PUBLISHED: 3:59 PM on Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Enjoy holiday foods, not pack on pounds
All those great family dinners and holiday parties can be a ton of fun. But eating your favorite holiday foods doesn't have to mean becoming a ton of fun yourself.

Indeed, the holidays are an opportunity for many people to enjoy special foods that come around only once a year. Unfortunately, it's also a time of year where many people give up on the healthy habits they've adapted throughout the year.

Here are some handy eating tips being discussed this season in Weight Watchers meetings across the country:

• Don't starve before the feast. Starving for a big dinner can backfire because it can result in overeating. Instead, eat a snack such as a cup of non-fat yogurt, or a piece of fruit to avoid feeling ravenous.

• Map out your plate. Try to fill half of the plate with vegetables, and split the other half between meats and starches.

• Don't forget the activity. Walking is a great way to burn some extra calories during the holidays.

In addition, if you walk together as a family, it provides a chance to catch up with each other in an undistracted environment.

"Many people think that if they go off course for one day, then all of their efforts are down the drain," says Liz Josefsberg, Weight Watchers meeting leader. "It's important not to let one day sabotage your long-term efforts and goals."

And here are some ways to get back on track after the feast is over:

• Divide and Conquer. Take out the plastic bags and containers. Freeze individual portions of favorite dishes so they can be enjoyed in moderation for a long time.

• Send the leftovers home with your guests. They will appreciate not cooking for one day and you'll appreciate not being tempted by plentiful leftovers.

• Create some leftover magic. It's easy to get eating the same dish day after day.

• Consider turning leftovers into healthful meals, by combining them with vegetables in salads, inserting them into tempting omelettes or spicing them up with additional seasonings.