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How to Burn Thanksgiving Calories

How to Work Off Thanksgiving Calories

If you're worried about devouring a huge Thanksgiving meal and what that will mean to your waistline, have no fear. You can have your cake — I mean pie — and eat it too, you just have to get moving afterward. Check out the calorie amounts for your favorite Thanksgiving foods and find out some ways you can work off those tasty calories.


Food Calorie Amount Activity
6 oz. mulled wine 156 Swimming laps doing the crawl stroke for 16 minutes will burn 158 calories*
4 oz. white turkey meat 153 22 minutes of a friendly game of touch football burns 158 calories
4 oz. dark turkey meat 183 Sneak away for a 20-minute run and burn 189 calories
One cup mashed potatoes 237 Burn 243 calories by walking briskly for one hour
1/4 cup gravy 105 26 minutes of heavy cleaning burns 105 calories.

I'm just getting started so keep reading to see other ways to burn off those Thanksgiving calories.

Food Calorie Amount Activity
1/2 cup sweet potatoes with marshmallows 294 Doing 66 minutes of fast-paced yoga burns 296 calories
One cup stuffing 202 A 23-minute bike ride at a moderate pace will burn 207 calories
1 slice of apple pie 411 Hiking for an hour and four minutes will burn off 413 dessert calories
1 slice of pumpkin pie 316 Turn on some tunes and have a dance party in your living room for just over an hour and burn 317 calories
1 slice of pecan pie 503 If there's snow on the ground where you live, you'll burn 504 calories snowshoeing for an hour and 10 minutes

*Calculations based on a 130-pound woman.

Source: Flickr User Betty Crocker Recipes

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Join The Conversation
bee15 bee15 3 years
I love this post! I think it's a fun way to work out, or at the very least, feel like you're accomplishing something! I just featured it in my weekly roundup of how to spend thanksgiving wknd in nyc\u00a0http://style-island.com/2012/11/23/full-bellys-filled-streets-and-fun-weekends-post-thanksgiving-weekend-on-the-island/ popsugar
pinkberry01 pinkberry01 6 years
nice way to put it perspective
cfp cfp 6 years
Unfortunately my boyfriend will be waking me up at 6am to go running with him. We're staying at my parents' house and I don't think he'll be happy without a "short" 5 mile run. Torture. I want my Thanksgiving to be all about indulging. I'll worry about burning off excess calories another day. I can't wait for the food!
vanillabean vanillabean 6 years
I have no choice but to refrain from pigging out -- my friend is getting married two days after Thanksgiving, and I am maid of honor. If I can't fit into my dress, there might be a cameo by bridezilla!
mshoema mshoema 6 years
I will be doing the Turkey Trot on thanksgiving morning...a nice 5K or 10K to wake up the body and get ready for some stuffing and pie. It is all about portion control :)
Spectra Spectra 6 years
I plan on working out on Thanksgiving, just like normal. But I also don't plan on eating like a pig at the meal; I never usually eat that way so I won't eat that way on Thanksgiving. I usually eat a nice salad, lots of turkey, and a couple of my favorite side dishes and maybe some pie if it's good. It's one meal and yeah, it should be special and you shouldn't freak out that you did/didn't burn off *every* calorie that you ate.
Wild-Magelet Wild-Magelet 6 years
Or you could just eat a moderate-sized meal, possibly a lighter breakfast and dinner, and just continue about your daily life, burning calories naturally as you stand, walk, wash dishes. I really don't think there's any need to put yourself through a punishing workout so that you can have a slice of dessert or a spoonful of mashed potatoes. You're hardly going to become obese from one out-of-the-ordinary meal.
jdeprima jdeprima 6 years
Well, yeah---didn't mean I plan to be a complete glutton/slug just to be contrary. I'll probably go for a run that day, too, but I *always* run on Thursdays. But I'm not going to freak out and think "OK, I ate this many more calories than usual at this one meal, so I need to work out this much harder to make my body think it never happened."
flavacrisp flavacrisp 6 years
Yeah, I mean it is one day. As long as you don't eat like this all the time, it's fine. I do plan to go to the gym T-giving morning though!
chloe-bella chloe-bella 6 years
I agree, jdeprima. Also, it's misleading to promote the idea that you need to burn off every single calorie you eat in your Thanksgiving dinner, because you're body needs SOME calories from food on a daily basis. Runningesq - Good luck! I can't wait to hear about your IM!
runningesq runningesq 6 years
absolutely, jdeprima ! I will miss Thanksgiving dinner this year :( We'll be traveling to Cozumel on turkey day.. but I would think that an Ironman would be a good way to burn off t-day calories ;)
Soniabonya Soniabonya 6 years
Going to take advantage of the day off on Thursday morning and hit the gym :)Last year i did a 2 hour cycle class that was awesome!!! tho the instructor that did that is no longer at the gym and i live quite a distance from my favorite bikes. Boo. In any case, I'll be keeping active just by cooking alone and preparing the majority of dishes by hand.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 6 years
well said, jdeprima!
jdeprima jdeprima 6 years
Honestly, I'm getting tired of all the worried-about-Thanksgiving-how-to-cancel-it-all-out stories. If you live an otherwise healthy and active life, it shouldn't be an issue. It's *one* meal, for god's sake. Try to enjoy it without whipping out the calorie counter.
ella1978 ella1978 6 years
I will be in NYC this year - a present from my future in-laws. So I will be walking A LOT, and plan on hitting the gym in our hotel every morning. That should work off an indulgence or two!
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 6 years
Plus working out revs your appetite :) hehehe
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 6 years
I totally do that Camarogirl, workout in the day before I go to the celebration. it also helps me calm down for my crazy family gathering!
Camarogirl67 Camarogirl67 6 years
This Thanksgiving I'm planning on waking up at my usual early hour to make breakfast, then workout! That way my metabolism will be pumping. Good way to sneak in a workout if dinners are more hectic or visiting takes longer than anticipated.
Hollywoodjess Hollywoodjess 6 years
Last year I made a bunch of alternative recipes like cranberry stuffing and my own healthy apple pie to stay on track...this year, it's all up for grabs as I am house hopping to three different places! This was interesting!
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