Depending on your family’s secret recipe for dressing, the calories listed here may vary. A good helping of dressing, or stuffing, (1 cup) can have nearly 360 calories. To burn this off, you can hop on the elliptical trainer for 30 minutes, as long as you crank up the resistance and the incline for a serious challenge. You can get a similar calorie burn with 30 minutes on a stationary bike. Whatever moves you choose, make sure you’re pushing yourself so that you are out of breath and breaking a sweat.
It’s really not a holiday feast until you get your hands on a few golden, hot, buttery rolls. Even though it’s easy to munch on fresh-baked rolls all holiday long, it may not be so easy to shake the calories that come with your rolls. One fluffy, buttery roll can set you back over 200 calories, give or take a few calories depending on how much butter you like to add.
To keep the rolls from turning into belly rolls, you can play a friendly game of flag football for 20 minutes, or run stairs for 15 minutes, for every roll you eat.
In researching this article, I came across recipes for “sweet potato casserole” and “baked yams.” But we’re not talking about sweet potatoes or basic yams sprinkled with brown sugar. We are talking about your grandma’s candied yams. That probably means half a bag of brown sugar and a whole bag of marshmallows to top it off. One serving of candied yams can add up to more than 400 calories, which is going to take a little more than a walk around the block to burn off after dinner.
To work off these calories in the gym, you can try an hour-long Zumba class, or an hour of circuit training, which is a mix of strength training and cardio moves.
Sweet Potato Pie
Sweet potato pie has been a staple in most Black family holidays for generations. It was a thing long before pumpkin came into style for the cold season.
While you can’t stop tradition, just be aware that that dense delicacy can add up to 420 calories to your diet. That means on top of all the workouts you need to burn off your dinner, you can now add running a 5k to the list. You could also take a high-intensity class like kick-boxing for 45 minutes to make that pie disappear.
While you should absolutely enjoy every bite of your holiday meal and the people who pour their love into preparing them, be careful not to go too far overboard. If you have one serving of every food in this article, your meal could add up to at least 1700 calories, and that’s not including sweet tea or the wine! Try to balance out this heavy meal with high fiber veggies during the week leading up to the holiday, and think about adding some extra workouts to burn off some of these additional calories.
Sharita Jennings is a health policy attorney, ACE certified group fitness instructor and nutrition specialist. She leads fitness classes in Washington, DC and provides online coaching and tips on her site, GetFitLikeThat.com.