# Small Change(s)...Big Difference

Are you a person who enjoys a good sale, getting a good buy, and saving some money?  Lots of people do!  When you pull up to fuel up your car or pickup, do you smile just a little bit now that the prices have come down from where they were?  I do!

My dad always liked “figuring,” and perhaps you do, too.  If so, it’s fun to calculate your savings:  if the gas is even just four cents per gallon less at one vendor than it is at another, and you are getting 20 gallons, right there you’ve saved eighty cents.  If you do that twice a week, you are up to a savings of \$1.60.  Over a month, that calculates to \$6.40, and
it amounts to \$76.80 for the year.  The “multiplier”
effect makes a big difference!

The same principles hold true with calories.  If we can save a few calories here and there by making some little tweaks in our food choices, and we do it repetitively and consistently, over time we will save a big pile of calories.  Here are some relatively painless little tweaks and other proactive steps to consider if you want to cut back on calories and take charge of your weight:

-          Dress, don’t drown, your salad.  Cut the amount of ranch dressing you use in half, and mix in some milk to extend
it.  This saves calories and coins!

-          Instead of ketchup, use salsa.

-          Eat one instead of two anything, and eat it slower so you enjoy it more.

-          Leave the top of the bun off of your sandwich.

-          Procrastinate.  Tell yourself you will have that brownie or candy bar “later.”

-          Drink an eight-ounce glass of water before the meal.

-          Drink eight ounces of water before you break the seal on the bottle or can of soda pop.

-          Split a can or bottle of soda pop to share it with a friend.

-          Use a smaller plate and let the first things you put on it be veggies and fruit.

In balancing a budget, we look at money in and money out.  If we have more coming in than going out we make a profit.  If we spend more than we make, we go backward.

The same is true for calories.  We gain weight when we consume more calories than we spend, use, or “burn,” and we lose weight when we use (burn) more calories than we consume.  If we increase our physical activity level, we burn more calories than when we are physically inactive.  On the consumption side, the key is to choose foods that are high in nutrients and low in calories so that we are well nourished while we are consuming fewer calories with the goal of losing weight. To be “overfed” but “undernourished” is a topic for another day!

Here’s to your success in conquering the small things that accumulate to make a big difference!

For more information and strategies for success with weight management, request “Budgeting Total Calories” from the Extension Office or view it online at https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/foods/fn720.pdf