You work hard year-round to eat right and exercise, sidestepping daily temptations to sleep in, relax, and indulge.


And then the holiday season hits with its time demands and fattening foods. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with shopping and family obligations, business parties, bad food choices, over-eating, and more.


Don’t let yourself succumb. You can indulge in the holidays and maintain your healthy lifestyle at the same time with just a little self-control.


Here are a few ideas to enjoy the holiday fun without going overboard.


Maintain your routine. It will be a lot easier to avoid all the holiday treats in the work lunchroom when you’ve brought your own healthy lunch and a couple of healthy snacks.


Always eat first. Avoid the deep-fried, the fat-laden, the processed and the food drenched in sugar and sodium that you’ll find a parties by filling up in advance. A full belly will go a long way towards taming the temptation. Then, if you do indulge, you’re more likely to be careful about it.


Bring your own food. This may not always be possible, but snacking at parties on your own carrots, apple wedges, or mixed nuts will keep the bad snack devil off your shoulder.


Find fun without the food. Plenty of holiday traditions are fun and don’t require consumption. You can have a raucous good time caroling, sledding, and much more without ever thinking about eggnog and Christmas cookies.


Exercise in the morning. Move your yoga class, or your gym workout, to first thing in the morning to free yourself for the evening festivities. You might find that you prefer the a.m. workout, which has its advantages (and disadvantages) year-round.


Avoid calories in a glass. Alcoholic drinks are full of empty calories that tend to add up without you noticing. If you drink adult beverages, nurse them over an entire evening. Of course, there are other reasons to drink temperately – like avoiding DWIs and non-auto accidents.


Pass on the gravy. Turkey, sweet potato, stuffing, green vegetables and other traditional holiday foods are great choices (if prepared correctly). Cream-based gravy and sauces are high in fat and should be used sparingly.


Exercise restraint when indulging. Zero-tolerance for party food is a tough pill for many people to swallow. So allow yourself a few food indiscretions; just keep them to a minimum. A glass of eggnog at Christmas and a couple of pigs-in-blankets at a holiday party are a small indulgence. Just avoid falling into a week of eggnog or a meal of pigs-in-blankets.


A little common-sense planning and a bit of self-control should be enough to ensure a happy holiday season.