The holidays are a time when food is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Instead, it is good or bad. For those who are concerned with packing on the holiday pounds, it’s easy to dread this time of year. Feeling like you can’t treat yourself when you’re surrounded by holiday snacks is actually much worse than indulging. Of course, there are a few things to keep in mind before loading up a plate full of cookies.

Partake in Tradition

Being healthy during the holidays shouldn’t mean only enjoying the side salad before the meal. It’s perfectly fine to partake in the food traditions that fill the holiday table. Eat the festive foods, but don’t eat them in excess. Trying to maintain a strict diet during the holidays will make you miserable and overtake the holiday spirit. Set a realistic goal for yourself to maintain over the holidays rather than trying to lose weight.

Treat Yourself

At each meal and snack time this holiday season, choose one small way to treat yourself. Choosing one unhealthy item that doesn’t apply to a diet that you still enjoy is better than trying to restrict completely. Attempting to limit yourself to no treats at all often leads to a binge sooner rather than later, which is much worse than just eating a few treats in moderation.

Don’t Drink Your Calories

Holiday drinks are delicious, but they’re incredibly unhealthy. If you want to indulge in a glass of eggnog or spiked hot chocolate, indulge, but include that in your treat for the meal or snack at hand. It’s all too easy to get caught up in conversation and drink down multiple sugars filled mixed drinks before you realize what you’ve done so try to be aware of what goes into your glass.

Routine is Everything

Maintain your daily routine to the best of your ability during the holidays. If you usually start your day at the gym, but you’re staying out of town, wake up and take a walk around a few blocks. You shouldn’t have to break your routine over the holidays but modifying it to your environment is perfectly fine. Try to maintain the same consistency at meal times that aren’t inherently holiday related. You can still wake up and have a healthy breakfast even if you know there will be a holiday meal later in the day.