12/14/2012 03:33 pm ET Updated Feb 13, 2013

Holiday Tip: Mini-Size It!

Mini-size it! A great way -- perhaps the best way -- to cut calories is to trim your portion sizes, especially of foods that are high in calories. That would include many treats you would find at holiday parties and events such as eggnog, specialty hot chocolates, fancy chocolates, and cakes. The good news about using portion control as a way to trim calories is that you do not have to entirely ban your favorite treats and traditional holiday foods. The key to success, especially during the holiday season, is "moderation." If you crave a fattening food, it is ok to treat yourself to a small serving. In my experience counseling clients attempting to lose weight, deprivation has rarely proven to be a successful way to learn how to tackle holidays and parties.

A few healthy holiday tips:

1. If you are baking a pie for guests, try cutting it into 10-12 slices instead of eight slices.

2. If you are baking holiday cookies, bake smaller ones.

3. Buy mini-muffin pans so you have them handy so you can bake mini-muffins.

4. If you are cooking potato latkes for Chanukah, make smaller ones and use less oil.

5. Eat off of smaller plates.

6. Drink out of smaller glasses. Sip wine, for example, out of a smaller wine glass when possible (if entertaining at home, for example) and limit refills. Liquid calories add up quickly.

7. Eyeball serving sizes using common visuals. Three ounces of meat look like a deck of cards, 1/4 cup nuts looks like a golf ball, and two tablespoons of salad dressing fills a shot glass.

8. Use your hand as a guide. Stick with a portion of meat the size of your palm, and your starch (potato or rice) should be around the size of your fist. (Of course, healthy veggies, without dressing, can be consumed in generous portions.)

As the quote goes: "If you can half-it, you can have it." Or, as I write in my book, The Portion Teller Plan, "What kind of sandwich isn't fattening?" The answer: "A half sandwich."

Happy holidays!

Enjoy family, friends, and of course moderate portions of your favorite foods.

For more by Dr. Lisa Young, click here.

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