It’s helpful to create environmental cues that help us eat less, or more healthily, without even thinking about it—like smaller plates and cutlery.

A new series of studies highlights another factor: If we feel satisfied near the beginning of a meal, we’re able to exercise greater control than if we aren’t. Monitoring the unhealthy foods you eat, and how you eat them—even by doing something as small as counting how many times you swallow—can help you feel more satisfied, and therefore stop munching sooner.

Getting the slim benefits of a diet without the diet? Priceless.

MORE: Low-Fat Labels Invite Overeating