HANG A MIRROR IN YOUR DINING ROOM

Research shows that people who eat in front of a mirror enjoy junk food less and as a result, eat less of it.

However, people who sat down to a healthy meal actually felt better about themselves—plus they got more enjoyment out of their veggies. The researchers figure your reflection holds you accountable for your choices and healthy choices spark positive emotions.

CLEAN YOUR KITCHEN

Spending just 10 minutes in a cluttered, disorganized kitchen made volunteers more likely to reach for unhealthy snacks like cookies, according to a study in Environment and Behavior.

They ate about 100 more calories—all of it junk—compared to people in a tidy kitchen (who were more likely to choose carrots to nosh on).

PAY CASH FOR JUNK

Scientists have found that having to dig out cash to get a chocolate or a bag of chips may give you pause enough to reconsider the purchase. The pain of parting with cash stops many impulsive cake and cookie purchases, according to a study of shopping behaviours.

Another trick at the shop is to choose the smaller cart: These researchers also noted people made more impulsive purchases when pushing around a larger cart.

DIM THE LIGHTS

With soft lighting, stress melts away, conversation gets interesting, and mood improves. Oh yeah, and you eat less, according to research published in Psychological Reports.

In the study, participants who ate in dimmer lighting enjoyed their meals more, took longer to eat, and consumed 18 percent fewer calories than people who sat under bright lights.

BEWARE OF ACTION MOVIES

Look, eating in front of the TV is unwise, but we all do it.

So save the snacks for comedies or talk shows, and put the chips away (or pre-measure your portion) when you’re watching action or tear-jerkers, suggests the findings of a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

People scarfed twice as much snack food while watching The Island than they did while watching the talk show Charlie Rose. At the movies, viewers of sad movies ate 28 to 55 percent more buttered popcorn than people who watched comedies.

USE THE POWER OF PEPPERMINT

Just a whiff of peppermint helps control cravings and emotional eating, according to research published in the journal Appetite.

In the study, people who sniffed peppermint every 2 hours felt less hungry, more focused, and consumed 2,800 fewer calories per week than non-sniffers.

A similar study in the UK found the same effect when people wore a vanilla-scented patch. They lost 5 pounds in a month and felt more in control of their diet than people who didn’t wear the patch.

Try some scented vanilla or peppermint candles in the dining room and/or kitchen.

USE A LONG FORK

A long, elegant fork or spoon will slow you down and help you glean more enjoyment from your meal. (The same is true for long chopsticks versus short chopsticks.)

A Taiwanese study in Psychological Reports finds that, weirdly enough, short utensils made volunteers feel the need to shovel in more food. People using longer cutlery reported enjoying their food more, and they took more time between bites and ate less.

DON’T COLOUR COORDINATE

White pasta in a white cream sauce on a white plate equals an overstuffed you: A study in the Journal of Consumer Research, found that people exert better control over portion size when food contrasts with the colour of the plate.

One simple solution: Another study in the International Journal of Obesityfound that simply eating off a plate with a blue rim led diners to perceive their servings to be larger.