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Food/Nutrition Columnist Author: Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN, Food & Nutrition Columnist - Last Updated: Sep 7, 2017 - 10:06:33 PM

Tiny Tastes That Tempt You

By Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN, Food & Nutrition Columnist -
Dec 11, 2016 - 9:37:39 AM

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( - Everyone worries about weight gain over the holidays. You are cautious about not drinking too much at the office party or not overeating at large holiday meals but somehow at the end of the season you’ve still packed on extra pounds. Where did they come from? You were being so careful. It may have been those tiny tastes that tempted you.

Tiny tastes are almost invisible. They tiptoe in during the day but they can add up quickly. Let’s take a look at 10 all-to-common tiny tastes and add them up.

You eat three broken cookies that you are making for the kid’s class party. Each is only about half a cookie and you deserve them because you got up extra early to bake the cookies before work. Three half cookies = 135 calories.

Someone sent mixed nuts to the office as a holiday treat. The receptionist put them in a bowl on her desk for all to enjoy. You take just a few each time you walk by. Two tablespoons of mixed nuts = 110 calories.

The cheese department of the specialty food store you are wandering through at lunchtime is offering cheese and cracker samples. You will take just one sample as a pre-lunch treat. One cracker + cheese = 55 calories.

The coffee shop is offering samples of their famous holiday pumpkin latte as you wait on line for your order. Those cups as so small and everyone is murmuring about how good it is. So you try one. One 2-ounce (1/4 cup) sample of pumpkin latte = 90 calories.

A box of dark chocolate truffles was left in the break room by a generous Santa elf. You have one with your morning tea. Wow, they taste good, but you show great restraint and do not take a second. One dark chocolate truffle = 60 calories.

You are at one of the endless holiday parties you must attend for work. You’ve ordered a wine spritzer because you know that diluting alcohol with a no-calorie mixer is a great way to save calories. But you are standing next to the spinach dip and you find yourself going back again and again. Four tablespoons spinach dip + 6 tortilla chips = 245 calories.

Who doesn’t love eggnog and you only get to drink it once a year. You simply cannot resist, so you take a small cupful as a predinner treat. One half cup of regular eggnog = 170 calories.

The dessert buffet is extravagant, but you’ve already made a deal with yourself to skip dessert and simply order a cappuccino. But, those tiny cream puffs are so tempting and so little. How can just one hurt? One miniature cream puff = 75 calories.

Dinner is over and you are putting away the leftovers. There are only a couple of spoonfuls of candied sweet potatoes left. Too little to save and you hate to throw out food. And, they are so yummy, so you eat them. Three tablespoons of candied sweet potatoes = 80 calories.

You love cheesecake but you know that one serving contains many more calories than you need at the end of an already large meal. You ask your hostess for a sliver and she obliges by cutting you a one-quarter inch thick slice. You feel very proud of yourself and indulge in a little whipped cream, too. One tiny sliver of cheesecake + 2 tablespoons of whipped cream = 155 calories.

These 10 tiny tastes, add up to 1,175 extra calories. One taste at a time doesn’t seems like much but too many tiny tastes over the holidays can easily add up to extra pounds.

There is no easy answer to holiday nibbling. Sensory scientists have suggested that for people struggling with eating too much or too quickly, engaging all their senses – sight, smell, touch, taste and sound – can reduce overeating and prevent mindless eating. It’s worth a try. Next time you want to nibble, stop and take a good look at that alluring bite. Does the food have a pleasant smell? Imagine its mouthfeel, taste and sound as you chew. This might be just enough intervention to make you decide you really don’t need that tiny taste.

© NRH Nutrition Consultants, Inc.

Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian and the author of 30 books.

Available as eBooks from iTunes and Amazon Kindle:

Diabetes Counter

Calorie Counter

Protein Counter

Healthy Wholefoods Counter

Complete Food Counter

Fat and Cholesterol Counter

Available in print from Gallery Books:

Most Complete Food Counter, 3rd Ed.

Your Complete Food Counter App:

For more information on Jo-Ann and her books, go to:


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