You've just finished a pasta dinner, and you're stuffed. So you put on your sweatpants and plop down in front of the TV to relax for the night. But before you know it, you've finished half a bag of potato chips. Welcome to the world of mindless eating.

According to Brian Wansink, one of the nation's top experts on eating behaviors and author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, the average person makes approximately 250 decisions about food every day. Of those, there are more than 200 you probably can't explain, right?

If you're ready to stop eating everything in your line of sight and take control of your eating behaviors, Wansink suggests the following seven action steps:

1. Fill up. You'll feel fuller if you eat foods that are low in calories but high in fiber, and you'll be able to pass on those chips without a second thought. Drinking more water also does the trick.

2. Downsize. Remember, you don't need the biggest plate and the biggest spoon. Eating isn't a race to see who can eat the most with each bite. Instead, use smaller plates and serving utensils to control portion sizes.

3. Pass the plate. Research indicates that 92 percent of Americans eat anything that's put in front of them. But just because it's there doesn't mean you have to eat it all. Pack the rest in storage containers, and save it for lunch the next day.

4. Beware the buffet. Avoid all-you-can-eat buffets, which encourage people to push the limits on how much pizza, pasta, and dessert they can eat before getting sick. This completely destroys any notion of portion control.

5. Slow down. Always remember to eat slowly, even if you're busy. Your brain needs 20 minutes to sense that you're full, and slowing down will enable you to enjoy your meals. You'll feel better afterward too.

6. Don't get distracted. If you're eating, just eat; don't watch TV, drive, or talk on the phone to a friend. Distractions often result in overeating.

7. Give-in occasionally. It's OK to give into temptation every once in a while. So if you just can't get those chips off your mind, then by all means, have a few. But instead of polishing off the entire bag, establish some limits. You'll realize that a single portion is all you really need to satisfy your craving.