No matter how hard I try, I always rush through dinner so I can help my kids with their homework and I end up overeating before I even realize I’m full. How can I prevent this?
A. One easy way to stop overeating: Start off with a salad. A big bowl of leafy greens and veggies will slow you down and give you willpower you never knew you had. According to one study, women who ate 1 1/2 cups of low-calorie salad before a pasta entree consumed 45 fewer total calories at the meal than those who went straight to the entree. When they ate 3 cups of salad, they consumed 107 fewer calories!
You might think that adding a course to your meal would add calories, but when you fill up on salad first, your stomach signals your brain that you’re starting to get full before you’re even close to finishing your entree. That means you’re able to feel satisfied with a smaller portion of pasta, and you end up eating less overall.
Try the winning salad recipe used in the study: Put together a 3-cup mixture of lettuce, carrots, cherry tomatoes, celery and cucumber. Toss that with 2 tablespoons of light shredded cheese and 3 tablespoons of fat-free dressing.
Barbara Rolls, who holds a doctorate in physiology, is a professor of nutritional studies at Penn State University and the author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan: Techniques and Recipes for Feeling Full on Fewer Calories.