Food is everywhere during the holidays. You may be tempted to nibble on goodies, even if you manage to resist large portions of high-calorie food at meals and parties. Let’s look at how “tiny tastes” add up throughout the day.

• Taste 1: OOPS! I broke that cookie removing it from the baking sheet. I’ll just eat the half that didn’t crumble. I deserve it for getting up early to bake before leaving for work. Approximate calories: 30

• Taste 2: A coworker brought holiday candy to the office today. I’ll just eat one small piece of this homemade peanut brittle. Approximate calories: 80

• Taste 3: It’s almost mid-afternoon and I haven’t eaten lunch yet. I’m using my lunch break to pick up a few items at the grocery store before I swing through a fast food place for a quick bite. The grocery store is offering free food samples, so I’ll just eat one small cracker with spread to tide me over until I get to eat lunch. Approximate calories: 40

• Taste 4: The fast food place is giving out ¼ cup samples of its special flavored holiday coffee. I can’t pass that up! Approximate calories: 20

• Taste 5: I’m about to leave the office for the day, but it’s still two hours before that holiday dinner tonight. I think I’ll check the break room for new goodies. Wow! Some chocolate-covered cherries have appeared! Chocolate is good for me, right? I’ll just have one. Approximate calories: 60

• Taste 6: Maybe I shouldn’t stand near the snack table before the dinner party starts. I’m now dipping my third chip. Approximate calories: 75

• Taste 7: Who can pass up old-fashioned eggnog? I’ll just have ½ cup. Approximate calories: 200

• Taste 8: There are only two tablespoons of candied sweet potatoes left. I might as well enjoy it so it won’t be thrown out. Approximate calories: 60

• Taste 9: I think I’ll take a little “preview” taste while helping dish up the dessert. One heaping tablespoon of candy cane ice cream coming right up! (I’ll use a separate tasting spoon, of course!) Approximate calories: 100

Total Tasting Calories for the Day: 665 These calories are approximate and will vary, depending on brand, recipe and exact serving size. Consuming an extra 3,500 calories above what your body needs can lead to a one-pound weight gain. If you continue taking “tiny tastes,” you could gain a pound within a week!

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health report that most people gain an average of one pound of weight during the winter holiday season, but unfortunately they never lose it. This extra pound accumulates year after year, and later in life it may be a major contributor to obesity and the diseases associated with it.

For more tips on eating sensibly at parties and buffets, cutting calories in foods and drinks, modifying holiday recipes, and reducing food cravings caused by holiday stress, refer to HGIC 4092, Control Holiday Weight Gain.

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