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Outwit Your Appetite

Temptation Trigger: Too many choices.

If you always try to have something new for lunch and dinner, your meals are probably more of a calorie splurge than you realize. "A varied diet stimulates your appetite," says Hollie A. Raynor, PhD, RD, assistant professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. The more flavors, textures, and colors a particular meal offers and the less often you eat something, the more you'll be tempted to load up your plate because the food looks good or you're curious about how it will taste.

Slimming Solution: Downplay diversity.

Come up with a standard repertoire of meals. It's easy to get into the habit of having the same healthy breakfast (whole-grain cereal, skim milk, and fruit) five days a week, so why not do something similar with dinner? Raynor suggests rotating five or six of your favorite healthy core entrees. You can branch out one night a week, if you feel you need to. To beat boredom and boost your diet's overall nutrient content, vary the fruits and veggies you use in the repeat meals. Dessert can be the same small dish of low-fat yogurt every night, jazzed up with almonds, walnuts, strawberries, kiwi, fresh pineapple, or whatever's in season.

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