Did you know, when it comes to a healthy diet, calories do count?  For many, making a few small diet changes can make a big difference in the calories they consume.  This can help them reach a healthier weight.

Listed are a few facts you might not know:

  • An extra 100 calories a day can add up to a total of 10 extra pounds in a year.
  • It takes approximately 20 minutes after the first food enters a person’s mouth before the brain begins to recognize the stomach is filling up.  Eat slowly to be more satisfied.
  • It takes an excess of about 3,500 calories to cause a person to gain a pound.
  • The recommended weight loss is no more than a half to two pounds per week.  Take off extra pounds gradually.

Here’s a list of extra calories that could be eliminated with small changes: (from the University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension)

  • Two pieces of chocolate from the candy jar: 50 calories
  • Mayo on a sandwich: 100 calories
  • Two teaspoons of powdered coffee creamer: 20 calories
  • A 20-ounce drink compared to a 12-ounce drink: 100 calories
  • Two tablespoons of butter or margarine: 200 calories
  • A handful of snack mix: 105 calories
  • A 12-ounce can of regular soda compared to diet soda: 150 calories more
  • One medium-sized cookie: 100 calories

Here are four simple steps for a healthier lifestyle:  S.A.F.E.

Skip or stop high calorie drinks.  Drink at least eight glasses of water each day.  Choose diet sodas instead or regular ones. Limit juice to eight ounces (one cup) per day, and restrict sports drinks.

Alter your snack habits.  Weight gain is caused by large snacks between meals.  Keep snacks small and healthy (fruits and vegetables).

Forget unhealthy fast food.  Limit eating fast food to no more than three times a week.  Reduce fried foods, and don’t supersize!

Exercise daily.  Use a pedometer and try to walk at least 10,000 steps.  Watch no more than two hours of television or video games a day.