A hormone called ghrelin stimulates appetite and makes your stomach growl, says Mehmet Oz, MD, vice chair of surgery and professor of cardiac surgery at Columbia University and co-author of You on a Diet: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management. But just a handful of nuts can cause ghrelin levels to take a dive.
Calorically, the most dangerous part of a meal eaten out is the first 10 minutes when you arrive, famished, and clean out the breadbasket, says Oz. "If you eat a few nuts 30 minutes before dinner, your hunger will drop off dramatically," he says. "By the time you sit down for the meal, you'll be able to slow down, enjoy the food, and stop before you're stuffed."