10 Ways to Trick your Brain into Eating Less


Size matters… The size of your plate, that is! Use these 10 brain tricks to help you eat smaller portions.

  1. Use smaller plates, cups and bowls. An appropriate portion of just about anything looks more voluminous—and satisfying—on a smaller plate versus a larger plate with empty space. Apparently our brains interpret that empty space as a void that needs to be filled… yikes!
  1. Drink water before you eat. Thirst sometimes gets mistaken for hunger, so it’s helpful to hydrate before diving into food. Water also helps fill you up, so you won’t eat as much at one sitting.
  1. Front-load with fiber. Enjoy a serving of vegetables before starting your dinner meal (think salad, a handful of cherry tomatoes or carrots). Veggies contain fiber and water, and the combo helps take the edge off your hunger, making it likely you’ll pull back on portions at your main meal.
  1. Order an appetizer portion. It’s less food… but for less money. You didn’t need to eat the oversized dinner portion anyway.
  1. Keep a food journal. Jotting down what, when and how much you eat for a few days can provide valuable insight and help curb unnecessary munching.
  1. Forget freebies. Before gobbling down an edible freebie (like office candy, pastries, etc), first ask yourself if you’d stop to buy it if it weren’t free. If the answer is no, kindly refuse.
  1. Take 5. Ready to grab seconds after finishing what’s on your plate? Force yourself to wait 5 minutes. The urge to eat additional food often diminishes once you’ve had a chance to determine whether it’s really hunger calling or just pure impulse.
  1. Freshen up. Brush your teeth or pop a stick of gum immediately after a meal to help curb post-meal, mindless munching.
  1. Pre-portion snacks. It’s almost inevitable you’ll overeat when you’re munching out of an oversized container with multiple servings. Stay in control of your snacks with this simple rule: portion it, plate it, enjoy it. You can also buy individually-portioned snack bags (hint, hint).
  1. Find non-food rewards. Instead of eating indulgent foods because “you deserve it,” think of other noncaloric ways to reward yourself like a pampering pedicure, a new exercise class, or a relaxing massage.


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