Remembering to cut your dad’s scotch with water. Wearing that hideous sweater your aunt gave you. Using your black-belt-like conversational skills to supplant any political talk with pigskin polemics…By the time the feast finally arrives, the last thing you want to do is sweat over calories.

But here’s the grim reality: Roughly 75% of all the weight we gain over the course of the entire year we gain between November and January, a 2013 study in the European Journal of Clinical Medicine found. “One bad day of eating won’t derail your health,” says Miranda Hammer, R.D., a registered dietitian based in New York City. “The problem is, the big meal commonly begins a cycle of terrible behavior that can lead to a week, a month, a season of poor eating.”

So why not set yourself on a better path from the get-go by, for example, boiling, not roasting, your ham to reduce fat? Opting for butter-free yet still flavorful brussels sprouts? Or replacing those belly-bloating mashed potatoes with a great-tasting cauli ower mix? With these healthy twists on classic holiday plates you won’t have to surrender flavor to stay fit. Bonus: They make delicious leftovers, too.