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That time of year is approaching! Frosted sugar cookies linger around every corner, your friends are passing around the eggnog, Aunt Louise baked your favorite apple pie- oh the temptations!

So, we enjoy these treats for a few weeks and by the time New Year’s Day rolls around we’re only up a pound or two. Heck, that’s not bad for the holidays, right?! Wrong. According to researchers at the National Institute of Health, Americans never lose these extra pounds gained during the most wonderful time of the year. These pounds then add up year after year and play a major role in adult obesity.

We often think that a measly couple pounds during the holidays is inevitable. But with these tips and tricks you can prevent yourself from overindulging and keep those pounds at bay!

Never Arrive Hungry

Don’t show up with a grumbling stomach. Try to have a protein-packing snack beforehand or drink a glass of water to fill up before you fill your plate.

Divert Your Attention

Practice being a social butterfly. Immersing yourself in a conversation or walking around will keep you from picking at the foods throughout the night.

Pace Yourself

Eating slowly will allow your brain to process when you are full, before you’re stuffed from over consuming. Try putting your fork down in between bites to slow your pace and put you in control.

Count Your Canapes

One, two, three…..nine, ten..? When there are hors d’oeuvres it’s easy to lose track of how many you’ve had. Stick the toothpick in your pocket and keep track of how many you’ve had. Set a limit and stick to it.

Outsmart the Buffet

When dinner is served buffet style, grab a small plate and refrain from stacking your food. Choose foods that are simple such as grilled veggies, white meats (chicken breasts, fish, and shrimp) and fruits. Watch out for foods smothered in sauces and dips.

Limit Alcohol

It’s not so much about the amount you’re drinking, but the control you have over what you eat. If you feel out of place without a drink in hand grab a seltzer or a lighter beverage instead.

Be Choosy About Sweets

When it comes to dessert, be selective in what you put on your plate. Make sure it’s something you really want, rather than eating just to eat. If you think you can sample different desserts and stick to “one bite of each” then do that, but a majority of people can’t control the impulse to eat it all. If that’s you, then stick with one dessert and really enjoy every last bite.

Limit ‘Tastes’ While Cooking

If you do a lot of cooking during the holiday season, crack down on the ‘tastes’. People tend to lose their appetites while cooking because they’re actually eating the whole time. Limit yourself to two small bites pre- and post- seasoning.