The traditions behind each family\u2019s holiday baking are often as unique as the actual recipes themselves. My perfect type A-personality friend Cathy plans and bakes one recipe each day the first week in December. Before anyone knows it, her baking is finished, packed away in color-coded Tupperware and alphabetized in her freezer. My family, on the other hand, always headed for the hills the day I began my baking. They knew what was coming, as they carried in bags upon bags of flour and sugar from the grocery store. When baking day dawned, flour flew as I worked on three recipes at a time, hour after hour, until by midnight, everyone could heave a corporate sigh of relief as the baking was done, the kitchen was tidied and my family lay in an exhausted, sugar-shocked stupor. The holidays could now begin. Whether you relish the making, the swapping or the tasting, holiday baking can be one of the true joys of the season. But, along with the abundance of sweets often comes the mere abundance \u2026 aka holiday weight gain. So if you love your Aunt Edna\u2019s thumbprint cookies but don\u2019t want to inherit her love handles, you might consider establishing a few of your own healthy traditions, beginning with baking day. Here\u2019s a few tips to help you get started: \u2022 Don\u2019t overbake \u2014 We are often so afraid we will end up with no homemade baking in the freezer for those unexpected guests (that never show up) that we end up baking for an army. Better to plan carefully on paper the people to whom you want to give cookies and add in the number you\u2019ll need for your own family and bake that much, no more. \u2022 Don\u2019t bake on an empty stomach \u2014 No need to elaborate here. \u2022 Don\u2019t leave your cakes and cookies where you can see them or get to them easily. A spare freezer with a key works great, or the attic, garage, even a friend\u2019s freezer. Whatever keeps you out of the cookies. \u2022 Bake with a friend \u2014 Stay accountable and share the workload at the same time by baking with someone who understands your struggles. And let them do the taste testing. \u2022 Bake one-piece treats \u2014 Making pies, cakes and breads to give away is a lot safer than cookies. No one will notice a few missed cookies, but they\u2019ll certainly spot the end cut off a Christmas bread. \u2022 Find new light recipes \u2014 If you just don\u2019t feel kitchen-savvy enough to lighten your own recipes, head to my website, kimbensen.com, where you\u2019ll find delicious, light treats you can bake at home. Or stop by our new caf\u00e9, located at 405 Bridgeport Avenue, where you can taste firsthand how delicious light baking can be. Try some of these tips to help you stick with your program through the holidays. Come Dec. 26 \u2026 you\u2019ll be so glad you did. Kim is a lifetime dieter who lost more than 200 pounds. She leads motivational meetings at the Kim Bensen Weight Loss Center, 405 Bridgeport Avenue in Shelton. Or come to Kim\u2019s Light Caf\u00e9 - now open. For more information call 203-513-8722 or visit kimbensen.com.