Thanksgiving is the time for good food, good drinks and good old-fashioned caloric overload disguised as quality time. Now, I’m not one to generalize, but I know firsthand that 1) big meals go best with wine, 2) the unhealthy stuffing tastes better and 3) my grandma doesn’t know (or care) about gluten. In fact, I think it’s her favorite ingredient.
Don’t stress about it. One day of caloric overload isn’t going to do anything to your body’s overall composition, and you can actually burn more calories by embracing the hustle and bustle that is Thanksgiving Day. In fact, if you plan your day correctly, you can actually burn off your Thanksgiving turkey — and probably a side — just by being a great guest or host and embracing Thanksgiving traditions.
- Grocery shop. Pushing your cart, bagging groceries and putting groceries away, burns approximately 200 calories on a normal day. Add in the craziness of grocery stores at Thanksgiving time and you’re looking at an entire serving of turkey (dark meat with skin, not just the lean white meat) burned off without a second thought. For an extra caloric burn, trade the shopping cart for a basket and work those biceps.
- Bring a side dish. Be a good guest and prepare a dish to bring to the feast. Just 30 minutes of chopping, stirring and combining ingredients can burn 100 calories.
- Watch something funny. This shouldn’t be a hard one, seeing as Thanksgiving Day is all about movie marathons and TV specials. Laughing for 30 minutes burns 100 calories, so pick out a few funny reruns and start burning.
- Organize a family-style flag football game. While the turkey’s in the oven, get the guests together for some family football. Thirty minutes of throwing, catching, running and laughing burns over 250 calories.
- Take a nap. A 200-pound person burns about 100 calories per hour just sleeping. Luckily for us, tryptophan — the amino acid found in poultry — releases big boosts of serotonin when combined with carbs, meaning there’s a pretty big nap potential post-dinner.
- Clear the table and do the dishes. Did you know that 15 minutes of clearing dishes burns 50 calories? Throw in 30 minutes of washing and rinsing, and you’ve burned over 100 calories right there.
- Black Friday shop. One hour of scouring the sale racks, battling throngs of exhausted Black Friday-ers and trying on a few pairs of jeans can burn over 200 calories.