lampshade on your head.

Pay attention to portion

Snacking at holiday parties can get away from you quickly, especially after a few drinks. In order to control your portion size, use the small plates that your host has laid out for you. That way you can get what you need and get away from the food, so as not to continue munching on crackers and crab dip like a hungry bear. Be mobile with your snacks, mingle with strangers and friends. In no time, your hunger pangs will feel like a thing of the past.

Don’t starve yourself

Another key to getting through these kinds of parties is to prepare beforehand. Eat a small snack before going to curb your appetite. Rolling to a party like you’re going to buffet is never the right move. A curbed appetite means that you can sample snacks that they are offering without gorging yourself, which is probably for the best.

pexels-photo-708392.jpgGet moving

These parties aren’t just about eating and drinking, or at least not entirely. If you feel the need to move around and burn off a couple of the extra chicken wings you ate, hit the dance floor. Cutting the rug, is an efficient and accepted way to get up and move at your holiday party. While it won’t be quite like the workout you’d get at a dance class, but it’s enough to keep your body moving while filled with delicious holiday treats.

In the end, holiday parties generally turn out to be more fun than one might expect. So, go forth and partake in the holiday cheer, because everything is better in moderation, including moderation.