General Tips

  • Eat at least three times per day.
  • Pay attention to your body. When you feel like you have had enough to eat, stop. Quit before you feel full, stuffed, or sick from eating. You can have more if you are really hungry.
  • If you still feel hungry or unsatisfied after a meal or snack, wait at least 10-15 minutes before you have more food. Often, the craving will go away.
  • Drink plenty of calorie-free drinks (water, tea, coffee, diet soda). You may be thirsty, NOT hungry. Remember, our body does not know the difference between thirst and hunger.
  • Pick lean meats, low-fat or nonfat cheese, and skim (nonfat) or 1% fat milk instead of higher-fat/higher-calorie choices.
  • Get plenty of fiber. Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are good sources.
  • Cut back on sugar. For example, drink less fruit juice and regular soda.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol (beer, wine, and liquor) that you drink.
  • Keep all food in the kitchen. Eat only in a chosen place, such as at the table. Don’t eat mindlessly (ie; in the car or the bedroom or in front of the TV or computer) .

Food Preparation

  • Plan meals ahead of time.
  • Try cooking methods that cut calories:
    • Cook without adding fat (bake, broil, roast, boil).
    • Use nonstick cooking sprays instead of butter or oil.
    • Use low-calorie foods instead of high-calorie ones when possible.
  • Cook only what you need for one meal (don’t make leftovers).
  • If you do make extra portions, put them away as soon as they are ready so you can save them for other meals. Store the leftovers in containers that you can’t see through.
  • Cook when you are not hungry. For example, cook and refrigerate tomorrow’s dinner after you have finished eating tonight.
  • Make fruits, vegetables, and other low-calorie foods part of each meal.
  • Drink water while you cook.


  • Drink a glass of water before you eat. Drink more during meals.
  • Use smaller plates, bowls, glasses, and serving spoons.
  • Divide your plate into four equal parts. Use one part for meat, one for starch (such as pasta, rice, potatoes, or bread), and two for nonstarchy vegetables.
  • Do not put serving dishes on the table. This will make it harder to take a second portion.
  • Put salad dressing on the side instead of mixing it with, or pouring onto your salad. Then dip your fork into the dressing before you spear a bite of salad.
  • Change your usual place at the table.
  • Make mealtime special by using pretty dishes, napkins, and glasses.
  • Eat slowly. Take a few one-minute breaks from eating during meals. Put your fork down between bites. Cut your food one bite at a time.
  • Enjoy fruit for dessert instead of cake, pie, or other sweets.
  • Leave a little food on your plate. (You control the food; it doesn’t control you.)
  • Remove your plate as soon as you’ve finished eating.
  • If there’s no good use for leftovers, throw them out!


Snacking can be part of your plan for healthy weight loss. You can eat six times per day as long as you plan what to eat and don’t eat too many calories.

  • Plan ahead. Be sure to have healthy snacks on hand. If the right food is not there, you may be more likely to eat whatever is available, such as candy, cookies, chips, leftovers, or other “quick” choices.
  • Keep low-calorie snacks in a special part of the refrigerator. Good choices include the following:
    • Reduced-fat string cheese, low-calorie yogurt, and nonfat milk.
    • Washed, bite-size pieces of raw vegetables, such as carrots, celery, pepper strips, cucumbers, broccoli, and cauliflower. Serve with low-calorie dips.
    • Fresh fruit.

Eating and Emotions

Do you use eating to deal with feelings other than hunger, such as boredom, being tired, or stress? If you eat for these reasons, here are some other things you can try:

  • Call a friend for support.
  • Use inspirational quotes to help you avoid the temptation to eat.
  • Take a warm bath or shower.
  • Listen to music or a relaxation CD.
  • Take a walk.
  • Try activities that keep you from eating. For example, it’s hard to eat while you’re exercising. If you are gardening, you probably won’t eat while your hands are covered in soil.