Dr. Keith Kantor has been an advocate of natural food and healthy living for 27 years. In 1994, he was appointed CEO of Service Foods, Inc., the largest all natural food company of its kind in the United States. The average American gains between 5 and 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and the end of year, says Kantor, and most of us don’t lose it. While 5 pounds doesn’t sound like much, adding 25 to 50 additional pounds in a 5-year period seriously impacts our health.

“You have to have a plan before you go someplace for the holidays, because we tend to overeat,” Kantor suggests. “You have to think about it and make a concrete effort to eat healthy.”

When we walk into a party or attend a dinner party, we go into sensory overload. Lots of rich food, alcoholic beverages and desserts become the sugarplums dancing in the heads of adults. Kantor doesn’t think we should refrain from enjoying these wonderful treats, but he does think we should do so in – you guessed it – moderation.

“Don’t go hungry to a dinner party or a party,” he suggests. “Eat a late lunch, because what you prepare for yourself for lunch at home will almost always be more healthy than the food at a party.”

Drink lots of water, says Kantor, before and during a meal and especially between alcoholic beverages. “Alcohol is dehydrating and high in calories,” he notes. The less you drink, the less holiday weight you probably will gain.

Many holiday parties and dinners are set up like buffets. This means trouble if you just dive in and start choosing foods. “Survey what they’re serving,” Kantor suggests. “There usually are two or three casseroles, two or three salad dressings and many, many desserts. Think about your choices. If you have to try all three casseroles, remember portion sizes. The servings of those three dishes should add up to one regular serving size, not three regular serving sizes.”

And Kantor stresses that we should remember to exercise, even when schedules book up with holiday parties. If you usually exercise on your way home from work or after work, but you know you have a series of afterwork events coming up, change your exercise routine and work out in the morning. You might hate it while you're doing it, says Kantor, but you'll be happy when you don't gain those five holiday pounds.