By Bethenny Frankel
September 02, 2001

Now that the holidays are in full swing, you've probably got a hefty stack of invitations piled up. A couple of parties a week can add up fast if you're looking to lose weight. You can pass on the fried finger foods and turn your nose up at dessert, but there's one diet pitfall that's easy to forget about: holiday drinking.

My job has me out at parties at least three or four nights a week, and I don't think it's realistic for me to sip on seltzer all night. So instead of sticking to water, I plan ahead to make sure I'm not wrecking my waistline over a couple of cocktails. Here are my tips for surviving the holiday cocktail circuit.

Keep it clear
I like to limit myself to clear liquors—either tequila or vodka—with a splash of club soda. If I stick to this rule, I know I wont wake up with a headache the next morning. At about 100 calories a glass, I won't wreck my diet—and I can afford to sip a second cocktail without worrying about my waistline.

Need something more flavorful? You don't need to spend a lot of calories on sugary juices or mixers. Opt for flavored vodka instead. And a wedge of fruit—think lemons, limes, or orange slices—can also perk up any cocktail.

Load up on ice

Here's an area where you don't want to skimp. Fill your glass with extra ice to help dilute your drink. It'll make your beverage last longer, and you'll end up drinking extra water.

Be high maintenance with the bartender
If you ask for a splash of cranberry juice but wind up with more than you bargained for, don't be afraid to politely send it back. It's not worth those extra calories.

Why you might want to avoid wine
While I love a good glass of Chardonnay, I find I drink it way too fast. The same goes for Champagne: After just a few sips, I look down and find my glass is empty! So instead, I choose to savor a really strong drink because I can't down the whole thing in a few swigs. While I can definitely drink the better part of a bottle of wine by myself, I cant stomach more than two vodka cocktails.

You can still savor holiday classics
If you wind up at a party with a signature pitcher of holiday punch, you can bend the rules a little without adding too many extra calories. I like to start with vodka on the rocks, and then I add a tiny splash of whatever my host has whipped up. The same goes for eggnog: I add a few sips to a glass of clear rum. Just because you're watching your weight doesn't mean you have to sit out on all the fun.

Don't drink your dinner
Whatever you do, don't drink on an empty stomach. After one cocktail you'll park yourself at the buffet table, chowing down one too many egg rolls. Even if you can resist temptation at the party, you'll probably raid your fridge on the way to bed.

If you know you're headed to a cocktail party after work, be sure to drink extra water throughout the day and have a protein-packed snack before you go. Youll make smarter choices at the party, plus youll feel a whole lot better the next morning.