It’s fall, and that means rocking your favorite sweaters and drinking all of the pumpkin spice churro milkshakes. But it also means bonfires, dinner parties and the start of holiday gatherings are near, all of which can be red flags for anyone trying to stick to a diet. Why? Because where there’s a party, there’s usually booze (at the good ones, anyway). Unfortunately, alcohol is pretty much a diet’s worst enemy. But it doesn’t have to be, according to Keri Glassman, registered dietician, published author and founder of and The Nutrition School. Read on for her top tips to party on without sacrificing your healthy eating habits.

Happy friends enjoying dinner, toasting with red wine

1. Pick your nights carefully. Contrary to popular belief, you can have tons of fun sans-alcohol. Keri agrees, noting that not every night needs booze to bring the fun. She adds, “Going to sushi and then seeing a movie with a girlfriend? You don’t actually need a drink before going to the theater. Instead, keep nights like these clean and indulge in conversation with your bestie instead.”

2. Skip the first drink of the evening. Trust when we say, we know how hard it can be to refrain from a cocktail when you’re already in the party mindset. But Keri warns that when you go for a cocktail the minute you arrive, chances are you end up overeating, because your defenses will be down when you’re feeling a little buzzed. (Been there.) She says, “Instead, start with a club soda with a wedge of lime or lemon. You’ll hydrate and skip the first calories from the cocktail while you get a little something (healthy) in your belly.”

3. Swap every other drink with a water or club soda. When rounds are being exchanged, the last thing you want to be is the party pooper of the group. But Keri encourages everyone to consider the one-to-one ratio of alcohol to hydration. “Challenge yourself to do this — you’ll cut down on calories and a hangover.”

4. Have absolutely no sugary drinks. While it might seem like a no-brainer to avoid sugar when you’re trying to eat healthier, it can be tough to spot not-so-obvious sugary drinks. Seemingly safe options like tonic water, cranberry juice and ginger ale all have a ton of sugar. Keri says, “Stick with vodka or tequila on the rocks. Or a glass of wine, preferably as a seltzer. No added juice, soda or syrups. Ever.”

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