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Tiny Bites Can Add BIG Calories

One bite of this, a morsel of that, and before long you have added another pound to your waistline. It's unfair; it shouldn't be that easy to gain a pound. Surely we can get a Christmas gift of eating all we want and not gaining.... Only in a dream world.

The extra calories sometimes sneak up on us over the Christmas season. They don’t always cone in the form of large portions of calorie-laden food. Instead, they tiptoe in through those tiny tastes we take throughout the day.

Step back for a minute and imagine that this is you, as we look through an hour glass at the tiny tastes that you take and how those tiny tastes add up.  (This is only to emphasis a point, note that these calories are approximate and will vary, depending on brand, recipe, exact serving size, etc.).

Taste 1: 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

Taste 2: Someone brought holiday candy to work today! I’ll just have one small piece of the peanut brittle.  Approximate Calories: 80 calories

Taste 3: 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

Taste 4: The fast food place is giving out one-fourth cup samples of its special flavored holiday coffee. I can’t pass that up! Approximate Calories: 20 calories

Taste 5: 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

Taste 6: 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

Taste 7: Who can pass up old-fashioned eggnog? I’ll just have a half cup. Approximate Calories: 200 calories

Taste 8: 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

Taste 9: 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: 100 calories


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 weight gain of a pound.

Maybe that tiny taste isn’t so small after all...

If you would like more information on healthy eating during the holidays, contact our office at the University of Arkansas, Cooperative Extension Service, located in the Miller County Courthouse, Room 215, Texarkana.  You may also contact me at 870-779-3609, or e-mail me at

If you need pecans for your holiday baking, Miller County 4-H has local, fresh cracked pecans for sale at $10 per 5 pound bag.  They will be available until the afternoon of December 21st.   Contact our office at the number or address above for more information.

By Carla Haley Hadley M.S.
County Extension Agent
Family & Consumer Sciences
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Carla Haley Hadley M.S.
County Extension Agent
Family & Consumer Sciences
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service