The holidays are filled with cocktails and dinner celebrations, corporate parties, and sweet treats galore.  We want to enjoy this time of year, but that usually means large meals and decadent desserts from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day—a solid six weeks. How do we get together with family and friends over meals without overdoing it? Here are five sensible rules to follow so you can enjoy the holidays without regrets.

  1. Indulge intentionally

You should definitely enjoy yourself, but limit indulgences to specific days rather than letting yourself have treats continuously. It’s important to be selective with your indulgence: If you’re a dessert person, skip the hors d’oeuvres and after-dinner drinks–the dessert is your indulgence. If you enjoy wine, have a glass or two, but keep dinner lighter and skip the dessert course.

  1. Skip the sugar

When at a holiday cocktail party, go for the cheese and crackers over the cookies and select a glass of wine over the eggnog. Cheese is actually very nutritious if you don’t overindulge. It’s also filling, so it can make you less hungry for a meal later. In addition, sugar + alcohol = the worst hangover ever,  so avoid the sugary cocktails and wake up refreshed the next day to tackle your holiday to-do list.

  1. Keep Sweet Defeat in your pocket

Sweet Defeat is clinically proven to reduce desire for more sugar, so it’s perfect to help you stick to one piece of cake, two glasses of wine, or skip getting seconds at dinner.

  1. Remember to drink water

With all the delicious food and drink choices, sometimes we forget to just drink water. Staying hydrated will help keep you energized, so you don’t reach for sugary pick-me-ups. It also helps keep you full, so you won’t overdo it on portions.

  1. One thing at a time

When you’re at an office party or a cocktail hour, don’t load up on drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and treats all at once. Pick one thing and enjoy it. For example, start with a glass of wine and sip it slowly. When you finish the wine, then you can move on to hors d’oeuvres. An easy reminder is to keep one hand free at all times to greet friends or snap a photo.

I follow these rules myself and have learned to love them—they’ve made all the difference in my enjoyment of the holiday season. Although the holidays can be a busy and stressful time, these easy rules can help you maintain your energy and get the most out of this special time with family and friends.