Six Tips to Eat Less at Meals

CRegal Jul 18th, 2013 (updated Nov 6th, 2014)
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Let's face it: many people these days want to lose weight, but simply eating less is a lot harder than it sounds. So it can be helpful to know a few tricks that could help you cut back on how you consume. Here are six science-based tips to help you eat less at meals.

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Try the soup
Try the soup

Eating a bowl of low-calorie soup before a meal can help you eat less overall.  According to a Penn State study, people who ate a first course of soup before a lunch entrée generally reduced their total calorie intake - including the soup - by 20 percent. 

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Start with a salad
Start with a salad

Eating salad, of course, will help you lose weight.  But rather than consuming one instead of a meal, research suggests that you can eat a salad as an appetizer and still see benefits.  Published in Consumer Reports, a new study found that eating a low-calorie salad could help you fill up before a meal, reducing the amount that you will want to eat for the rest of your meal.

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Drink water
Drink water

Before you eat, drink a glass or two of water.  Why?  According to research from Virginia Tech, overweight individuals who drank two cups of water before every meal lost more weight on average than those who did not. The theory is that filling your stomach with water can reduce hunger, even though it doesn't have any nutritional value. 

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Chew gum while cooking
Chew gum while cooking

This one is more sense than science: Chewing gum while you cook can help you resist the urge to snack on the ingredients. A University of Rhode Island study showed that, on average, people who chewed gum at lunch consumed 68 fewer calories than those who did not.  The study concluded that the gum helped people satisfy cravings and resist treats.

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Eat with your non-dominant hand
Eat with your non-dominant hand

Ever try eating with your non-dominant hand?  It's hard.  By forcing your brain to think about each bite you take, it reduces the risk of mindlessly stuffing food into your mouth.  Research from the University of Southern California tested the theory by giving moviegoers popcorn and found that participants who used their non-dominate hand ate less than people who ate with their dominant hand.

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Slow down
Slow down

People eat more when they eat faster, taking longer to realize they're full.  In a University of Rhode Island study, 30 women were given nine minutes to eat unlimited pasta  – on average, they consumed 646 calories.  Women prompted to slow down and chew the food 15 to 20 times consumed only 579 calories in a 29-minute period.