This post is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company. 

The holidays are here, which means it’s time to whip out your stretchy pants and your self-loathing. With parties, snacks and drinks calling your name every day, there are ways to enjoy holiday cheer and love yourself. Check out some super useful tips and tricks to feel good about your holiday choices this season from Registered Dietitian Lindsey Joe, along with Spoon recipes that’ll help you make the perfectly portioned holiday meal in your dorm room before the semester’s over.

Stick to your regular eating schedule

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If your holiday dinner party is set for 5:00 pm (much earlier than you typically eat), you might think it’s a good idea to skip lunch or an afternoon snack to “save up” for the feast. But come dinnertime when you have no food in your stomach, you scarf down everything in sight and are stuffed to the max. And you can barely fit in dessert.

Take away: Don’t hold off on eating regular meals and snacks as it can actually increase your hunger later and cause a major overeating episode. Aim to fuel your body every 3-4 hours to keep your energy level up and the hangries at bay, bae.

Eat what you love, leave what you like

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Instead of piling your plate a mile high with things that don’t really make your tastebuds sing (jello salad, we’re looking at you), only pick the foods that have you feeling a certain kind of way. If something doesn’t make you swoon at first bite, leave it on the sideline. Also, remember that best memories of food happen in the first three bites. After that, it just doesn’t taste any better so don’t spend all your calories on one dish. #SpoonTip of the year, amirite?

Mini-mize calories

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Photo courtesy of Coca-Cola

With so much focus on the food during holiday celebrations, it’s easy to forget about moderation with your beverages. Aim to choose portion-controlled versions of your favorites, like the 90-calorie Coca-Cola mini can. Keeping moderation top of mind during mealtime can help you slow down and really savor those holiday flavors.

Don’t leave with leftovers

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While one extravagant meal is NBD, multiple meals with more calories than we need is what can lead to unwanted holiday weight gain. Enjoy what you want while you’re there, but what happens at dinner, stays at dinner. Swipe left when it comes to leaving with leftovers so you can get back to your balanced lifestyle asap.

A short period of overeating or skipped activity won’t erase all your progress

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What will is an extended hiatus from your typical eating and exercise routine. The best way to combat after holiday bloat is to get back on track at the very next meal, snack or exercise opportunity. So don’t forget to pack some snacks and your sneaks so you can win the battle of the bulge this season.

Now let’s get to eating, yo.

Appetizer: Bite-Sized Baked Brie & Jam

An h’ors d’ouvre of champions. These are so damn easy to whip up and will have you feeling gourmet AF. Make these for your friends at school, and then make ’em for your family. Guarantee Mom will be eating her words. And these puffs. They’re that good.

Greens: Mason Jar Salad

holiday party

Photo by Bernard Wen

Whip up single-serve salads because a) no one really wants a huge portion and b) salad bowls are so last year. Hipster vibes, leggo.

Main Dish: Chicken Pot Hand Pies

holiday party

Photo by Xinyi Liu

You can’t turn down comfort food around the holidays, and luckily this chicken pot pie is pre-portioned for you. And if you aren’t digging the holiday party crowd, you can take this on the go. Win-win.

Side: Roasted Veggies

Classic veggies you can roast in a toaster oven and marinate in the plastic bag you got at the grocery store. Easy, peasy, veggie squeezy.

Dessert: Mini Cheesecake Cookie Sandwiches

The cutest cookies you will ever see. Legit.