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Some tips on healthy holiday eating

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Did you go a little overboard on Thanksgiving?  Did you take that extra helping of mom’s mashed potatoes and a too large piece of Uncle Mark's pumpkin pie?

It's true the holiday season is now in full swing and rich, fattening food beckons from all directions.

So how do you stay healthy at a time like this, while still indulging a little at the office party or church potluck?

First, even if you've been packing it in, don’t worry. You can still get back on track for the rest of the holiday eating season, says Shannon Perrett, a dietician at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center.

"You have to change your mindset and forgive yourself and then get back on a healthy eating pattern," she says. "Don’t throw your hands up in defeat."

Perrett says there are just a few things to keep in mind to avoid gaining weight over the holidays. 

"Have small portions of the things you really like, try to have a protein rich snack before going to an event, eat your calories and don’t drink them and try and sneak in that exercise whenever you can," she says.

Use salad plates instead of dinner plates, and try to eat fruits and vegetables along with all of the rich holiday foods, says Perrett, adding, avoid the things you can eat all the time and focus on the rare treats.

Greek yogurt, nuts and string cheese are good for getting slightly full with protein before you hit the holiday party, she says. 

And be creative about getting that exercise: park farther away in the mall lot, take the stairs instead of the elevator and take a walk after a large holiday meal.

And, she says, if you falter and splurge on egg nog and rum cake -- go easy on yourself.

"Don’t give up, get right back on the healthy eating track, forgive yourself," she said. "Nobody’s perfect."