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Outwit Your Appetite

If you've ever polished off an entire bag of chips while watching a half-hour sitcom, or plowed through a pile or nachos before your entree arrived, you might think you have little control over your appetite. Yet research shows that the drive to eat doesn't have much to do with actual hunger. "Your appetite can be influenced by the mere sight of food, the portion sizes, and what the people around you are eating or ordering," says Gerard J. Musante, PhD, founder of Structure House, a weight-loss center in Durham, North Carolina. Those are just a few of the factors that cue you to eat when you didn't plan to or to overindulge when you only wanted a taste. Awareness is key to controlling your appetite. And our temptation-taming tactics can help.
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Temptation Trigger: Generous-size plates, serving spoons, and glasses.

The bigger the plate and serving utensil, the more you'll dish out. In one study, people at an ice cream social who were given a large bowl and a 3-ounce scooper ate 53 percent more ice cream than those given a smaller bowl and a 2-ounce scooper. With beverages, research shows that people pour 28 percent more into short, wide glasses than into tall, skinny ones, says Brian Wansink, PhD, director of the food and brand lab at Cornell University.

Slimming Solution: Downsize plates and utensils.

If your dinner dishes are larger than the standard 10.5 inches, use a salad plate for your main dish. Try a tip from Asian cultures and artfully arrange what's on your plate. A small serving of sirloin, for example, will be less likely to leave you hungering for more if sliced and fanned on a pretty plate. Also, use smaller serving utensils, such as soup spoons, for doling out portions. Replace any squat tumblers with tall, slender drinking glasses.

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