This is the season of holiday celebrations, football playoffs, and other occasions when family and friends get together over meals and snacks. For people with diabetes, it can be especially challenging to stick to a meal plan.

But you don’t need to sacrifice all of your favorite foods. The key is to make a variety of healthy food choices and limit portion sizes, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states.

Here are some tips to help you eat healthily during gatherings throughout the winter season.

  • Eat a healthy snack. Eating a healthy snack prior to leaving home can prevent overeating at a party.
  • Plan ahead. Check out the party food options before you begin eating, and make a mental note of what and how much you will eat. Your food choices should fit into your meal plan.
  • Bring a dish. Share your healthy dish with family and friends.
  • Move away from the buffet. Fix your plate, and then step away from a table of finger foods to avoid grazing while chatting.
  • Savor the flavor. Eating slowly reduces your chances of overeating.
  • Drink water. Water is a healthy, no-calorie beverage. Drink plenty of it.
  • Trim what you take. Eat smaller portions of food. Trim off extra skin and fat from meat.
  • Party hard! Focus on family, friends, and activities, rather than food. And if you are the cook and your goal is to serve healthy feasts to your guests, follow these tips.
  • Bake it. Broil it. Grill it. Consider healthy alternatives to traditional meats. Choose skinless meat or poultry and avoid fried dishes.
  • Increase fiber. Serve whole-grain breads, peas, and beans as part of your meals.
  • Easy on the toppings. Lighten your recipes by using reduced-fat or fat-free mayonnaise, butter, sour cream, or salad dressing.
  • Focus on fruits. Serve fresh fruit instead of ice cream, cake, or pie.
  • Change high-fat, high-calorie desserts by replacing whole milk or whipped cream with 1 percent or nonfat milk.
  • Serve low-calorie beverages. Offer your guests sparkling water or diet beverages.