By Tina Haupert
December 31, 2012

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I'm planning to ring in the New Year with friends at a party where I know there will be plenty of delicious food, bubbly drinks, and loads of merriment. I sometimes get wrapped up in the festive atmosphere of special events like this and tend to overdo it. When the champagne is flowing, I use some little tricks to help me practice moderation while also having a blast ringing in the New Year!

Stick to a number
My New Years party starts at 7p.m., so there are quite a few hours before the ball drops, which means I need to pace myself with my drinking so I make it until midnight. I know once I have a couple of drinks, I find it difficult to turn down a third or fourth, so before the night even begins, I determine how many cocktails I will have and stick to that number. That way, I don't get wrapped up in the fun of the evening and wake up with a hangover the next morning!

Sip and savor
I love to enjoy a cocktail or two at parties, so I pick a drink that I know I'll enjoy slowly. I enjoy the taste of wine, so I savor and sip it slowly. If I choose whatever alcohol takes me the longest to drink, I wind up saving calories (and a possible hangover) by passing on an additional round.

Swap in some "mocktails"
Alcohol calories add up quickly, so between rounds, I swap in some "mocktails," non-alcoholic, diet-friendly beverages that look (and can often taste) like cocktails, but without the booze. For every alcoholic drink I enjoy, the next beverage is usually a seltzer with a splash of pineapple or cranberry juice. And if I add a wedge of lemon or lime and a tiny straw, it looks and feels just like a cocktail, but without all the booze and calories, which keeps my diet in check.

Pick a start and stop time
A long, festive evening surrounded by tons of tasty party food, is potential for disaster when it comes to my healthy eating habits. Instead of snacking all night long, I pick a start and stop time to nosh. In the past, I used to snack all night long, especially after enjoying a couple of drinks when my inhibitions go down. I'd overeat (and drink) and wake up feeling terrible. When I attend a party now that goes late into the evening, I designate a time to stop eating. That way, I eat a satisfying amount, but don't overdo it by picking at the food until closing time.

Read Tina’s daily food and fitness blog, Carrots ‘N’ Cake.