Every year, I devise a plan before I get anywhere near the dinner table to make sure I don't slip into a food coma.

Stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy aren't usually part of a low-cal diet, but you can still savor Thanksgiving dinner without falling off the weight loss wagon. Here are my favorite tips:

1. Start prepping early. No, I don't mean the turkey. Cut alcohol, coffee, and red meat from your diet for a few days prior to the big event. You shouldn't starve yourself, but try to eat lighter foods and limit your sugar intake.

2. Eat sensibly all day. Don't skimp on meals all day in order to save some room for Thanksgiving dinner—you'll end up overeating and doing more damage. Aim to eat something every four hours: Have an egg-white omelet for breakfast, fruit and low-fat cottage cheese midmorning, and a piece of whole-wheat toast with peanut butter a few hours before dinner.

3. Slip on something fitted. You'll be less likely to overeat if you're not hiding beneath an Empire waist dress or loose top.

4. Go in with a plan. Fill most of your plate with turkey, salad, and green beans and leave a quarter left for the fun stuff. Serve yourself a golf-ball-size portion of three of your favorite treats. A few bites of stuffing or sweet potatoes won't derail your weight loss efforts. For dessert, savor two golf balls of pie—choose your favorites—or swap out one of the flavors in favor of a small scoop of ice cream.

5. Stick with just two cocktails. Alcohol can lower your inhibitions, causing you to overdo it on the mashed potatoes. Limit yourself to two drinks for the night—either wine or a clear liquor—and be sure to drink lots of water in between.

6. Savor your leftovers wisely. Split what's left of your Thanksgiving feast into individual Tupperware containers. Add a slice of turkey, some green beans, and a scoop of one side of your choosing, and then stick the containers in your freezer. You'll have an individual Thanksgiving ready in minutes for whenever you need to fix a quick dinner. If you're feeling more creative, use your leftover meat to whip up turkey salad with low-fat mayo and serve it over greens with dried cranberries and walnuts.

7. Get rid of temptations. Send any leftover pies home with your guests!