exploding fireworks

If your New Year's Eve hurrah tends to turn into a New Year's Day hangover, then it's time for a change. While you want to be able to celebrate and have fun, you also want to avoid overdoing it. Taking the festivities a step too far by eating and drinking too much can set the wrong tone for the year ahead. Instead, steer clear of post-New Year's self-recrimination by finding a healthy balance between enough and too much. Follow these guidelines to nip classic hang-ups in the bud.

Moderate your alcohol consumption

If your plans for ringing in the New Year involve drinking alcohol, it's important to moderate how much you drink. Alcohol affects every organ in the body, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the intensity of alcohol's effect on your body is directly related to the amount that you consume.

How much is too much? The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, defines moderate drinking as no more than one drink per day for women, and two drinks per day for men. This standard holds as true on New Year's Eve as on any other day of the year.

Prevent a hangover

Many myths exist about how to prevent hangovers, and various over-the-counter medicines claim to provide you with immunity from hangovers. But according to the Mayo Clinic, the only surefire way to guarantee that you won't wake up with a hangover is to avoid alcohol. In lieu of tee-totaling, the Mayo Clinic suggests the following as preventive measures that may help:

  • Eat before you drink to help speed up alcohol absorption.
  • Limit how much you drink.
  • Drink a glass of water along with or between alcoholic beverages to help stay hydrated.
  • Don't drink different types of alcohol during the course of the night.
  • Avoid beverages with more congeners (byproducts of fermentation), like brandy and whiskey.
  • Don't feel pressured to drink--decide ahead of time how many drinks you plan to have and stick to it.

Avoid sugary drinks

Alcohol isn't the only culprit at the party. Some nonalcoholic drinks are sugar-laden and can contribute to weight gain, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. Soft drinks and juice-flavored drinks have lots of added sugar and are high in calories. It's easy to consume these drinks in large quantities because they don't make you feel full. Make sure that you aren't glugging these drinks mindlessly as you socialize.

Choose snacks wisely

In addition to drink temptations, you may find yourself face-to-face with many diet-blowing choices in the form of party foods on New Year's Eve. While you may have a hankering for tasty-looking treats and fried hors d'oeuvres, most are filled with saturated fats, refined sugars and flours, and excess calories. Instead of succumbing, try these healthier, lower-cal options:

  • Dips such as hummus and bean spreads (which contain protein and fiber), or salsa (which is naturally low in fat)
  • Veggies like baby carrots and celery sticks, which can go great with the dips above
  • Lean meats and seafood such as chicken skewers, shrimp cocktail, or salmon