45 critical days of caloric intake Published Sept. 27, 2006 By Health and Wellness Center 22nd Air Refueling Wing MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan -- The holidays are just around the corner and the added pounds are slowly finding their way around waists. The following are tips to help avoid coming back in 2006 looking like the 2005 Thanksgiving turkey. Preparation is key Prepare by packing a healthy snack for holiday parties. Snacking on a piece of fruit, low-fat crackers, or a light sandwich can help curb cravings for the high-calorie dessert table. Fix a plate Avoid social grazing. It's easy to pick at food trays at a party, especially the dessert table. Fixing a plate allows one to monitor the portions of food being consumed as well as visibly choose healthy foods. Also, use a smaller plate, as this will help control the portion sizes. Don't ban sweets Eat sweets in moderation, so choose only one dessert. Opt for the smaller portion, but do not use this as justification to choose a second dessert. Go potluck style Pitch in and bring a healthy dish, perhaps a veggie tray, fruit plate, or snack-sized sandwiches with low-fat mayonnaise. Encourage other co-workers or friends to bring something low fat as well. This will offer more options. Water yourself When eating, drink water - not punch, soda, eggnog or alcohol. Save those beverages for after dinner, it's much easier to monitor intake. Set limits on those beverages and be sure to have a Wingman. Out of sight, out of mind Buy decorated holiday tins and fill them with homemade gifts. Pack and store cookies and candies in the freezer. Cook it right Try substitute cooking - in other words, if there's oil in the recipe, use applesauce in its place; choose to cook with a sugar substitute instead of sugar; or make punch with diet soda instead of regular. Simple substitutions can save hundreds of calories. Set goals Write goals down, and place them on the refrigerator or bathroom mirror. Also, share goals with friends, who will help maintain accountability. Get up and move Ate too much? Go for an after-dinner walk. Get off the couch, out from in front of the TV and move. Chasing the kids or cleaning up burns calories.