Your Thanksgiving Meal In Calories

Plus: How to burn it off

Lauren at Smooth Fitness, a Philly-based exercise equipment store, sent me this amazingly awesome — and by awesome, I mean totally sobering but useful!—poster that breaks down how many calories are in the average Thanksgiving meal. And then, it shows how long it would take to burn off each dish on the treadmill or elliptical. If there’s anything that’s going to keep you from digging into the green bean casserole for a second serving, it’s this.

Thanksgiving Dinner in Calories

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Though I definitely think that Thanksgiving should be enjoyed and isn’t a day for strict calorie counting, this poster is a great reminder that, even without realizing it, you can easily pack in double the amount of calories you normally consume in a day. To avoid this, I usually do the following each year:

1. I always try to work out Thanksgiving morning—which is easier said than done. My family isn’t super-active, so it can be difficult to take the hour or so for myself when I rarely see them. But, I’ve found that I feel better, happier, and it peaks my appetite so when dinner rolls around I’m ready to enjoy it. I always, always try to convince one of my sisters to come with me, and last year we had an amazing time hiking through Valley Forge Park. Not only did we break a little sweat, but we talked nonstop. It was a great way to catch up.

2. I try to put only my absolute favorite dishes/food items on my plate. For instance, I can buy myself a roll any day of the week, but there is only one day out of the year that my aunt labors over homemade stuffing. The stuffing makes it, the roll does not.

3. Try to stick to one serving. When I think about all of the dessert that is to come, it makes it easier!

4. I play with the little kids—they’re nonstop and it keeps me away from the pre-dinner snacks.

5. If I am snacking, I try to position myself near the vegetable and fruit tray. If I have to lean over people to reach the chips and dip, I’m less tempted!

6. Eat a light, protein-packed breakfast. Two eggs scrambled (I forgo the toast, there will be so many carbs later on!) or a cup of Greek yogurt or some cottage cheese with a little fruit does many, many good things. First, it revs my metabolism. Second, it helps my blood sugar stay more even and keeps me from being ravenous by the time dinner rolls around.

7. I drink coffee or tea with dessert. If I have something to sip on I’m less likely to go back for a second slice of pie. I also usually don’t eat most of the pie crust. For me, it’s easy, because I love the filling the most and don’t actually really enjoy the crust. So if you’re one of the few who agrees with me, this is a great way to skim off 100 calories or more!

8. I think about all of the food I ate as what it really is intended to be—energy!—and get a great workout in on Friday. If you’re a die-hard Black Friday shopper, walk through the mall quickly and park far away to burn off some of the extra calories.

How do you enjoy T-Day without feeling full of regret the next day? Tell us in the comments below!