I love the holidays but I usually manage to put on at least five pounds between Halloween and New Year’s Eve. This year, I’m determined that won’t happen. As I get older, I’ve noticed that I don’t take off weight as easily as I used to, so I plan to focus on prevention (versus facing the bathroom scale on January 1st). Here are some tips for preventing holiday weight gain.

Avoid Temptation 

Does your coworker leave a huge platter of cookies in the employee break room every Friday? Make sure you eat lunch at your desk that day and avoid the temptation of sugary treats. Does your aunt send fudge every year for the holidays? Thank her—and then have a bite or two and bring the rest to a holiday potluck, or to the office for others to enjoy.

Make Healthy Choices

Eating protein will make you feel full longer, which will help you resist overeating. When you’re at a holiday event, help yourself to small portions of meat and cheese cubes and hard boiled eggs, and fill the rest of your plate with vegetables. No one says that you cannot have any Christmas cookies at all. Just practice portion control. Allow yourself an occasional glass of eggnog, a cookie, or a slice of your favorite pie —just don’t overdo it.

Eat Before You Go

If you’re going to a holiday party, try to eat before you go. You don’t need to eat a full meal, but if you have a healthy salad or a protein smoothie before you leave the house, you’ll be less likely to splurge. At the party, enjoy a small plate and avoid sugary drinks and treats.

Watch Liquid Calories

It’s not just the cookies and appetizers that can pack on the pounds over the holidays. You can end up drinking quite a few calories without even knowing it. Take a look at the calories of your favorite beverages before you go to a party and then make an informed decision what and how much to drink.

Stay Active

You’ll feel better (and burn more calories) if you get some exercise every day. Take a hike with your family, play in the snow with your kids, or steal some time at the gym. Even a quick walk around the neighborhood will clear your mind,  lift your spirits, and help you stay fit. Cultivating a regular exercise habit will help you keep off pounds over the holidays—and beyond!