From Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve, the holiday season can entice many Americans to consume extra calories and gain unwanted pounds.

But registered dietitian Mary Atkinson says you can take relatively painless steps to tame the temptation and keep off the pounds.

Atkinson is the director of food and nutrition services at Tucson Medical Center, where she addresses food and weight concerns on a daily basis. She says simple steps can make a big difference in how eaters handle the holidays.

One such step, she suggests, is to eat before you go to a party so that you can have better control of how much you consume.

You can also take food to the party that is good for you so you aren't as likely to try new items that may not be as healthful.

"And always carry a beverage with you when you're at the party, so that you are not tempted to snack and pick up other things--"beverage" being something like water or a spritzer or something that's lower in calories," Atkinson says.

Tucson Medical Center is taking part in the Color Vibe 5 kilometer run on Saturday, Dec. 1. The run will benefit Girls on the Run, a national nonprofit dedicated to inspiring self-respect and healthful lifestyles in pre-teen girls.