Having difficulty navigating the holidays with your waistline intact? Here are some tips for you and your family to make sure you can celebrate the holiday season without gaining the holiday weight.

1) Enjoy the holidays. When you add up the total number of potential “bad days,” it usually only equals 3 to 5 days out of 3 months. Don’t let the season be an excuse to let go of all inhibitions.

2) Stay away from candy. Candy is always available–don’t waste your indulgences on something that is around all year long.

3) If you are going to have an off day, budget for it. Be particularly mindful of your eating patterns the days leading up to Thanksgiving or a holiday party.

4) Remember, it’s not the meat, potatoes, or salads that cause weight gain over the holidays: It’s the sweets, cranberry sauce, jello, and rolls. If you focus more on the protein first, you will fill yourself up faster and want to eat fewer sweet treats.

5) Write out what you are going to eat when going to a party. Set a goal for yourself. If you write down that you are only going to eat one slice of pie, you are more likely to stick to it.

6) Be creative with leftovers. Make turkey sandwiches on whole wheat bread, put turkey or chicken in whole grain pasta, or use the extra can of pumpkin to make a healthy low-sugar cream sauce for pasta or turkey.

7) Limit sugary beverages to the special days. Apple cider, hot chocolate, eggnog, and sparkling cider are great, but they can add a lot of sneaky pounds.

8) Remember, scarcity increases enjoyment. It’s the things that don’t happen every day that make life and the holidays special.

9) Use the holiday season to spend some family time outside. There is no rule that you have to spend all day inside eating. Using family time to play together can be a great bonding experience and can you help you burn some calories.

10) Use the buddy system. Partner up with a family member, spouse, or friend to make sure you keep on track with your diet habits over the winter season.