The holiday season means many things to many people but it’s probably fair to say that this particular time of year centers on a lot of food. And it is mostly decadent, calorie-rich food. From Thanksgiving stuffing and candied yams to Christmas maple-glazed ham and iced cookies, this time of year makes it very difficult to stay healthy.

Here’s the thing, though. Staying healthy doesn’t have to mean restricting yourself from partaking in the eating and drinking festivities, but rather can mean focusing on ways to enjoy but not overindulge. After all, it is the holidays and you don’t want to be rude by declining a piece of your co-worker’s homemade pumpkin pie or your neighbor’s frosted gingerbread cookies.

The Daily Herald had some good suggestions on helpful Tips and how to eat healthily during the Holiday Season. Here are some of them.

1. Limiting is key

There is nothing wrong with sampling the cheese station or enjoying a glass of champagne at a holiday gathering. But perhaps it’s worth a second thought if you have three glasses or eat half the block of sharp cheddar. How healthy is that? This is a time of year where it's especially important to summon all your willpower so that you can allow yourself to a taste or two but keep it at that.

2. Ask for help

Co-pilots are not only for airplanes. Ask a spouse, friend, sibling, parent, anyone you feel comfortable with, to help you limit yourself. Some may jump at the task; others may wonder why it’s necessary.

Explain that you want to enjoy the holiday food but not indulge too much and helpful reminders are welcome to help you stay on your health track. Also, involving someone else helps to hold you accountable for your actions.

3. Don’t always clear your plate

I know. This goes against everything your parents ever told you. But this isn’t about waste.

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It’s about portion control. Rather than order your own dish, think about sharing food with someone else. Or perhaps take home half a portion so you can leave room for the dessert table. Also, the homeless would likely accept your take-out. Keep that in mind when leaving holiday events.

4. Be straight with yourself

We can be our own worst enemy.

Know ahead of time what you want to do before you attend any holiday event. Are you going to have two glasses of wine or would you rather eat your calories? Can you say 'no' to more than one slice of garlic bread? Should you buy a bag of chips when you know you’ll be going to a party later that day? Own your choices, healthy and otherwise, and accept the consequences. The more aware you are of what you choose to do, the more understanding you will have of your situation and your role in it.

5. Be prepared

One of the best ways to stay healthy during the holidays is to prepare yourself for what’s to come. Set yourself up for success by doing your homework. If you are going to be in meetings all day and then have a Christmas party to attend, why not wash some carrots and put them in a sandwich bag to snack on rather than hitting the office snack room?

And if you know there are not going to be many healthy options around, why not put a protein bar in your bag to make sure you get some needed protein?

Staying healthy during the holidays ultimately comes down to the choices you make. Hopefully, these five handy tips will help you make healthy choices during the holiday season so you can stay on track and not undo any work you've previously done while also allowing yourself to partake in holiday food and beverage festivities. Happy holidays!