“Hidden” Calories

There are times when I like to sample a little too much.  Taste a bite off of my husband’s plate when we are out to eat, have a free sample (or many free samples) at the grocery store, walk by the candy jar and take just one tiny bit of candy out to eat.

And these tiny tastes and bites are so small and often mindless, that we don’t even notice that we are constantly snacking on hidden calories throughout the day.

Let’s just take an average person’s day as an example:

You wake up in the morning ready to have a great and healthy day!  You want to start the day with a nutritious breakfast, so you make yourself a bowl of oatmeal and slice up an apple.  Yum!

But junior doesn’t like oatmeal so you make him pancakes.  And of course he doesn’t finish them.  And it’s a waste to just throw away that bit of pancake smothered in butter and covered in syrup.  So you just eat the rest.  It’s a small amount, so no big deal!

At work, you often walk by the person in the office with the open candy jar.  Every time you pass, you take out just 3 M&M’s.  It’s just 3, so no big deal!

Then at lunch, you go to the break room and someone’s left out some cheese and crackers for everybody to share.  You have just one cracker and piece of cheese with your lunch, without even really noticing that you did.

After walking by the candy jar several more times, your work day is done and it’s time to go home.

You make dinner for the family.  Something healthy: grilled chicken with vegetables and brown rice.  A great dinner to feed your family!  Your stomach starts growling while you are cooking, so you bring out the mixed nuts as a healthy protein snack.  You take a bite, you cook, you take a bite, you cook, and this goes on and on without you even noticing.

Then while watching television and unwinding from the day, your husband brings in the box of crackers.  You take just a few during the commercial break.  And maybe a couple more during the next commercial break.  Not a lot, just enough to keep you satisfied.

So how did you feel like you did today?  Great!  I ate healthy for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

And that’s true – but what about all those tastes and bites?

2 pancakes with butter and syrup is around 520 calories.  If you eat just a fourth of one pancake, that’s 65 calories added to your daily total.

The calorie count in just 3 peanut M&M’s is 31 calories.  If you walked by your co-workers office just 4 times and took 3 M&Ms each time (totaling 12 peanut M&Ms throughout the work day), that’s 124 calories.

The calorie count in a small cheese and cracker is about 35.

A handful of mixed nuts is about 160 calories.

And about 6 regular crackers is around 60 calories.

So in that day, you ate around 444 calories that you did not account for, or even really notice.  That’s the size of most meals!

Every day, but especially during the holidays, we are tempted by treats, tastes and bites all around us!  Goodies at home, in the office, even in the stores tempt us to just take a bite because we think one small bite won’t hurt!

And one small bite won’t hurt, but many small bites throughout the day can.

The lesson: always be mindful of what you put in your mouth.  If you want to try something, go ahead.  But don’t eat food just because it’s there or it’s free.  Think of your health and your waist line this holiday season!


5 responses to ““Hidden” Calories

  1. This was always an ignored problem of mine when I was looking to slim down! I found that chewing gum while cooking or watching tv would help a bit. It’s always good to be mindful of the little bites you take throughout the day!


  2. I always try to portion out my snacks after I buy them, so I can grab a preportioned snack baggie of nuts instead of eating from the package. It’s really the only way I can keep myself accountable to serving sizes.


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