15 Fun Ways to Burn Off Extra Holiday Calories

by | Updated: October 13th, 2020 | Read time: 3 minutes

It’s that time of year again — treats and temptations at every turn! Saying “No” all the time is no fun, but a cookie here and a few pieces of candy there can easily turn into half a bowl of cheese dip or an all-out splurge at a holiday party. I often advise my clients to carefully monitor portion size — it’s the best way to sample goodies, feel satisfied and not go so far overboard that your diet is sunk. But staying active is equally as important when it comes to staying fit and healthy over the holidays.

Fun Ways to Burn Off Holiday Foods

Here are a few fun ways to work off the extra calories you may rack up indulging in the season’s most popular decadent dishes:

Sugar cookie (one)
130 calories
Rather than grumbling about the snow, make it part of your workout! Thirty minutes of snowman building works off about 175 calories.

Candy kisses (five)
110 calories
Take a bike ride, or if it’s too cold or icy outside, ride a stationary bike indoors for 20 minutes. Make it fun by watching a holiday movie while you ride.

Candy cane (one)
55 calories
Put on your favorite holiday music and dance (like no one’s watching!) for 15 minutes.

Peppermint mocha coffee  
410 calories
Have some holiday shopping to do? Go ahead and splurge on that sweet coffee drink. Two hours walking at a moderate pace around the mall will burn off more than 500 calories. To make up for time spent standing and browsing, take the stairs instead of the escalator.

Eggnog (6 oz.)
228 calories
Sip to your heart’s content, then clear the driveway or sidewalk of snow. Shoveling for 30 minutes burns about 210 calories.

Fudge (one piece)
90 calories
Company coming for dinner? Vacuum for 20 minutes, sweep for 30 minutes or clean windows for 30 minutes, and it’s like that piece of fudge was never eaten.

Hot cocoa (6 oz.)
70 calories
Bundle up and head outside for a 20 minute walk. If you can strap on a pair of snowshoes, you’ll burn twice as many calories in the same amount of time!

Spinach artichoke dip (4 oz. serving)
About 300 calories
For really rich splurges, counter the damage with an intense and creative workout such as cross-country skiing. An hour skiing at a moderate pace burns nearly 600 calories. If you’re not in an ideal location to ski, try hitting the stairs. Three ten-minute sessions of walking up and down steps will erase 300 calories.

Cheddar cheese cubes (eight)
130 calories
Jump rope for 10 minutes, alternating between 30 seconds at a fast pace and 30 seconds at a slower pace.

Gravy (1/2 cup)
70 calories
When was the last time you went caroling? Believe it or not, 30 minutes of enthusiastic singing subtracts about 70 calories!

Dinner roll (one)
85 calories
You’re it! Play a few quick rounds of tag with the kids and the effects of the dough will be gone in no time.

Green bean casserole
160 calories
Tame holiday stress and zap casserole calories with yoga. Just 25 minutes of active posing and movement burns nearly 200 calories.

Mulled wine (one glass)
100 calories
Beat boredom on a winter break day by taking the kids bowling. One hour takes away 120 calories.

Candied yams with marshmallow topping (2 oz. serving)
130 calories
Do the following exercises back to back: 40 jumping jacks, 20 squats, 30 crunches, 10 push ups.

Fruit cake (2 oz. serving)
180 calories
Give the gift of a good massage, and you’ll be rewarded by calories burned! Just 40 minutes of massaging sends 200 calories sailing.