Restrictive diets are practically designed for failure—especially this time of year, when endless parties, dinners, and family get-togethers fill your calendar and test your willpower. Luckily, staying on track with your healthy eating goal doesn’t mean you have to skip all the deliciousness that only comes around once a year. Simply plan what you’ll pass up and decide what’s worth the splurge before you arrive at your next festive fête. Here’s a short list of holiday party favorites to help you start thinking ahead.

#1 – Potato Latkes with Sour Cream
Latkes are a holiday delicacy, so go ahead and have one! Just skip the high-fat sour cream soak, and dip your potato cakes in applesauce instead. (Why not whip up this easy overnight applesauce and contribute it to the feast?)

#2 – Swedish Meatballs
Swedish meatballs are typically fried balls of meat—not the best options if you’re working on your waistline. Offer to make them yourself (in the oven, and without all the breading). Or stick to the other protein-rich apps on the table, like shrimp cocktail, and slash as much as 270 calories per serving off your plate.

#3 – Spinach Artichoke Dip
Oh, so delicious, the creaminess in this dip comes from parmesan, cheddar, and sour cream—and a typical serving will set you back about 300 calories and 19 grams of fat. It’s not terrible to swirl a carrot stick or two into the stuff, but a better option for your crudite would be a dill yogurt dip or hummus.

#4 – Ham & Cheese Croquettes
These warm and savory little poppers can pack a near-200-calorie punch—each! If you look forward to these all year, enjoy one. Otherwise, make your way to the antipasti tray for a slice of prosciutto and some olives.

#5 – Bacon-Wrapped Figs
Beautiful, and easy to pop in your mouth, bacon-wrapped figs also tend to be stuffed with cheese. If you’ve already reached your saturated fat quota for the day, toss a plain fig into your pie hole instead.

#6 – Cranberry Rum Punch
One cup of this sweet drink isn’t going to break your calorie bank (it’s around 100 calories), but it carries a sweet wallop—there are around 18 grams of sugar in a typical serving. If you know you’re going to have more than one alcoholic beverage at the party, consider lightening it up. Try mixing one part punch with two parts seltzer water or club soda for a festively fizzy cocktail.

#7 – Eggnog
Over 300 hundred calories and around 19 grams of fat are in the average one-cup serving of this creamy holiday favorite. A healthier way to enjoy the delicious treat: Add a dash of eggnog to your coffee. You’ll save on fat and calories and still get all the festive flavor!

The important thing to remember this time of year is moderation. Enjoy yourself, celebrate responsibly, and be sure to keep moving!

How do you curb your enthusiasm (and appetite) around the holiday buffet table? Share your tips in the comments below!

Make it Happen,
– Team FitStar