Burn off Thanksgiving calories for a healthier holiday season

Burn off Thanksgiving calories for a healthier holiday seasonBurning off Thanksgiving calories can contribute to a healthier holiday season. When it comes to the holidays we tend to over indulge – especially when it comes to desserts. Even though Thanksgiving is a one day event, it can add unnecessary calories that can contribute to poor health in the long run.

The Calorie Control Council estimates that the average American will consume 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat during one Thanksgiving meal. To put this into perspective, 3,500 calories equals one pound gained, meaning that just one meal can increase the number on your scale. Furthermore, that calorie average is just for dinner and does not include breakfast and lunch, meaning your caloric intake could possibly result in two additional pounds. Now imagine what happens if you attend more than one holiday dinner.


Additionally, aside from food, sugary beverages and alcohol can add extra calories as well. So even if you didn’t eat a lot, your calorie count creeps a little higher every time you take a sip.

Holiday foods and their calorie content

It may seem crazy that a simple Thanksgiving meal could be that unhealthy for you – it’s essentially turkey and vegetables, which in theory are good for you. But the way the turkey and vegetables are prepared can add additional unwanted calories that just pile up when you overeat.

Below is a chart that highlights common holiday food and their calories.

Thanksgiving foods

FoodServing SizeCalories
Pumpkin pie1 slice of 8 inch pie279
Dressing/stuffing1/2 cup439
Cranberry sauce1 cup418
Mashed potatoes1 cup237
Turkey leg1 leg417
Skinless turkey breast8 ounces305
Sweet potatoes1 cup258
Pecan pie1 slice of 8 inch pie532
Green bean casserole2 scoops200

Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza foods

FoodServing SizeCalories
Honey glazed ham3 slices360
Dinner rolls3x 2″x2″233
Baked potato1 large278
Scalloped potatoes1 cup228
Broccoli and cheese soup1 cup211
Apple pie à la mode1 slice of 8 inch pie + 1/2 cup of vanilla ice cream414
Cherry pie1 slice of 8 inch pie304
Sour cream dip4 tablespoons140
Sugar cookies4x 1.3oz cookies340
Bread pudding2 scoops380
Potato latkes3 ounces319
Egg nog1 cup344

Post-Thanksgiving workout and exercise plan

To combat all the feasting that the holidays bring, try creating a workout plan to help burn off all those additional calories. Below are some tips you should incorporate into your workout in order to burn calories and have a healthy holiday season.

  • Post-Thanksgiving workout and exercise planStock your kitchen with fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains so you won’t be tempted to have unhealthy food options that can contribute to excess calories.
  • Limit your consumption of dessert by filling up with healthier food options throughout the day.
  • Minimize dining out, which can have high amounts of salt and fat in the food.
  • Commit to an exercise class – working out alone can be confusing and you won’t have the motivation. Attending a class where someone is instructing can be easier and take the thinking out of exercising.
  • Get a workout buddy who can keep you motivated and on track.
  • Clear the holiday leftovers out of your fridge, or don’t bring them home in the first place.
  • Don’t be hard on yourself if you did eat too much – it’s never too late to start practicing healthy eating and exercise habits.

Post-Thanksgiving eating tips

You might think you ate so much on Thanksgiving that there’s no turning back, but that isn’t true. You can get back on track the very next day with some healthy eating. Here are some tips to help improve holiday feasting, so you don’t have to feel so guilty.

  • Post-Thanksgiving eating tipsFill any appetizer plates halfway with vegetables.
  • Fill any dessert plates halfway with fruit.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables prior to attending a party.
  • Use smaller plates to trick your mind into thinking you consumed a lot of food to make you fuller faster.
  • Consume water first thing in the morning each day – add lemon for added benefits.
  • Have a small breakfast the day after holiday eating.
  • Consume more fiber.
  • Drink ginger ale to ease indigestion, bonus points if it’s freshly made.

Black Friday: Tips to burn your holiday calories while shopping

Immediately following Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year – Black Friday. If you are heading out to take advantage of some deals, use the outing as an opportunity to burn off the extra calories you consumed the day before. Here are some tips to help you burn extra calories on Black Friday.

  • Walk quickly.
  • Take the stairs instead of the escalator.
  • Park far away in the parking lot.
  • While waiting in line, perform calf raises and other stretches to burn additional calories.

By practicing these tips you can start to burn off the additionally calories you accumulated at your holiday dinner, and if you follow good eating and exercising habits  throughout the holiday season, your New Year’s resolution won’t have to be weight loss!

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