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The holidays are just around the corner, and you know what that means: Catching up with family and listening to Mariah Carey’s "All I Want for Christmas Is You" stuffing your face with cookies and chasing glasses of Sauvignon Blanc with mulled cider and then feeling guilty about overindulging. So we checked in with Dr. Charles Passler, a nutritionist and founder of the Pure Change program, for strategies to stay healthy during the season of office parties and happy hours and cookie swaps.

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Make a Plan

Careful planning prevents poor performance, and in this case, poor performance is us feeling badly about the full tray of brownies we ate while drinking spiked egg nog with abandon. Dr. Passler suggests doing a little intel before holiday events: “Try to find out what’s going to be available, decide what you’d like to indulge in and stick to the boundaries.” So basically, if you know your pal is bringing her world-famous babka to Friendsgiving, plan to stay away from the seven other kinds of cake, and enjoy the one thing you really like (in moderation, of course). 

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Drink a Lot of Water

No, not just water. (Don’t worry.) The holidays are rampant with happy hours and open bars and Champagne (oh, the Champagne). Dr. Passler advises having a glass of water or two before hitting any kind of booze. “This will prevent you from over-drinking because you are thirsty,” he added. If it’s less of a cocktail party situation and more of a straightforward seated dinner, Dr. Passler recommends not having an alcoholic beverage until dinner is served.

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Choose Your Plate Wisely

The flipside of the whole seated dinner situation? The buffet. As great as a buffet is (the choices!), it’s also a minefield of temptation. To keep yourself from overindulging, Dr. Passler recommends a little trick: Choose a smaller plate, like a salad or a dessert plate. If you’ve got the space of a full dinner plate, chances are you’re going to fill it with two types of cranberry sauce (even though we all know canned is better, natch). If you physically don’t have space for mountains of mashed potatoes, you won’t eat mountains of mashed potatoes. Simple as that.

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