It’s common to indulge on special occasions. But it doesn’t always stop there, does it? Buffets, potlucks, or at-home meals you can’t get enough of!

Sometimes we overeat on regular days, during regular meals or with non-stop snacking.  

Whether you’re a frequent or an occasional overeater, the after-effects are real and bothersome. Digestive distress, extra pounds, guilt, or fatigue…so many consequences!

Read on if you’d like three simple tips to help you avoid all of this. Psst, turn these into habits and ditch the willpower!

Tip #1: Start with some water

Some studies have shown that drinking a glass or two of water before a meal can help reduce the amount of food eaten. My caveat here is to drink 20 – 30 minutes before eating, as drinking liquids with meals can interfere with the digestive process. (Don’t worry about taking just a few sips with your meal though).  

This will also help ensure you’re getting enough water to stay hydrated, which is important for many reasons. As an aside, drinking enough water has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism! Win-win!

And did you know that it’s possible to sometimes confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger? Your stomach may actually be craving a big glass of water rather than a feast.

Tip #2: Salad Comes Next!

After water but before that rich, creamy main dish, insert a salad.

Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they contain two secret satiety weapons: fiber and water.

Fiber and water help fill you up and make you feel fuller. They’re “satiating”.

And since it takes twenty minutes for your brain to catch up with your tummy, you won’t need to eat as much of your main dish if you have a salad first.

Tip #3: Plate Your Food On Smaller Dishes

While studies on food intake relative to plate size have been contradictory, one cannot dispute that there is less room on a smaller plate for the foods you love to eat, which don’t love you back!

And if you actually follow my first two tips, you’ll have less room for a second helping.

Bonus: Take Water to the Next Level!

Find plain water boring? Here are six ideas to up the flavor and aesthetic appeal to your water. The longer they sit, the better the flavor, so make up a jug and sip throughout the day!

  • Slices of lemon & ginger
  • Slices of strawberries & orange
  • Slices of apple & a cinnamon stick
  • Chopped pineapple & mango
  • Blueberries & raspberries
  • Cucumber slices and fresh mint

Best Tip Yet: buy a bag (or several bags) of frozen chopped fruit and throw those into your cup, thermos, or uber-cool mason jar in the morning.  They’re already washed and cut, and will keep your water colder longer!


Robinson E, Nolan S, Tudur‐Smith C, et al. Will smaller plates lead to smaller waists? A systematic review and meta‐analysis of the effect that experimental manipulation of dishware size has on energy consumption. Obesity Reviews 2014; 15: 812–821. [PubMed]

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