When it comes to adopting healthy eating habits, most people turn to fancy diets or meal plans that only seem to stick for a hot second. It can be tempting to look for those quick fixes, but instead of restricting yourself to certain foods, you might have more success by, well, tricking yourself into making better choices.
Our minds are powerful, and if we take the right steps, we can trick ourselves into eating healthier and indulging less. If you’re trying to clean up your diet and are looking for a little help, try these seven scientifically-proven tricks to eat healthier.
1. Smell Some Fruit
Keep some fruit around the kitchen or dining room, and give it a whiff before you begin eating. Smelling a fruit before eating something like dessert can help you diminish cravings and guide you in the right direction to choose something healthy, according to research from the journal “Appetite.”
2. Pay Attention To The Color Of Your Plate
The color of your dinnerware matters. Studies from Cornell University show that people serve themselves larger portions when their food matches the color of their plate. If you’re using white, you may end up eating more refined carbohydrates, whereas if you opt for colorful plates, you’ll probably load up on more fruits and vegetables.
3. Tap Your Forehead
It might sound strange, but distracting yourself by tapping on your forehead can help relieve stress and reduce cravings, according to research from the journal Obesity Society. Although forehead tapping works particularly well, any type of distraction from thinking about unhealthy food can help steer you away from actually indulging in it.
4. Grocery Shop With Cash
You might not think it matters when the cashier says cash or credit, but you should always opt for cash. A study from Cornell University found that people are more likely to buy junk food when paying with a credit card, as unhealthy options are usually impulse purchases, and carrying cash requires more planning and thinking ahead.
5. Cut Up Your Food
Eating a food whole can lead you to eat more, according to research from Arizona State University. When students in a study were given a whole bagel, they ate more than those who were given a bagel cut into four pieces. When food is cut up, it tricks your body into thinking you’re eating more than you actually are.
6. Drink A Lot Of Water
Drinking a lot of water can do more than just help you stay hydrated. Research from Appetite found that the beverage you have with your meal can set the tone for how healthy your meal is going to be. Including water can lead you to eat more vegetables, while drinking a soda will probably influence you to choose French fries.
7. Allow Yourself A Little Dessert
We’ve all been told it’s okay to indulge in our unhealthy cravings here and there, and finally science backs this theory up. Research from Cornell University found that eating just a small bite of an indulgent craving is just as satisfying as eating the whole thing—so eat one of those cookies and put the rest of the box away.