It’s turkey season! And did we mention log cake, ham, sausages, pie and lots of wine? But just because it’s the month of parties, doesn’t mean you have to reject all things tasty in Scrooge-like fashion.

The Health Promotion Board has these suggestions for steering yourself sensibly through this food-laden part of the year.

How to eat less calories this Christmas1. Don’t go hungry
Have a small sandwich or a piece of fruit before leaving home. And try not to get to the party too early, or you may over-indulge on the salted peanuts and crisps while waiting for others to arrive. 

2. Choose quality, not quantity
Look over the table and choose three to five of the most appealing dishes. Enjoy these favourites in small portions – and skip the rest.

3. Pile on the vegetables
Don’t say no to an extra serving of vegetables, especially if it’s a fresh salad without fat-filled dressings, or steamed vegetables without butter. You’ll be making a stab at eating healthily, and the fibre in them also helps you feel fuller but with fewer calories.

4. Beware of mashed potatoes
Mashed potatoes are high in fat because of the butter and cream used to make them. If they’re your weakness, then just have a smaller portion with less gravy. If boiled potatoes are available, eat those instead.

5. Eat meat with care
Trim off excess fat from the meat on your plate, and remove the skin. If a meat dish comes with gravy – which can be fattening – take half the usual amount, and have it on the side. In any case, taste your meat first, as it may already taste great on its own.

6. Dessert with limits
Go for just one to two small pieces of cake, or one or two cookies at most. Or share dessert with a friend. Always choose fruit, if available. 

7. Drink smart
Choose water or unsweetened fruit juice instead of carbonated or syrupy drinks. Alternate your alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic ones. Sip alcoholic beverages – don’t gulp. If you are drinking coffee or tea, try to have it with low-fat milk instead of creamer.