You push back from the table and groan a little as you gaze over the half-eaten turkey and all the fixings. And you think, what have I done?
Between the tasty casseroles and desserts, it’s easy to add a few thousand calories to your regular diet over the holiday.
So let’s do the math. If you eat 1,675 calories (what we’ve tallied for a typical Thanksgiving meal), how much activity will you have to do to counteract those calories?
Here’s our calculations:
Deep-fried turkey: 50 calories
Cranberry sauce: 110
Green bean casserole: 220
Sweet potato casserole: 340 calories
Spinach Madeleine: 220
Cornbread dressing: 125
Yeast rolls: 180 calories per roll
Sweet potato pie: 430
Total calories: 1,675
Washing dishes 30 minutes: 80
Walking the dog 30 minutes: 110
Four hours on the couch yelling at the football game: 290 (or more if you jump up and yell at the TV)
Riding your bicycle for 40 minutes: 400
Checking out Black Friday sales in your newspaper: 75
45-minute touch football game: 450
Raking leaves for an hour: 270
This activity chart is an estimate based on a 150-pound person. It does not account for the average person’s basal metabolic rate, which is the amount of calories you burn daily without additional activity.
To help avoid holiday weight gain, Dr. Neil Johannsen, a researcher at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, offers these tips:
▪ Taste, but don’t indulge. Eat more turkey, which is a low-calorie, high-protein food, and less calorie-laden casseroles and pies. A slice of pie can have 400 calories.
▪ Get active. You don’t have to burn all the extra calories you eat on Thanksgiving in one day. Spread your exercise over a few days, Johannsen says. To walk off Thanksgiving dinner, you may have to hit the pavement for 500 extra minutes.
▪ Cut calories before and after. Eating the typical Thanksgiving meal can add 1,000 calories to your typical daily intake. If you eat sensibly around the holiday, you can burn those calories off without drastically changing your routine. “That’s sort of a mini diet afterwards,” Johannsen says.