It’s not always easy to calorie count. In fact, most of us far underestimate the amount of calories in foods. As you head into this holiday season, keep in mind that some calories are better than others rather than stressing about counting every calorie. Additionally, hit the gym; even if it’s only for 30 minutes. It will jump start your metabolism and you’ll burn more calories throughout the day.

A calorie is a calorie as far as weight gain is concerned. Therefore, when you approach the holiday dinner buffet, limit things like candy, cookies, and processed foods. They are heavy in calories, but will not fill you up. Choose whole grains, protein and high fiber foods. In other words, raid the vegetable and fruit trays. Have a slice of turkey without gravy. The benefit of choosing fruits, vegetables, and other lower-fat foods is that you get more bang for your buck. These foods will keep you feeling full longer, which can prevent you from reaching for “extra” calories in order to fill yourself up. Use a smaller plate. It may seem like a basic concept, but eating smaller portions, and eating them slower, is another key to avoiding weight gain during the holidays. Most of us gauge a serving as the amount we’re used to eating. The more we see huge portions, the more we view them as normal. There is one exception to this rule. There’s no reason to eat fewer vegetables. They are less calorie dense than other foods and, again, high in fiber so they will leave you feeling full. For example, a cup of raw broccoli, has only 31 calories, while the same amount of chocolate ice cream contains close to 285. However, if you must indulge in your favorite treats this holiday season and still want to loosely track those calories, there are several calorie counter mobile and tablet apps out there that will get the job done. Just search your device’s app store for “calorie counting.”

What’s the bottom line? You don’t need to count calories, but you should make all your calories count. Furthermore, a quick workout here and there will help offset your additional calorie intake, while helping you burn more calories throughout the day.