1) Skim fat off greasy soups or sauces with ice cubes. Call it a miracle of modern science—or just a principle of basic physics—but but dropping an ice cube into an oily soup, stew, casserole or sauce will attract fat, which can then be scooped out with a spoon. Move quick; the ice cube melts fast.
2) Chew, chew, chew, chew…and chew some more. According to Darya Rose, PhD, and author of Foodist, studies have shown that when people slow down, chew thoroughly, and focus on the attributes of the food, they enjoy it more and naturally eat less. FWIW, posting a food pic on Instagram does not count as appreciating your meal.
3) Eat from small red dishes. Last year, an Italian study of 130 people found that people ate fewer pretzels when they were served on red plates versus blue or white plates, perhaps because red tends to signal danger. Research also shows that putting food in smaller vessels helps curb mindless consumption.
4) Turn off your taste buds with a Listerine strip. You know those moments when you’re really, really not hungry and yet, you’re craving pretty much anything? New York City PhD Stephen Gullo, and author of The Thin Commandments, advises patients to pop in a bracing Listerine strip. It knocks out the taste buds and the sense of smell, which in turn curbs temptations, he says.
5) Take five days off every week from hardcore dieting. An English study found that over the course of four-months, women who kept to a strict diet (650 calories, or 50 grams of carbohydrates and unlimited protein) twice a week, with no more than 2,000 calories on the other five days, lost more weight than those who were told to eat 1,500 calories daily. Note: that doesn’t mean your off days are cheat days.
6) Make sure that at least a quarter of every meal is veggie-based. In a study at Pennsylvania State, subjects who were given meals that had 25 percent vegetables consumed 350 fewer calories in the day than those who ate veggie-free dishes.
7) Embrace vinegar. Acetic acid, the primary compound in vinegar, slows the speed the stomach empties—meaning that it can increase feelings of satiety. There’s also research that shows it reduces glucose levels and fat storage. Drizzle it on salads, but a few tablespoons in soup, or even take a tablespoon or two medicine-style before each meal.
8) Eat from the pastel food groups. Gullo says that the dieter’s food pyramid looks a little different than the FDA’s: Seafood, egg whites, high-protein yogurts (like Greek version) and low-carb green and white vegetables, are “the path to skinny.”
9) Make eggs an essential part of your diet routine. So, scientists aren’t entirely sure why, but in research at Louisiana State University, they found that dieters whose breakfast contained eggs lost more than those whose didn’t—even though the brekkies contained the same number of calories. Also: Doesn’t have to be egg whites.
10) Stop over-accessorizing your salads. The same rule that applies to outfits applies to leafy greens. New York City nutritionist Lauren Slayton, author of The Little Book of Thin advises her clients to choose one accessory—avocado, cheese, nuts—per salad.
11) Shots, shots, shots. No, this is not a joke. Leave it to Mexican researchers to determine that agavins, a type of sugar from the agave plant, which is used to make tequila, can’t be digested, doesn’t raise blood sugar, and may help you lose weight. Salt, lime, yes.
12) Pop the bubbly…water. It’s not that surprising that a lot of times when we reach for food we’re actually just thirsty. But Gullo adds this twist: Carbonated water tricks the body into feeling fuller than regular tap water.
13) Get your fiber from fruit…not Fiber One. Well fine, if you like Fiber One, that works for you. But prunes, avocado, and blackberries also have a lot of fiber—a key component to satiety—and are a lot more palatable.