Christmas is just about here and the holidays mean getting to spend time with family and friends with lots of good food and drinks that are hard to resist! However, if you want to try to avoid weight gain this holiday season, just follow couple of my easy tips:

First, always try to have a healthy snack and at least 12 ounces of water before going to a holiday party. If you go on an empty stomach, you’re sure to overeat! Also, offer to bring an appetizer.  That way you can make sure it’s a healthy one so, if there are not any other healthy options, you can always snack on your own. One of my favorite is a seven-layer Mediterranean dip. I use low-fat hummus that I spread on the bottom of the dish. Next I layer it with fresh chopped cucumbers, black olives, tomatoes and low-fat or fat-free feta. Then, I finish it off by garnishing it lightly with basil. I get low-fat pita chips to dip. This is such a healthy and tasty appetizer…everyone loves it! I know it’s hard but TRY to avoid any fried foods but if you just can’t help yourself (and that’s ok), try to eat in moderation. Also, be careful with the veggie tray even though veggies are super healthy, usually the dressing included can pack up to 16 grams of fat per tablespoon!

For the main course, just remember that moderation is key. You don’t want to deprive yourself at the holidays but you also don’t need to eat five times what you would normally eat. For example, a proper portion of meat is actually about three ounces or about the size of a bar of soap or deck of playing cards. One healthy meal that I like to make is chicken roll-ups. They are so fast, easy and delicious! Simply pound chicken breasts flat and fill it with all your favorite ingredients. One of my favorite healthy options is to fill them with fresh spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and fat-free mozzarella cheese. Then top the chicken breast with pasta sauce. You can really fill them with anything and it’s a nice way to sneak in nutrient packed vegetables!

Dessert is always the hardest for me personally because I have such a sweet tooth! Again I keep saying it but MODERATION! A very pretty and easy dessert that isn’t too bad for you is a fruit-based triffle. One that I like to make is a strawberry banana-based one. You buy angel food cake from the store which doesn’t have a lot of fat or calories. Next make (or cheat and buy) sugar-free, fat-free vanilla pudding and add this to the next layer. Then chop up strawberries, bananas and if you’d like walnuts on the next layer. Continue layering in this pattern until you get to the top! There are so many healthy options you can make with various fruits and pudding…dark chocolate raspberry anyone?

Finally, the liquor and drinks! Just say no to eggnog! According to the calorie counter app on my phone, one cup of eggnog has 392 calories and 19 grams of fat! I found a fat-free, no sugar added version which has only around 120 calories and ZERO grams of fat! If you like hard liquor, be aware of the mixers you use. Regular sodas are filled with empty calories and are high in sugar. Opt for diet sodas or try one of my favorites. I love to mix vodka, water and Rose’s Sweet Lime Juice for a liquor drink that doesn’t have too many calories. Also, there are many companies that make “skinny” margaritas which are quite delicious!

The most important thing of all is to enjoy your time with family and friends and have a very Merry Christmas! Don’t overly obsess about food and drinks or let it ruin your Christmas. Just keep these healthy tips in the back of your mind and try to apply them as much as possible! Always know that if you overeat then the next day you can do one of my workouts and NDS Nutrition has plenty of great supplements to get you back on track!