It’s easy to be fat in America. Cornell University researcher Brian Wansink has been hard at work at the Food & Brand lab to discover why we eat more than we think.  Wansink, among other accomplishments, helped add apple slices to the McDonald’s happy meal and conducted the studies that led to the creation of the 100-calorie pack.  Outlined below are some easy ways to trick your mind into eating better.

Don’t eat in front of the television

You’ll eat 24% more if you do. Therefore TV dinners = the worst.

Literally admit “I’m hungry” aloud before eating

One of Wansink’s friends lost over 30 pounds, not by dieting, but by admitting “I’m not hungry but I’m going to eat this anyway.” Declaring this out loud could help stop you from eating out of boredom. Give it a whirl.


GIF courtesy of

 Sit further away from the food at dining halls

mindless eating

Photo courtesy of Brian Wansink at Cornell University Food & Brand Lab

And other smart habits to get into when eating in dining halls or at buffets, shown above.

Use smaller plates

Eat on a big plate (12 inches) and you’ll eat 22% more than if you used a smaller plate (10 inches).  Larger plates make serving sizes seem small, causing us to serve ourselves more. The same goes for cereal bowls.

mindless eating

Photo by Tallie Gabriel

Drink from taller, thinner glasses

We stop pouring a drink when we think the glass is full. We assume the glass is full when its close to the top, ignoring the width of the glass. So choosing a taller glass over a shorter one will cause you to pour less. And that’s science.

mindless eating

Photo by Daniel Schuleman

Keep unhealthy foods out of sight

Literally keep fruits and vegetables out on your counter.  Put chips and cookies out of sight in cabinets or harder to reach places. You’ll eat a lot more fruits and vegetables because you seem them every day. It sounds simple, maybe even silly, but it works.

mindless eating

Photo by Shantal Cheong

Don’t eat in dim lighting

Soft or warm lighting in restaurants increases comfort, causing people to linger, and therefore order unplanned desserts and drinks. The same goes for soft, slow music. Proof here. 

funny animated GIF

GIF courtesy of

And that’s a wrap! Hungry for more? Check out Brian Wansink’s Mindless Eating website for other cool facts like these.