UACES Facebook Tiny bites can add up to BIG Calories
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Tiny bites can add up to BIG Calories

TEXARKANA, Ark.— Those sweet, warm family friendly holiday treats of November and December have a dark side – one will seemingly multiply the daily calorie count, said Carla Hadley, Miller County extension agent for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

“Those calories don’t always come in the form of large portions of calorie-laden food,” she said. “Instead, they tiptoe in through those tiny tastes we take throughout the day.”

Hadley guides us through a day fraught with temptation, rationalization and maybe a little mindless consumption. And while she notes that these examples are for illustration only and your actual calorie count may vary, these scenarios may seem all too familiar:

  • 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
  • Taste 2: “Someone brought holiday candy to work today! I’ll just have one small piece of the peanut brittle.”  Approximate calories: 80
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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. Check out those chocolate-covered cherries! Chocolate is good for you, right? I’ll just have one.” Approximate calories: 60
  • 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
  • Taste 7: Who can pass up old-fashioned eggnog? I’ll just have a half cup. Approximate calories: 200
  • 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
  • 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

Total tasting calories for the day: 665

“If comparable types of “tiny tastes” are continued throughout the holidays, it might be possible to gain as much as a pound a week,” Hadley said. “On average, an additional 3,500 calories above your body's needs may lead to weight gain of a pound. So maybe that tiny taste isn’t so small after all.”

If you would like more information on healthy eating during the holidays, contact your county extension office or visit us online at

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.


By Mary Hightower
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126

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