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Tips on avoiding the extra pounds during the holidays

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Everywhere you go this time of year, there's food.

Along with the lights and presents, the holidays are often packed with good food.

If you're trying to avoid packing on a few extra pounds, dieticians say have a game plan.

First, before any holiday party, have a snack.

"Don't show up on an empty stomach," said Jessica Bennett, a registered dietician at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "Have some almonds, apple or glass of water. If you show up hungry, you are going to overeat."

Pace yourself with small portions. Don't deprive yourself, just think moderation.

When you're hosting a party at home, send some of the leftover goodies out the door with your guests.

"If you're a baker, bake what you want and then take the rest to coworkers," said Bennett.

Here's another trick to keep in mind when it comes to buffets.

"Survey the buffet beforehand," said Bennett. "Pick the things you really want. Don't just load up your plate because it's there."

It's also a good idea to wait about 30 minutes before you go back for seconds. This gives your stomach time to let the brain know you're full.

"It's not just what you eat, but also what you drink.

Many times people forget about the calories in alcoholic drinks, so you've got to watch those as well.

And remember holiday parties don't have to be packed with sugary stuff. Set out a few healthy options like veggie trays.

If you're baking, you can sub in lower fat ingredients to your favorite recipes. One option is skim milk instead of whole milk.

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