Is it really possible to survive the holidays without gaining an extra five pounds? Find out how!

Each year the average American gains five or more pounds from overeating during the holiday season. Cookie swaps, holiday parties and other social engagements center on food and fill us with more than just visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads. Holiday feasting so often ends in feelings of guilt and remorse, especially for those who are trying to lose weight.

Below are some tried- and- true suggestions for sticking to your nutrition plan and for battling the holiday bulge:

Do not eat bread with your meals! If you are eating out at a restaurant, tell the waiter to remove the bread basket from the table.

Choose to have 2 appetizers or an appetizer, side vegetable dish and salad instead of a large entrée.

Always start your meal with a cup of vegetable soup or a green salad. Use olive oil and lemon or balsamic vinegar on your salad.

Red wine is your best choice of alcoholic beverage. Try to have it in the middle of the meal – – -Related Stories and don’t drink on an empty stomach.

Avoid starchy white carbohydrates (white rice, pasta, mashed potatoes). Skip these and order a double portion of non-starchy vegetables. Mashed cauliflower, jicama “rice”, roasted brussel sprouts, asparagus spears, etc.

Share dessert or eat only 3 bites of your favorite dessert. Try to choose fruit-based desserts or a small piece of chocolate whenever possible.

Bring your favorite healthy dishes to potlucks.

Eat a small protein-rich snack before going to a party (10 raw nuts, a protein smoothie, a hard boiled egg, etc.)

Choose healthy holiday offerings (shrimp, chicken skewers, vegetable crudités, fruit) before indulging.

Keep a food journal during the holidays so that you stick with your nutrition program.

Keep active during the holiday season. Take a walk in the fresh air after eating out to help aid digestion.

Learn to manage stress without food. Consider using herbs, dietary supplements, aromatherapy, massage and other natural therapies to relieve stress and stay calm.

Drink plenty of sparkling water with slices of citrus fruit and or herbal teas to stay hydrated.

Split an entrée whenever possible or take home half of it in a doggy bag.

Order sauces and dressings on the side.

Carry digestive enzymes with you to restaurants, social events and when traveling.

Try to choose nutrient dense desserts made with Super Foods like cranberries, nuts, dark chocolate, coconut, etc.

Eat fiber. Fiber fills you up and makes you feel less hungry so that you eat less. Eat fiberrich, high volume foods such as vegetables, beans, whole grains. Add a fiber supplement to your diet.

Have a holiday ornament or card swap instead of a cookie swap.

Make a plan. Hire a health coach, buddy up with a friend, sign a commitment contract or take other steps to stick to your nutrition program during the holidays so you can feel great about your healthy choices!