DETROIT (WWJ) – The autumn season brings favorites like pumpkin spice lattes and pies. But how do you keep from overindulging?

If you’re heading to a party where you know there will be lots of pumpkin and caramel-flavored goodies, plan ahead.

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That’s the advice of Sarah Johnson, a nutrition educator with Michigan State University Extension.

She says it’s important to be prepared.

“So, if there’s parties that you’re being invited to, offer to take a healthy snack option,” Johnson told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Zahra Huber. “And that doesn’t have to be something that’s boring or always vegetables — although that’s a good idea, too.”

“But, for example, maybe like a flavored popcorn recipe; so you’re getting a whole grain in there, but it’s still fun for fall.” [Get some popcorn ideas from the Food Network, HERE].

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Johnson says moderation is key.

“You want to take the opportunity to enjoy some of these flavors that are only available occasionally throughout the year; but, you know, take little tastes,” Johnson said.

“If you have the opportunity, eat a slice of pumpkin pie. It doesn’t need to be a fourth of the pie; maybe an either of the pie,” she said. “So, kind of just watching how much you’re having of those different things and watching your portions is really important,”

Johnson also says if you’re going to a gathering where sweets will be available, try to eat beforehand so you’re not so hungry and ready to dig in to the unhealthy food.

If you’re hosting your own shindig, offer a fun meal with mandarin orange “brains” or grape “eyeballs” for the kids. For the adults, try seasonal spaghetti squash in place of noodles and top with your favorite pasta sauce.

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Need some more delicious ideas? Check out some “Healthy Halloween and Fall Favorites” from Cooking Light, HERE