It’s here. 

The time of year when everyone’s calendars are packed with holiday parties, happy hours, office potlucks, and cookie exchanges. 

When we’re surrounded by cake, candy, and cookies and when healthy eating habits seem to mysteriously vanish. 

Eating clean on a random Tuesday afternoon can be challenging enough. Throw in a festive mood and pumpkin spice everything, and sticking to your healthy diet can feel downright impossible during the holiday season. 

If you’re committed to eating healthy over the next three months and you’d rather not drown yourself in eggnog and candy cane martinis, here are five effective ways to politely pass on the pecan pie, the gingerbread cookies, and the sweet potato casserole smothered in marshmallows. 

1. No, thank you.

It’s not an excuse. It’s not a lie. It’s not a long-winded explanation of why you don’t eat fruitcake because one time it came in a gift basket your dad got and it didn’t grow mold for seven months. “No, thank you” is a simple way to decline food that doesn’t leave much room for discussion or future arguments because you’re being straightforward. Plus, there’s not much chance for misinterpretation. 

2. Everything looks delicious, but I’m good right now.

Whether or not everything does look delicious, everyone loves a compliment, especially when it comes to something as personal as food. By acknowledging that your coworker’s hash brown casserole on offer looks really good, you’re redirecting attention to him. You’re also implying that you’re not ready to eat just yet but could circle back for a serving later. 

3. I’m trying to eat healthier.

Keeping it honest can be the best answer sometimes. If you are trying to eat healthier and escape the holiday season without an extra 10 pounds in tow, telling the truth works wonders. And saying your intention out loud reinforces your decision and helps hold you accountable. Besides, no one wants to say, “I’m on a diet” and then get caught sneaking 12 cookies. 

4. I’ll try some later.

It can be hard to say no when your coworker is offering up her signature dish. Telling her that you’ll come back for a taste later likely won’t offend her as much as refusing would. And, remember, she probably won’t be keeping tabs on who tried her green bean casserole. If she does catch up with you after the party, you can say you didn’t get a chance to try her dish before the IT department finished it off. Another strategy? Go for some flattery and ask for the recipe. 

5. No, thank you, I’m going to a big dinner party tonight.

You know when you’re going to your favorite restaurant after work and you want to make sure you’ve got room for your favorite entree and maybe a glass of wine? That’s this response. Skipping a meal so you can pig out later is totally relatable (even though banking calories and bingeing might not be the best strategy). And, at this time of year, it’s definitely realistic to have back-to-back events where you could easily overdo it. 

While you always have the option of RSVPing no to the party, no one likes the office Scrooge. So arm yourself with a polite response that you feel comfortable with, a healthy dish to share, and enjoy the festivities!

What are your most effective ways for handling holiday party temptations?  Please comment below.