Thinking about your food choices can help you be mindful of what you're eating, but it also gives you an opportunity to justify your indulgences, according to new study findings.

"People seem to be very creative in coming up with such reasons," says lead author Jessie De Witt Huberts, a Ph.D. candidate at Utrecht University, located in the Netherlands. "They can justify having the cake on account of the fact that it’s been a hard day, that they will exercise tomorrow, that it is a special occasion, or that it is impolite to refuse."

The key is to trick your stomach and your subconscious into feeling fuller so that you're not tempted to even consider a second helping.

For one, make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day and during your meals, because thirst can easily be mistaken for hunger. Also, start your meals with veggies - they're packed with water and also contain a ton of filling fiber.

Visual cues can also override your subconscious into thinking you've eaten more than you actually have. Take advantage of this by using smaller spoons. The more times you have to scoop, the less you end up putting on your plate and in your belly, says Glassman. And of course, try to avoid large plates whenever possible - research from the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University shows that people who eat off of 6-inch plates feel like they’ve put away about 18 percent more than they really have—which means you won’t be in a situation where you’re thinking about if you should have second helpings.