1. Wait out the urge to have seconds
We’ve all finished off a delicious meal, instantly gone back for seconds, then realized too late that we’re uncomfortably stuffed. That’s because it takes up to 20 minutes for your cerebellum to register that you’re full, says nutritionist Wesley Delbridge, of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Before having another helping, wait 10 to 20 minutes and drink a glass of water,” he says. “If you’re still hungry after that, they have a smaller second serving.” Possibilities are, though, you’ll accomplish you don’t actually want more.
2. Cut up your food
Whether you’re eating a sirloin, salmon fillet, bagel, or omelet, try cutting your food into small pieces before taking a single bite. In a recent participants given a cut-up bagel ate less of it than those handed an intact bagel. They also consumed less food at a free lunch served 20 minutes later. The researchers say pre-cutting food makes each bite more satisfying, thereby helping with portion control.
3. Brush or floss after meals
Once you’ve finished lunch or dinner, bust out the toothbrush or dental floss, suggests nutritionist Heather Mangieri, owner of Nutrition CheckUp in Pittsburgh. When your teeth feel clean and your breath is minty, you’ll be less apt to nibble mindlessly.
4. Plan ahead for business trips
Traveling for business can make it super tough to eat healthy. To lessen your likelihood of ordering fattening entrées on a whim, Delbridge advises figuring out which restaurants you’ll hit, researching their menus online, and making healthy choices ahead of time. He also suggests taking advantage of the coffee maker and packet of instant oatmeal in your hotel room. That quick, small breakfast or snack can at least tide you over until you can find something more substantial and nutritious.
5. Count your bites
Nobody wants to dine with a tally sheet. However, tracking the number of bites you take per day can help you trim excess calories from your diet. Brigham Young University researchersrecently asked a group of students to count their daily bites and then reduce that number by 20 percent throughout the next month. Those who did so lost an average of four pounds. This isn’t rocket science slashing calories oftentimes leads to weight loss—but it’s a way to get a sense of your eating habits so you can improve them.