12 expert tips for smarter sips this holiday season

This story was originally published in December 2015.

'Tis the season for holiday parties, family reunions and, of course, temptation. With all the socializing you'll probably be doing this holiday season, it's likely there will be plenty of alcohol around.

» RELATED: 8 skinny holiday cocktails you can drink without guilt

Kristen Smith, a registered dietitian at Atlanta Medical Center, says you can handle this boozy holiday season the smart way.

Here are 12 tips from Smith to keep in mind throughout the next couple of weeks:

1. Remember that all calories count, even liquid calories.

2. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, moderate alcohol consumption is defined as 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 per day for men.

3. Be aware of portions for different alcoholic beverages. Beer: 12 oz. Distilled liquor: 1.5 oz. Wine: 5 oz.

4. Sip on your beverage instead of gulping so you drink less and can enjoy your beverage longer.

5. If you're drinking wine, try drinking a darker one, like a red, so you can better visualize your consumption. Smith said it's harder to visualize how much you're drinking with white wine.

6. Once you start mixing liquor — like soda for a cocktail — the calories and carbs start to pile up. Replace sugary mixers with low calorie ones like carbonated water, diet soda or sugarfree juice.

7. Drink water. Have a glass before you start drinking and try to accompany your alcoholic beverages with water.

» RELATED: An Atlanta drinker's guide to the holidays: Where and what to drink

8. Have a game plan before the event of how much you'll drink and what types of drinks you plan to consume.

9. Maintaining healthy meal schedules during the day helps to maintain a healthy metabolism, Smith said.

10. Be sure to eat a small meal or snack before you start drinking. According to Smith, this will help you avoid alcohol intolerance and prevent you from consuming higher caloric foods during your booze time that you wouldn't typically eat.

11. To make a drink last longer, dilute it with sparkling water.

12. Make yourself a mocktail with sparkling water and a squirt of fresh lime for socializing.

Happy drinking — er, happy holidays!

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