Ready to kick off the party season without worrying about holiday weight gain?

The next couple months will be jam-packed with festivities and fun, not to mention a few obstacles to healthy eating. To keep from overindulging, it's best to walk into a party with a game plan. Here are some healthy eating tips to keep your diet on track.

Make a choice

Would you rather look hot at the next holiday party or go to town at the buffet table? Use the season's festivities as motivation to look great in your party attire. Avoid waistline-busting party foods such as fried hors d'oeuvres and fattening chips and dips. Instead, gravitate toward filling, low-calorie options like crudite?s and shrimp, suggests Susan Burke March, R.D., the author of Making Weight Control Second Nature: Living Thin Naturally. Making healthy choices is an automatic confidence booster, so you'll look and feel better--and rock your little black dress.

Eat beforehand

Just because you know your friend made her famous dish doesn't mean you should starve yourself in preparation--in fact, you should eat in preparation. March suggests having a snack, such as nonfat yogurt or a piece of fruit, before you go out. You're less likely to overeat or make unhealthy food choices at a holiday party if you've taken the edge off your appetite beforehand.

Keep reading to find even more ways to prevent holiday weight gain.

[header = Healthy eating tips: prevent holiday weight gain – and look and feel great.]

You want to prevent holiday weight gain to look terrific throughout the season. Here's how.

Learn to say "no"

The best way to avoid fattening party foods is to put a healthy eating plan in place prior to the event. A good host will want to make sure you're enjoying yourself and partaking in the fare. When offered an option that isn't diet friendly, March recommends saying: "Thanks, but I'm really thirsty right now. Maybe I'll try one later." Then head to the bar and grab a low-cal cocktail such as a wine spritzer or light beer.

Keep your hands occupied

If you have a glass in one hand, it's more difficult to hold a plate and eat. At the start of the event, fill up a plate with fresh fruit and veggies. Then keep a drink in your hand for the rest of the evening. Your best beverage bet is water or club soda, but if you want to celebrate with a cocktail, make it something you can sip for the majority of the evening. You're more likely to down a sugary cocktail--and go back for a refill--than a glass of champagne or wine. Also, keep yourself busy by socializing with friends--after all, that's what you're there for.

Have your cake

There's no need to deprive yourself of your favorite holiday treat. If you look forward to mom's pecan pie every Thanksgiving, then enjoy a small slice--just don't go back for seconds! It's perfectly healthy to indulge in moderation and reward yourself for sticking to a healthy eating plan. Just keep in mind that your favorite dessert will taste that much sweeter if it's a special treat, rather than a regular occurrence.

Here are even more ways to prevent holiday weight gain.