Sometimes, it’s not the big changes that make a difference in our lives, it’s the small things. That can be particularly true about what we eat. Case in point: dietitian Paula Norris believes that small, almost imperceptible changes in our daily diet can make a huge difference to our weight, either favorably or unfavorably — and consequently our health. She does that by posting two relatively similar images of seemingly healthy meals side by side in her Instagram account, @movingdietitian. The difference is that although the images look similar, one is usually significantly more calories than the other – often near or more than double.

She challenges her readers to “spot the difference” between the high calorie and the low calorie version of the meal. She also lists the calories and the differences between each of the meals so you can see exactly what changes make the difference in each. In some examples, like the fruit and yogurt plate below, she notes that although the difference of 170 calories may seem minor, “a few small changes like this across the day can be the difference between weight gain, maintenance and loss.” We’ve presented just a few samples here – she offers many more. .

We think these side-by-side comparisons are pretty compelling. Her Instagram has other great tips about making healthy choices in your diet, giving proof to the saying that a picture is often worth a thousand words. Her focus on making small changes and healthy choices remind us of some observations of “mindless eating” by professor Brian Wansink – see our post: Mindless eating: How we are tricked into eating too much.

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Both of these meals are healthy but depending on your goals you may make some modifications for more or less calories. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This one is also important as while good fats are ofcourse amazing for and required by our bodies- the calories can add up. So if you’re trying to move some weight you need to be aware of portions of even good fats. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🔸On the left • Large (220g) Salmon fillet (when raw) • 2tsp oil for pan frying • 1 serve (~200g) soba noodles • 1 Tbsp Edamame • 1/4 carrot – julienned • 1/2 cup cooked spinach • 25g Broccoli (~2 florets) • 1/2 medium Avocado 🥑 • 1 tsp lime juice • 1/4 cup basil • 1/2 tsp sesame seeds ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🔹On the right • Small (150g) Salmon fillet (when raw) baked without added fat • 1/3 serve (~70g) soba noodles • 2 Tbsp Edamame • 1/2 carrot – julienned • 3/4 cup cooked spinach • 50g Broccoli (~2 florets) • 2 cherry tomatoes • 1/4 medium Avocado 🥑 • 1 tsp lime juice • 1/4 cup basil • 1/2 tsp sesame seeds ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ A fish spot the difference for you @judithhross 😚 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

A post shared by Paula Norris, Dietitian 🇦🇺 (@movingdietitian) on

SMALL CHANGE DIET ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ While 170 Calories difference doesn’t seem huge, a few small changes like this across the day can be the difference between weight gain, maintenance and loss ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 3 almost unnoticeable changes like this across your day will cut the calories required to lose 0.5kg per week. So while 170 Calories doesn’t sound like much, it can help you get to your goals. And because the difference between these bowls in bulk is minimal, both will be filling! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ On the left 🔹3/4 cup muesli 🔹100g full fat yoghurt 🔹1Tbsp sultanas 🔹1/4 cup mixed berries 🔹1 Tbsp Chia seeds 🔹1 tsp Pomegranate seeds ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ On the Right 🔸1/2 cup muesli 🔸100g reduces fat yoghurt 🔸3/4 cup mixed berries 🔸2 tsp Chia seeds 🔸1 tsp Pomegranate seeds

A post shared by Paula Norris, Dietitian 🇦🇺 (@movingdietitian) on

Too big a burrito? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Ok so the size of the wrap (which saves about 100cals) makes this one more obvious but the other differences save you an extra 300cals! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🔸On the left • Large wrap • 1tsp oil for cooking • 1/2 brown onion • 160g Regular mince • Taco seasoning • 1/2 tin tomatoes • 1 cup lettuce • 1/2 tomato • 50g Avocado • 40g cheese ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🔹On the right • Medium wrap • 1/2 brown onion • 100g Extra lean mince • 50g black beans • 1/3 Zucchini • 1/2 medium carrot • Taco seasoning • 1/2 tin tomatoes • 1 cup lettuce • 1/2 tomato • 25g Avocado • 20g Low Fat cheese ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

A post shared by Paula Norris, Dietitian 🇦🇺 (@movingdietitian) on

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