Study time: the white-plate diet

We've already learned from Brian Wansink at Cornell University that choosing the right size bowls and plates could help you eat less. "The bigger your dinnerware, the bigger your portion. If you use larger plates, you could end up serving 9 percent to 31 percent more than you typically would," he says.

Now a study appearing in the Journal of Consumer Research indicates that another way to reduce "bowl bias" is through color -- such as changing the color of a tablecloth or a plate. "In a field study, participants were asked to serve white-sauce or red-sauce pasta on either a large white or a large red plate. On average, changing the color of the plate so it was high contrast reduced how much people served by 21 percent, and changing the color of the tablecloth reduced how much people served by 10 percent," the study says.

Bottom line: Reduce the size of your plates and try using plain white dishes -- so you can see the foods you are eating.

-- Charles Platkin, Ph.D., M.P.H,