Fill up first on soups and salads—and eat fewer calories later.

Fill up first on soups and salads-and eat fewer calories later. Watch: Reduced-Fat VS. Regular Salad Dressing. Which is healthier?

Filling up on fiber- and water-rich foods first can help prevent you from overdoing high-calorie fare later. Research out of Penn State shows that eating a first-course salad can reduce overall calorie intake at a meal by up to 12 percent. And in a study in Appetite last November, people who started lunch with vegetable soup ended up eating 20 percent less than those who skipped the soup.

March/April 2008