The other day I was standing in front of a salad bar and a friend asked me, “Which has fewer calories, sunflower seeds or olives?”
Choosing a lower calorie option within the same food group (in the above case healthy fat) just once at every meal can snowball into considerable savings by the end of the day. As long as you’re opting for ingredients that are equally satisfying and nutrient rich, a few small changes can wind up paying off in a big way over time. Here are a few examples:
Half cup cooked oatmeal topped with 2 Tbsp chopped walnuts and 2 Tbsp raisins
1 cup organic soy milk
Trade the raisins for a half cup of frozen, thawed blueberries to save 50 calories
3 oz chunk light tuna canned in water in a whole wheat wrap with 2 Tbsp balsamic vinaigrette, baby spinach leaves and chopped tomatoes and onions
Swap the wrap for half of a whole grain pita to save 100 calories
Half cup cooked brown rice, half cup black beans, with 1 cup chopped tomatoes, mushrooms, onions and peppers sautéed in 1 Tbsp sunflower oil
Replace the rice with a half cup of corn to save 50 calories
1 cup grapes with 6 oz nonfat yogurt and 2 Tbsp almonds
Choose a light mini babybel cheese rather than yogurt to save 80 calories
Total savings: 280
That may not sound like much, but eating 280 fewer calories a day is enough to help you lose nearly 30 pounds over the course of a year. And to burn those extra 280, a 150 pound person would have to walk at 4 mph for about 45 minutes.
I don’t think that going around counting up every calorie all day long is reasonable for most people, but being aware of subtle differences and becoming somewhat of a calorie sleuth can be a savvy strategy for losing those last stubborn 10-20 pounds without having to make drastic changes to your diet.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts!