Tiny Tastes: A Surefire Way to Gain Weight During the Holidays

Sneaky holiday calories are everywhere this time of year. If you took the time to count all those "tiny tastes" each day, you would be surprised at how quickly they can sabotage your weight-maintenance efforts.
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Sneaky holiday calories are everywhere this time of year. With travel, parties, big buffets, holiday baking, and extra snack foods at the office, a challenging environment is around every corner. These extra calories don't always come in full-size servings or large-distorted portions. No, these extra calories tip-toe in amid the holiday hoopla. However, if you took the time to count all those "tiny tastes" each day, you would be surprised at how quickly they can sabotage your weight-maintenance efforts.

Check out a typical day of tiny tastes during the holidays:

Tiny Taste #1: The holiday bake sale is today. You get up early to bake a batch of your famous Mexican wedding cookies. Oops! One of the cookies breaks while you are removing it from the baking sheet, so you go ahead and eat the crumbs.
Tiny Taste Calories: 50

Tiny Taste #2: At the morning meeting, Betty shares her homemade stollen. You don't want to offend your team member, so you have half a slice with your black coffee.
Tiny Taste Calories: 125

Tiny Taste #3: Lunch rolls around, and you decide to run errands and pick up a few items at the grocery store. OMG! The store is giving away samples of gourmet cheese and crackers at the deli. You decide to have a little sample, since you may decide to serve this cheese at your party next weekend.
Tiny Taste Calories: 45

Tiny Taste #4: You just remembered that you have to take cookies to the school's band concert tomorrow evening. You run by the bakery and discover that they are offering samples of their specialty caramel latte coffee. The smell is irresistible.
Tiny Taste Calories: 25

Tiny Taste #5: Returning to the office, you grab your salad from the break room refrigerator and notice Don's homemade chocolate-covered buckeyes on the counter. You pick up just one small ball. Heck! Chocolate is good for you after all.
Tiny Taste Calories: 60

Tiny Taste #6: After work you head to the office party. You stand too close to the buffet table and quickly down four chips with dip.
Tiny Taste Calories: 45

Tiny Taste #7: To get away from the food, you decide to partake in some old-fashioned eggnog -- just a small 1/2 cup portion.
Tiny Taste Calories: 170

Tiny Taste #8: At home, you join the rest of the family in decorating the Christmas tree while nibbling on a broken candy cane.
Tiny Taste Calories: 30

Tiny Taste #9: You notice the neighbor has dropped of her intricately-decorated gingerbread men. You enjoy an arm.
Tiny Taste Calories: 30

Tiny Taste #10: The kids are asking for a dish of ice cream before bedtime. You enjoy two heaping tablespoons while dishing up the vanilla-chocolate chip.
Tiny Taste Calories: 50

Total calories coming from those tiny tastes throughout the day: 630!

If you let such tiny tastes sneak in every day from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day, you could gain five to seven pounds during this holiday season. Who would have ever guessed the devastating destruction of those treacherous tiny tastes?

Beware: Tiny tastes aren't so tiny after all.

What tiny tastes are you trying to limit this holiday season? How many tiny tastes have you had so far today?

Becky Hand, R.D., L.D., M.Ed., is the head dietitian for SparkPeople.com, the country's largest healthy-living website. She has more than 25 years of experience helping people get healthy while still enjoying their lives. Hand lives on a farm in rural Indiana with her husband and teenage son, and has a daughter in college. Her first book, The Spark Solution: A Complete Two-Week Diet Program to Fast-Track Weight Loss and Total Body Health, will be published in May 2013 by HarperOne.

For more by Becky Hand, click here.

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