7 Ways to Burn Calories on Thanksgiving Day

By Sara Novak, Planet Green

The average American will consume 3,000 calories and 229 grams of fat this Thanksgiving, as a result of a traditional Thanksgiving meal packed with calories. So how do you stave off seasonal weight gain? Well, I’ve never been a fan of gyms and if you know me, you know that food is by far my favorite hobby. In order to truly ensure that I don’t blow up during the holidays I’ve got to get my butt in gear. Let’s get down to the numbers. This is all based on a 130 pound individual. After these seven activities you’ll be well on your way to burning off the meal and you never even had to set foot in a gym.

1. Holiday Baking–2 Hours

I love baking for the holidays so this is no chore for me. Do your own baking so that you can control the ingredients and use mostly organic or local ingredients. (How about a Vegan Pumpkin Streusel Cheesecake?) Don’t have gourmet baked goods flown in from who knows where when you could just make them yourself. If you’re baking at a moderate rate–standing, rolling out dough, kneading, etc.–you’ll burn as many calories as running nearly five miles in two hours of baking. Who knew? And you’ll have the extra bonus of a delicious smell wafting through your home.

Calories Burned: 471

2. Cleaning the House Before the Guests Arrive–2 hours

This is another built in workout that means you don’t have to waste energy going to a gym. What’s more, you can do things your way. That is using green cleaning supplies instead of toxic chemicals in your house. See our guide to cleaning green.

Calories Burned: 412

3. Composting All Your Thanksgiving Waste–30 minutes

Twenty-three percent of the waste that we generate in this country could be composted and considering how much food waste occurs during the holidays, composting is a given. If you spend 30 minutes at different points in the day composting, you’ll burn calories.

Calories Burned: 148

4. Picking Produce From the Garden for the Big Meal–30 minutes

The best way to keep it local is to get it out of your garden. Make whatever is growing in your fall garden a part of your holiday feast. From root vegetables, to cabbage, and squash being flexible with your menu means keeping it local. And gardening is a great way to stay slim and trim.

Calories Burned: 89

5. Raking the Lawn Before the Guests Arrive–2 hours

Skip the leaf blower this year because raking is much better for the environment. Gas powered leaf blowers use fossil fuels, add to the laundry list of unnecessary lawn equipment that contributes to your overall consumption, and cause noise pollution. Once you’re done raking, don’t burn your leaves because burning creates a lot of smoke, especially when leaves are damp, and releases particulate matter and toxic compounds. Instead turn your leaves into mulch or compost your leaves.

Calories Burned: 507

6. Touch Football with the Family–1 Hour

This year keep the family occupied by bundling up and heading outside. See the leaves at their peak (depending on where you live) and enjoy the crisp air. Enjoy a traditional game of touch football. Getting competitive can be a great way to burn calories after indulging in a massive meal.

Calories Burned: 471

7. Snoozing After the Meal–1 Hour

After downing two days worth of calories in one meal of course you’ll need a snooze and who knew that you would actually be burning calories while you were sleeping? Just another way to burn off that bird though it’s likely not the fastest way. You’d have to sleep for 56 hours to burn off the meal completely so unless you’re a bear in hibernation, that seems unlikely.

Calories Burned: 53

Total Calories Burned: 2,151

Have a Vegan Thanksgiving
5 Easy Calorie Burning Activities
Mindful Eating on Thanksgiving: You Can Do It!

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.


Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton3 years ago


J.L. A.
JL A.3 years ago

balancing calories consumed with calories burned is a good reminder

Jennifer C.
Past Member 3 years ago


Haitham H.
Past Member 3 years ago

My friend emailed the link for your post , good reading, I will pass it along.i think this site has also some great information
http://ourgreenlife.info - Green Life

K s Goh
KS Goh4 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Ida J.
Ida J.4 years ago


Sarah Anderson
Sarah Anderson4 years ago


Melissah Chadwick
Melissah C.4 years ago


Audrey Harry
.4 years ago

I'm sure frazzled mom burned a few calories watching her college babies legally drink wine with everyone.

Tiffany Lambiase
Tiffany Lambiase5 years ago