Weight Loss Rules to Bend #5: Skip Dessert

Who breaks it: Judith S. Stern, Sc. D., professor of nutrition and internal medicine at the University of California, Davis. She has a "few bites of something decadent" when she dines out.
 
Why you can, too: We all discover a little more room beneath our waistbands when the dessert tray rolls by. Studies show that when you're offered a variety of foods, you never achieve what's known as taste-specific satiety; your appetite is stimulated anew as each novel flavor is introduced. Outsmart your taste buds by planning ahead. Stern's trick: she looks at the dessert menu along with the main menu, and if she decides to end the meal with a dark-chocolate tart, she'll always choose a salad dressing with a little olive oil and vinegar and have an appetizer as her entree.
 
Do it right: Desserts are unsurprisingly high in calories, and chain restaurants tend to serve enormous portions; for example, an Applebee's chocolate chip cookie sundae has 1,620 calories and 73 grams of saturated fat! Order off the kid's menu or get something to share. Also, consider sorbets and chocolate-dipped fruit, which satisfy a sweet tooth for fewer calories. Dining at home? Try a chocolate raspberry parfait: top a half cup of fat-free ricotta cheese with a teaspoon of cocoa powder and a quarter cup of fresh or frozen raspberries. "This snack offers just enoughs sweetness to calm a sugar craving," she says, "and it's packed with filling protein."