Ugh, I remember that. I only had to be on the crappy meal plan for 1 semester (then I got "sophomore status" thanks to all the AP credits, and could use my meal plan money anywhere on campus, including the little grocery store). But it was annoying not to know how much (or even exactly WHAT) I was eating.
One trick I used was to find the smallest plates (they had them by the salad bar) and use them for everything. It looked like a lot more food if I had each item on its own small plate, rather than putting it all on one big plate with room to spare. I only used big plates for salad.
I even used the little ones in the lines where you DON'T dish up your own stuff... it's easier to get a server to give you only "a little bit" of something if you make them put it on a small plate, lol. Not all of them seem to know what those words mean.