How to consume fewer calories without feeling like you are on a strict diet

The portions (above) are both similar but people using the bigger plate tend to need more food than those using the smaller bowl.
The portions (above) are both similar but people using the bigger plate tend to need more food than those using the smaller bowl.ST PHOTO: NANCY KOH

Dieticians Daphne Loh from Gleneagles Hospital and Bibi Chia from the Raffles Diabetes and Endocrine Centre gave these tips:

•Small vs large: Use smaller plates and make sure your food contrasts with the colour of the plate. People using large plates tend to take larger portions because the food appears smaller. Strangely enough, studies have also shown that people subconsciously eat more when the colour of the food blends in with the dish on which it is placed.

•Drink up first: Have two glasses of water before your main meals, and when you feel peckish between meals, drink more water. This will help you to feel full.

•Fill up with fibre: Eat foods that are high in fibre. Fibre is not digestible, which means that it takes longer for your stomach to empty. This means that you feel full far longer, which significantly reduces your appetite.

•Trim the fat: Each gram of fat provides more than double the calories in carbohydrates and protein. Choosing food that is lower in fat therefore means a lower calorie intake.

Linette Lai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 23, 2016, with the headline 'How to consume fewer calories without feeling like you are on a strict diet'. Print Edition | Subscribe