University of Minnesota psychologist Traci Mann, author of "Secrets From the Eating Lab," offers these tips:

• Don't leave the knife in a pan of brownies (or cake or pie). Easy access to the knife makes it easier to keep slicing off a new piece instead of stopping at one helping.

• Serve food on smaller plates. This little optical illusion works because it tricks your brain into thinking you're eating more food.

• Dine with friends who have good eating habits. The pressure to conform to what others are doing is very powerful. Once you have learned the norms of your friends (such as eating fewer cookies), you tend to follow them, even when you are alone.

• Eat your vegetables first. Place them out before the rest of the food arrives to eliminate the competition.

• When you do succumb to temptation — and you will sometimes! — savor every bite. You'll enjoy it more and will be less likely to overeat.

Allie Shah