12/08/2015 03:07 EST | Updated 12/08/2016 05:12 EST

These 5 Tips Will Keep You From Overeating Over The Holidays

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People enjoying Christmas party

Well, we're getting right into the thick of it.

It's the time of year when holiday celebrations are in full swing. Ugly Christmas sweaters are out in full force, and I've been trying not to drink my weight in eggnog.

There are work events, dinners, parties and more food than you could ever need, so how can you manage it all? If you have been pretty mindful of your diet, the holidays don't have to be a time where it needs to go completely off the rails. You can stay on top of it with these five tips.

1. Don't Go To Events Hungry

When you go into any situation and you're hungry enough to eat a small horse, you probably will. When our blood sugar levels get low we tend to crave those high glycemic choices, and there is NO shortage of them during the holidays. Eating prior to attending an event will help you to not dive head first into the first plate of sugar cookies you see.

This is also a good tip when you go grocery shopping. Shopping while hungry tends to lead to purchasing the same type snack-based foods. You tend to buy for what you want at that exact moment instead of what you really need for later on and you end up over-spending.

2. Slow Down Your Eating

This is another one that applies to everyday life. We tend to eat way too quickly, usually in the three- to five-minute range. Time yourself the next time you eat and you'll be surprised how quick you're finished. A normal meal should take around 15 to 20 minutes to allow for those natural fullness signals to reach the brain. When you eat too quickly you override them, leading to you consuming more than you needed or intended.

When you get to a party or event that has more food than even Guy Fieri would eat in a single sitting, slow down your time spent eating. You'll feel fuller faster and no one will ask where the gingerbread house went.

3. Focus On Eating Protein

When you eat too many starchy carbs or sugars you get a spike in blood sugar, which can lead to crashes and more cravings for these fast-acting carbs. Eating these things won't fill you up -- and you'll continue to feel like eating more and more as you are never satisfied.

When you eat protein you can help to control those insulin spikes. Protein also has the ability to help keep you fuller and for longer. Eating protein first thing will make it more possible to not crave a lot of the junk that's out there, so opt for things like nuts, cheese and cold cuts like turkey or chicken which tend to be found at holiday events.

4. Drink More Water

Sometimes the signals of dehydration can be confused with hunger. Many people are walking around in various states of dehydration, and this can lead you going for the wrong food choices during the holidays. Having a glass or two of water a half hour before any food is coming out will help not only in hydration, but keeping hunger pangs at bay.

5. Don't Beat Yourself Up Over Holiday "Slip-Ups"

Just like one good meal will not transform your health, one bad one is not going to ruin it. It's the holidays and you're allowed to celebrate them, so don't get too down on yourself for it. Let yourself have those treats if you really want them, but just be mindful of your choices.

If you've been on top of your nutrition all year, allow yourself some breathing room, but set yourself up for success by following some of the points here.

As for that drunken karaoke version of "Santa Baby?" You're on your own.


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