When you don't take in the taste and texture of your food, "you can't register fullness until you're too stuffed to button your pants," says Lisa Young, adjunct nutrition professor at New York University and author of The Portion Teller Plan. The latest in a slew of studies backing this up: Dutch researchers found that we tend to eat more when distracted. Thankfully, eating mindfully doesn't have to mean sitting down for three squares a day. Try these easy tricks for enjoying meals more—while scarfing down less.
Have a slow-food Sunday
Or Monday, or Tuesday—the point is to reserve one night for a lazy, sit-down meal. Grab your man or invite a few friends over, then dim the lights and add music. A glass of wine with food typically enhances the whole experience, says Alice Domar, executive director of the Domar Center for for Mind/Body Health in Waltham, Mass. That may account for research showing that moderate drinkers are leaner.
Dress up leftovers
Spooning last night's pad Thai into a pretty bowl and zapping it in the microwave doesn't take much more time than eating it cold over the sink. Warming food enhances its taste and smell, says Young. So does "putting down your fork between bites and taking the time to chew," she adds.
Own your splurge
Eyeing the bread basket? Take a whole piece and put it on your plate rather than mindlessly picking off broken pieces.
Take a sweet vacation
If polishing off a pint of fro-yo while doing the dinner dishes feels like a tease, wait until the kids are in bed, dish out a few tablespoons of full-fat ice cream and let it melt on your tongue without distraction.