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Dietician reveals subtle differences between high and low calorie meals

One word that all diet conscious people overuse and all diet aversive people run away from is “calories” and no matter how much this word is hated or loved, it still remains misconceived by everyone. Dietician Paula Norris is putting an end to this confusion by posting pictures of two almost look-alike healthy plates side by side and asking her Instagram followers to spot which one is a high calorie meal and which one is not. The difference is always subtle however, the contrast between the calorie count shows us how small tweaks can result in drastic impacts.

Each photograph is paired with a detailed caption by Norris which explains the difference between the two plates, show which changes create the biggest impact as well as the recipe of the healthy plate. Norris shares, “Green powders, juice detoxes, Paleo and blood type diets–unfortunately they’ve been shoved in our faces making healthy eating unnecessarily complicated. The focus needs to be on smaller, sustainable dietary changes.”

If you’re trying to lose weight then it can be easy to overdo the cals on even seemingly healthy meals like stir fry! See below 👇🏽 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ***As a note- I have weighed the non starchy veg for this demo but I DO NOT weigh non starchy veg at home- I throw as much as I can in! Scales are good to keep portion sizes in check for meats, starchy carbs and good fats (although measuring in spoons, cups usually works for a lot of starchy carbs and fats) but weighing is not required for non starchy veg! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ On the left 🔸50g capsicum 🔸20g zucchini 🔸2 stalks broccolini 🔸1 large mushroom 🔸15g beans 🔸1/2 small onion 🔸200g beef (when cooked) 🔸2tsp oil 🔸1Tbsp sweet chilli sauce 🔸2tsp oyster sauce 🔸2tsp lime juice 🔸1 cup cooked rice ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ On the right 🔹100g capsicum 🔹50g zucchini 🔹3 stalks broccolini 🔹1 large mushroom 🔹40g beans 🔹1/2 small onion 🔹100g beef (when cooked) 🔹Spray oil 🔹1tsp Sriracha 🔹3tsp oyster sauce 🔹2tsp lime juice 🔹1/2 cup cooked rice

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Ever since I studied Dietetics, I haven’t bothered with drastic diet changes to achieve goals because I know how short term, unsustainable and depressing they are. Changes I make are small, almost unnoticeable and spread across days and weeks. Decreasing the serve size of energy dense foods and increasing portions of low energy density foods has been key for me. A lot of small changes can add up! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🔸On the left • 175g beef • 4 potatoes (150g) • 20g Spinach • 1 floret Cauliflower (40g) • 1 slice Zucchini (25g) • 1 stalk Broccolini (25g) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🔹On the right • 100g beef • 3 small potatoes (80g) • 40g Spinach • 3 florets Cauliflower (100g) • 3 slices Zucchini (74g) • 3 stalks Broccolini (60g)

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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 😚 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

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Mexican chicken or burrito bowls came up as a regular item in lots of your households when I asked a few days back. Again- while the ingredients are all HEALTHY (maybe except for the Mayo 🙊) – this is to show how a lower or higher calorie version can be prepped by playing with the portions of ingredients. The volume of the meals are similar. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ On the left 🔸3/4 cup cooked brown rice 🔸1/2 large tomato 🔸1/2 Avocado – mashed 🔸1/4 cup black beans 🔸1/2 cob corn 🔸1 cup lettuce 🔸1/8 small red onion 🔸1 Tbsp Mayo 🔸180g chicken – cooked in pan with Cumin & Piri Piri/Chipotle spices 🔸2tsp oil (for cooking chicken) 🔸Parsley ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ On the right 🔹1/4 cup cooked brown rice 🔹1/2 large tomato 🔹1/4 Avocado – mashed 🔹1/2 cup black beans 🔹1/2 cob corn 🔹1 cup lettuce 🔹1/8 small red onion 🔹1/3 Zucchini 🔹100g chicken – dry grilled with Cumin & Piri Piri/Chipotle spices 🔹Dressing of 1 tsp olive oil, 2 tsp lime juice, 1/2 tsp honey 🔹Parsley

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A chicken Pad Thai spot the difference for you @judithhross 😚 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ You can apply some of the below modifications based on your fitness goals- if you want to gain weight or maybe you want to maintain but have higher energy requirements- go left. If your goal is to lose or maintain weight – go right. This Pad Thai is on MEDIUM sized dinner plates (hence why they fill up most of it!) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🔸On the left • 200g cooked chicken thigh • 2tsp oil for cooking • 130g (when dry) rice noodles • 1/4 red onion • 1/2 carrot – julienned • 3 snow peas – chopped • 1Tbsp Soy sauce • 1/2tsp Fish sauce • 1Tbsp Lime juice • 1/2 egg ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🔹On the right • 120g cooked chicken breast • 1tsp oil for cooking • 70g (when dry) rice noodles • 1/4 red onion • 1 carrot – julienned • 8 snow peas – chopped • 1 bunch Chinese Spinach • 1Tbsp Soy sauce • 1/2tsp Fish sauce • 1Tbsp Lime juice • 1/2 egg ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

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You can apply some of the below modifications based on your fitness goals- if you want to gain weight – go left. If your goal is to lose or maintain weight – go right. The bulk of these meals is pretty much the same, so both will be equally filling. This is important because satiety is one of the major challenges when trying to lose weight and many people think they need to eat smaller meals. This is simply not necessary! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🔸On the left • 3 small soft shell tacos • 1tsp oil for cooking • 1/2 garlic clove • 1/2 brown onion • 200g Regular mince • Taco seasoning + herbs • 1/2 tin tomatoes • 4 cherry tomatoes • 1/4 small corn cob • 50g Avocado • 40g full fat cheddar cheese ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🔹On the right • 3 large lettuce leaves for shells • 1Tbsp water for cooking • 1/2 garlic clove • 1/2 brown onion • 100g Extra lean mince • 70g red kidney beans • 1 small grated carrot • Taco seasoning + herbs • 1/2 tin tomatoes • 8 cherry tomatoes • 25g dices capsicum • 1/4 small corn cob • 25g Avocado • 10g Parmesan cheese (Parmesan has a much sharper flavour so you can get away with much less) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

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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 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

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No change in ingredients – just different amounts! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ On the left: 🔸180g steak (untrimmed) 🔸1tsp Oil (to cook steak) 🔸2 cups Lettuce 🔸4 rings Red Onion 🔸50g Avocado 🔸1cup Cooked Rice Noodles 🔸30g Cucumber 🔸2 Cherry Tomatoes 🔸2 tsp Sesame Oil 🔸2 tsp Lime Juice 🔸1 tsp Soy Sauce ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ One the Right: 👍🏽 🔹100g steak (trimmed) and grilled (without oil) 🔹2 cups Lettuce 🔹4 rings Red Onion 🔹25g Avocado 🔹1/2cup Cooked Rice Noodles 🔹50g Cucumber 🔹4 Cherry Tomatoes 🔹1/2 medium Carrot 🔹1 tsp Sesame Oil 🔹2 tsp Lime Juice 🔹2 tsp Soy Sauce ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ [Both recipes have equal amounts of garlic, mint, coriander, chilli and ginger]

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These posts are NOT to encourage calorie counting but are to demonstrate the impact that ingredient manipulation can have on the overall calories in a meal (obviously important for those of you who are trying to lose weight) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ On the left: 🔸50g Feta 🔸200g Sweet Potato 🔸4 Cherry Tomatoes 🔸1/2 cup Baby Spinach 🔸1/4 small Capsicum 🔸1/6 medium Zucchini 🔸1 cup cooked Quinoa 🔸180g Poached chicken 🔸Dressing of Balsamic Vinegar + Olive Oil ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ On the right: 🔹25g Feta 🔹100g Sweet Potato 🔹8 Cherry Tomatoes 🔹1 cup Baby Spinach 🔹1/2 small Capsicum 🔹1/3 medium Zucchini 🔹1/2 cup cooked Quinoa 🔹120g Poached chicken 🔹Dressing of Balsamic Vinegar ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #Spotthedifference

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HEALTHY PASTA? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ While pasta is not the devil, it gets a bad wrap. The portion size and what we load it up with can be an issue, it’s easy for the cals to add up! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 〰️On the left 🔹 2 tsp EVOO 🔹 200g chicken 🔹 30g semi-trimmed bacon 🔹 2 cups cooked pasta 🔹 30g full fat cheddar 🔹 2 large Florets Broccoli, 1 medium mushroom ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✔️Easy swaps to get the dish on the right⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🔸100g chicken (cooked in a little water instead of oil) 🔸 1 cup cooked Pasta 🔸 1 tsp capers 🔸 10g Low Fat cheddar 🔸 1/4 large capsicum, 4 large florets Broccoli, 2 medium mushrooms ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ [Both recipes contain 100ml passata, 1Tbsp tomato paste, garlic clove, 1/4 red onion, 2 anchovies, Chilli, herbs, salt and pepper]

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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

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EASY WAYS TO SAVE CALS IN YOUR STIR FRY ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ On the left: 🔹2 tsp oil for cooking 🔹1Tbsp Sweet Chilli Sauce 🔹280g Chicken (1 medium breast) 🔹1 cup Brown Rice 🔹Half the amount of Veg (1/4 red capsicum, 1/2 small carrot, 1 Medium Mushroom, 2 pieces Broccolini) 🔹2 tsp Soy sauce, 2 tsp Oyster sauce, 2 tsp Lime Juice ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Healthy Swaps on the Right: 🔸No oil for cooking (you can use water or the sauce instead) 🔸1tsp Sriracha instead of Sweet Chilli (it’s stronger flavour means you need less) 🔸150g chicken 🔸1/2 cup Brown Rice 🔸Double the Veg. (1/2 red capsicum, 1 medium carrot, 2 Medium Mushrooms, 1/2 bunch Broccolini) 🔸 2 tsp Soy sauce, 2 tsp Oyster sauce, 2 tsp Lime Juice

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HEALTHY SWAPS FOR YOUR LASAGNE ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ One the left (per serve) 🔹150g Standard Mince 🔹2tsp oil to cook mince 🔹100g cream 🔹40g Cheese for white sauce and to top ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ On the right (per serve) 🔸100g lean Mince 🔸Use water to cook in fry pan (less need for Oil when you’re using so many tasty ingredients!) 🔸1/2 Medium Carrot 🔸1/4 large Zucchini 🔸Replace 100g cream with 75g Ricotta + 25ml milk (to get right consistency) 🔸12g Parmesan cheese to top. Parmesan has a sharper flavour which means you need less on top. Using Ricotta for white sauce means you can go without cheese 🔹🔸[Both contain 1/4 brown onion, 1 lasagne sheet, 35g tomato paste, 1/4 tin tomatoes, chilli, thyme, oregano and parsley per serve]

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IDEAS TO CUT SOME CALS ______________________________________________________ If you’re trying to lose weight then calorie deficit is important. Extreme diets are not required! It is possible to make smaller changes to your meals and snacks across the day to achieve the deficit 👉🏼Here’s an example using stir fry. Swap the following ingredients on the left to make the meal on the right: -IN – 1 cup Cauli rice. Out- 1 cup cooked rice. Or if you love rice you could use half of each – IN – 2tsp Sriracha. Out – 1 Tbsp Sweet chilli sauce. Less Sriracha is needed because it has a stronger flavour – Out- pan oil. You get fats in the meat and sauce and a bit of water will be adequate if you’re using a non-stick pan – IN- extra veg. Out- SOME of the meat. The plate on the left has 180g meat compared with 80g on the right. The meal on the right has 200g of extra veg!

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h/t: My Modern Met

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