How Much Exercise Does It Really Take to Burn Off Your Holiday Meal?

They say that ignorance is bliss… but this couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to thinking you can just exercise away your holiday feasts in no time. Before you grab a second helping of Patti’s Pies, thinking you’ll walk it off the next day, you should know that it might take more than one, two, or three sweat sessions to truly burn off your family dinner. Keep reading to learn how many calories are in some of your favorite holiday eats and to get an idea of how much sweat it actually takes to burn them off.


Okay, turkey isn’t all that bad – when it’s baked. Three ounces of baked turkey breast, which is about the size of a deck of cards, is roughly 90 calories. To burn off those calories, you can jump rope for 9 minutes straight, or take a brisk one-mile walk or jog. Don’t forget to count the gravy, too! If you decide to add gravy, that’s about 50 calories for a quarter cup, or another minute of jump rope.

If you’re trying out deep-fried turkey, however, the same 3 ounces can have about 220 calories, so you’d need closer to 25 minutes of jumping rope or 2.5 miles of a fast-paced walk or jog to burn it off.

Collard Greens

Greens have a lot of health benefits since they’re packed with vitamins like vitamin C and K, along with a healthy amount of fiber. But those benefits can start to go down once you soak your greens with ham hock or other fatty meat for a boost of flavor. No shade to your secret recipe, but it’s probably not as healthy as you may have hoped.

Once you add the meat, sodium and oil to your greens, you can add roughly 150 calories to your plate, per serving. If you want to sweat these calories off, you can lift weights for 30 minutes or go for a bike ride for the same amount of time.

Smoked Ham

If you like ham with your holiday feast, you can rest easy knowing that this option is pretty low in calories and high in protein, much like turkey. Three ounces of ham is about 100 calories, which you can sweat off by running one mile or doing 20 minutes of yoga.