Please see the drop-down menu under Food Topics in the top navigation bar for links to pages on other food topics.
Tiny Tastes Can Total BIG Calories over Winter Holidays
by Alice Henneman, MS, Registered Dietitian & Extension Educator
Questions or Comments? Contact author, Alice Henneman
(View an online slide show and download a FREE PowerPoint of this information at the end of this article.)
The extra calories sometimes sneak up on us over the winter holidays. They don’t always arrive in the form of large portions of calorie-laden food. Rather, they may tiptoe in through many tiny tastes throughout the day.
Let’s look at “Holly Day’s” food diary for one day and view how those “tiny tastes” can add up. Calories are approximate and will vary, depending on brand, recipe, exact serving size, etc.
OOPS! I broke that cookie removing it from the baking sheet. I’ll just eat the half that didn’t get all crumbled up. I deserve it for getting up early to bake these cookies before heading to work.
Approximate Calories: 30 calories
Someone brought holiday candy to work today! I’ll just have one small piece of the peanut brittle.
Approximate Calories: 80 calories
It’s mid-afternoon and I still haven’t eaten lunch. I need to pick up a few things at the grocery store before I swing through a fast food place for a quick bite. The grocery store is offering food samples – I’ll just eat a little cracker with spread to tide me over until I get to lunch.
Approximate Calories: 40 calories
The fast food place is giving out 1/4 cup samples of its special flavored holiday coffee. I can’t pass that up!
Approximate Calories: 20 calories
Still a couple of hours to go at work before I head to that holiday dinner tonight. I think I’ll check out the break room to see if any more goodies have shown up. Some chocolate-covered cherries have appeared! Chocolate is good for you, right? I’ll just have one.
Approximately Calories: 60 calories
It’s a great dinner party, but maybe I shouldn’t stand near the snack table before the meal starts. I’m now dipping my third chip.
Approximate Calories: 75 calories
Who can pass up old-fashioned eggnog? I’ll just have a half cup.
Approximate Calories: 200 calories
There are just a couple of tablespoons of candied sweet potatoes left. Someone should enjoy them – it might as well be me!
Approximate Calories: 60 calories
The nice thing about helping dish up dessert is you can take a little “preview” taste -- using a separate tasting spoon, of course! One heaping tablespoon of candy cane ice cream coming right up!
Approximate Calories: 70 calories
TOTAL TASTING CALORIES FOR THE DAY: 635
If comparable types of “tiny tastes” are continued throughout the holidays, it might be possible to gain as much as a pound a week! On average, an additional 3,500 calories above your body's needs can lead to a weight gain of a pound.
Maybe that tiny taste isn’t so small after all ...