With three meals and two snacks a day, consuming tens of thousands of extra calories by simply tasting food is common. Imagine tasting just a bit of each meal or snack you prepare. With five meals prepared and 365 days per year, you are “just tasting” 1,825 times. Now imagine each of those tastes accounts for 10 calories. That equals 18,250 extra calories consumed per year or an extra five pounds. Do that year after year and suddenly you will find yourself overweight with no idea where the weight came from. You could be tasting yourself fat.
There’s no sense in wasting food we worked hard to buy. I am guilty of using this excuse to eat the last few bites of food off my child’s plate. While it may seem trivial to take the last bite of hamburger, mashed potatoes or French fries, those small bites of food add up to lots of calories fast. Instead of eating those extra few bites, collect them for a few days and reheat them for your child at lunch time or for dinner.
I can’t serve food I haven’t tasted. Tasting a new sauce or dish before serving it to guests is an easy way to consume a few hundred calories before sitting down for the main meal. While you don’t want to serve guests a meal blindly prepared with no idea how it tastes, nibbling is a great way to taste yourself fat. Instead, choose dishes you know how to prepare, leaving the new recipes for family dinners when your reputation is not at stake and guests are not the guinea pig.
Look, mommy (or daddy) like it. Parents who want their young children to eat a new food often take a taste or ten to convince the child the food is edible and delicious. Seems like a viable reason to take a few nibbles, right? Wrong. Even baby foods have extra calories that add up over time. Combine nibbling baby food or toddler food with taste testing the family dinner and taking that extra bite after your child is done eating and you have consumed hundreds of extra calories in the course of one day.
But, there is only a small bite left. Whether icing a cake or serving up dinner for the family, if there is only a small bite of food left in a bowl save it for later or add it to the main dish, don’t take that extra bite. One finger sweep of the icing bowl every time you ice a cake could mean a few extra pounds on the scale by the end of the year.
There are one million and one reasons to nibble foods and all of them are viable reasons you are gaining weight. Salad dressings and cream sauces often have more than 100 calories per tablespoon, adding up to tons of extra calories over the course of a week, month or year. More extra calories mean more extra pounds. Purpose-driven, healthy snacking between meals can reduce hunger at meal time, but the snacks need to be reduced calorie, whole grain or complex carbohydrate foods packed with lean protein.