Image courtesy of Women's Health

When your social schedule begins to expand during the holidays, so does your waistline. "Most people attend tons of festive events--and nearly all of them center around fattening food," says Michelle May, M.D., author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat. Add seasonal stress and zero time to cook or hit the gym, and you have a recipe for holiday weight gain. Well, not this year. Here's a plan for dodging diet pitfalls--everything from thousand-calorie eggnog lattes at the mall food court to button-popping family dinners.

At the Office Holiday Party...

The danger: An open bar and endless platters of spring rolls and pigs in a blanket

The detour:

STEP 1: KEEP MOVING. If you're planted next to the food table, you'll shovel chips and dip into your mouth all night long. "So stay far, far away," says Danine Fruge, M.D., director of Women's Health and Family Medicine at the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa in Miami. "You won't eat mindlessly if you have to cross the room to get to the food."

STEP 2: BE PICKY. Passed hors d'oeuvres, which hover at every turn, are small, but they add up--fast. To avoid eating 2,000 calories worth of canapes, limit yourself to three that you love. Been waiting all year for bacon-wrapped scallops? Go for it. But pass on the crab cakes and other fried fare.

STEP 3: SIP SMARTLY. With alcohol, the goal is to keep both your calories and your buzz under control. Some options:

A single shot of vodka, gin, or rum mixed with club or diet soda and a squeeze of lime. It will set you back only about 100 calories, says Christine Gerbstadt, M.D., R.D.

Champagne or pink Prosecco. "Not only are they low on the calorie chart--around 80 to 120 per glass--but they're also more likely to be sipped rather than guzzled," says Kristin Reisinger, R.D.

Light beer or wine. Most have fewer than 150 calories per serving. If you're the type to make several trips to the bar (no judgments!), Fruge suggests asking the bartender to fill your glass only halfway each time.

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