10 Ways to Trick Yourself into Eating Less

The brain can be retrained into eating less food. One way is by eating more foods that are rich in nutrients but low in calories. In essence, it all comes down to being mindful of what you eat and eating with a purpose. Decreasing the amount you eat starts with being intentional. This will require both time and effort. However, there are some tips to help you accomplish tricking your brain into eating less and being happy with it.

1. Portion Control. Even though it sounds way too simple, eating less is the best way to eat less. Control your portions rather than eating freely. Learn more about appropriate serving sizes and stick to those when filling your plate. If you fill the plate with correct serving sizes rather than heaping it up or serving from the center of the table, you are likely to eat less.

2. Check Nutrition Facts. Underestimating the amount of calories are in a food or a meal can lead to being overweight. Many restaurants make nutrition facts available online or if you ask, they can be provided. You also have the option of googling it. Reading food labels while grocery shopping can also help you avoid high-calorie foods.

3. Snack Carefully. Just because you buy a prepackaged snack doesn’t mean you are safe when it comes to serving sizes. A single pack of an item often contains a larger version. When checking out snacks, your brain can trick you. Carefully consider each snack and make sure you have a true serving size.

4. Eat in Well-Lighted Areas. Eating in a darkened room while sitting in front of the television is a bad practice. Instead, try eating at the kitchen table in the light. Focus on your meal and think about entertainment later on. People tend to eat more in dimly lit rooms than in areas with brighter lighting.

5. Try meal Planning. One way to use portion control is to pre-package snacks using small baggies. But you don’t have to limit this practice to just snacks. Meal planning and preparing in bulk can be helpful to avoid overeating. When you meal plan, you can clean your plate while reducing the total amount of food eaten.

6. Leverage High-Protein Snacks. Before doing out to eat try eating a snack high in protein. A protein bar, chia pudding, guacamole and eggs, or black bean brownies are examples of a high-protein, healthy food to eat before heading to a restaurant.

7. Eat More Veggies First. Adding lots of healthy vegetables to your plate and eating them first might trick your brain. Even if you still consume all your food, you at least got the healthiest items in first. It may help reduce the overall amount of food you eat.

8. Keep Prepared Foods Out of Reach. Keeping the seconds on the stove instead of bringing them to the table may help you eat less. Study participants ate about 35% less when food was kept out of reach.

9. Beware of “Labeling Bias.” Just because food is labeled as “organic” doesn’t mean it is healthy or low-calorie. Buying organic helps you avoid chemicals like Monsanto Roundup which can be dangerous to your body and your health. But, that doesn’t mean it’s a healthy option. For instance, organic cookies are still full of sugar. Become familiar with labeling bias and best practices and learn how to identify the true nutritional value of foods whether they are organic or not.

10. Use Smaller Serving Plates. Using smaller plates and bowls means less food to fill them up. Your eyes see a “full” plate, but it likely contains less food and fewer calories than a larger plate. You just cannot put as much food on a small plate as on larger ones. You save calories by eating less even though your eyes were tricked into thinking you had more food.