Now that the holiday season is upon us, it’s time to enjoy family, fun and of course, delicious food! A moderate amount of festive decadence is expected, but with sugary sweets, fatty meats and boozy beverages all around, it’s quite easy to overindulge. Lots of folks end up up carrying around a few extra unwanted pounds. In fact, most Americans gain an average of five to seven pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s! Fortunately, a little strategy can go a long way toward keeping your waistline in check. Here are some tips for health-conscious holiday dining:

Don’t show up starving.

It may seem like a good idea to skip meals in order to “make room” for an evening feast, but if you arrive at a get-together on an empty stomach you’re much more likely to overeat. Eating balanced meals throughout the day packed with plenty of protein and fiber can help keep your appetite from going haywire.

Pick a smarter sip.

Calorie-dense choices like eggnog, punch and alcoholic beverages are tasty and traditional fare, but they aren’t the healthiest pick. Instead, opt for sugar-free choices like flavored seltzer, diet soda and of course, water.

Focus on your favorites.

If you’ve gotta have that green bean casserole, go for it! (Just make sure to mind your portion size). By allowing yourself a reasonable amount of the foods you love and ditching those dishes you could do without, you’ll satisfy your appetite and your lifestyle goals.

Go easy on the extras.

Gravies, butter, whipped cream and other condiments can add a ton of unnecessary fat, sugar and sodium to an already hefty meal.You don’t have to skip sauces entirely, but remember — a little goes a long way.

Add in some exercise.

Once you’ve wrapped up a big holiday meal, why not enlist your friends and family to join you for a brisk stroll around the block? It’s a great way to burn off a few extra calories while spending quality time with loved ones.