Trying to maintain a healthy diet at this time of year can be incredibly difficult. If it isn't the festive fare on offer or the cold weather making you crave comfort food, it is the extra social events that often mean your willpower is heavily tested. 

You might be tempted to turn down invitations for parties or meals out so you don't end up eating things that aren't on your healthy food plan, but there really isn't any need. It is possible to go out and enjoy a good time with friends and family without having to partake in all the vittles. 

Avoid alcohol

Alcohol includes more calories than you might think and, while the odd glass of wine is OK, overdoing it can have a large impact on your diet. As alcohol is formed from sugar, a single drink can be equivalent to foods such as chocolate and biscuits. 

While cutting down on how much you drink will help to avoid your calorie intake, the type of drinks you consume can also be damaging to your attempts at a healthy lifestyle. Drinks that contain cream or alcopops have a much higher number of calories than white wine.

Try having just one alcoholic drink during your social gathering and sticking to water - not sugary fizzy drinks - for the rest of it. You will still  have a good time, but you won't feel guilty and you'll escape the-morning-after headache.

Read the menu

If you're having a meal out you might think that a certain item on the menu looks particularly good, however if you don't read the full description of what you are ordering you could be in for a nasty shock. Not reading a menu properly can mean that you select a meal that has been cooked in an unhealthy way or comes with sides that aren't great for you.

Looking at the small print can ensure that you choose a delicious meal that fits with your healthy lifestyle. If you really want to try something that contains elements you would rather avoid, try asking your server if they can be substituted. Most restaurants are really accommodating and want to make you happy, so, while you might not want to be any trouble, it is always worth asking.

Choose the fish

Most of the time - unless they are cooked in butter or covered in cream - the fish dishes on the menu will be slightly healthier options. Most fish dishes come with a good selection of vegetables, meaning you are sure to get a good sized meal that isn't too unhealthy.

Opting to have fish also means you aren't stuck with salads when all you want is a warm meal. It could also stop your friends and family from commenting on what choice you have made.

Stay clear of desert 

The pudding selection on an evening out is bound to be the most tempting thing on the menu, but it also the most naughty thing you can choose to eat on a night out. Unless you are going to choose a fruit salad, steer clear of sweet treats.

You are still able to have a good time eating out while being social without impacting your healthy diet. All you need to do is be aware of the choices you are making. This doesn't mean you have to announce to everyone why you are not indulging, but you should ensure you make choices that won't make you feel guilty the next day.