Just because Jenny Anderson is a dietician doesn't mean she's perfect. Her splurge is shopping.

Just because Jenny Anderson is a dietician doesn't mean she's perfect. Her splurge is shopping.

"My husband always tells me, 'Jenny, you can have anything you want. You just can't have everything you want,' " said Anderson, who's on staff with the Ohio State University Managed Health Care Systems. "That's something I've been telling my clients for a long time."

Those trying to avoid gaining weight should view a buffet table exactly the same way: You can have chips and cheese dip, steak sliders, cheesecake or eggnog-but not all of them.

Do allow yourself to have your favorite, though. Because if you rule out a food you really want, Anderson said, it'll likely end up backfiring.

"The more you tell yourself you can't have it, the more it's speaking to you," she said. "Then you end up having it, and you end up having way more than you would have if you'd given yourself permission to have it."

Here, she offers practical tips to help steer your stomach in the right direction.

PARTYING Tips & Tricks

Have a healthy snack before you go.

Fill up at least partway while you still have the opportunity to eat healthy. Then, when you arrive, focus on the party. The people and conversations are what you really came for, right? Direct your focus away from the food.

Fill your plate with veggies first.

Leave room for tasty treats-but not a lot.

Drink a glass of water between every calorie-filled drink, or carry around the same drink all night.

If an empty glass gives you the urge for a refill, sip on just one all night to keep your hand (and mind) occupied. The more alcohol you drink, the more you tend to eat.

Savor each bite.

Take time to enjoy what you're eating instead of just mindlessly munching.

Use pennies to keep track of how much you eat.

It sounds silly, but it works, Anderson said: Decide before you leave how many "bites" of food you'll eat at the party, and put the same number of pennies in one pocket. Each time you take a bite, move a penny into the other pocket. Remember, each bite you take is probably about 50 calories, she added.