Burning Calories During the Holidays

Holiday time is often associated with eating more calories, but it’s also a time you can burn more too! Instead of dreading the extra housework and chores this time of year, take a positive spin and think of it as a way to burn off some of your holiday treats.

Physical activity can also help ease the stress of the holidays. When you’re shopping, park your car a little farther from the store entrance, and take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.

Here are just a few more opportunities to burn off that extra sugar cookie:


Chore  Calories Burned per Hour*
Carrying firewood  670 
Shoveling powdery snow  600 
Scrubbing floors  400 
Raking leaves  270 
Washing windows  250 
Putting groceries away  220 
Mopping/sweeping  220 
Grocery shopping  175 
Vacuuming  175 
Making beds  135 
Washing dishes  120 

*For a 150-pound person. Adjust calories up or down slightly if you weigh more or less than this.  For more information about calories used for activities of daily living visit the MyPyramid Tracker.

Tame Holiday Calories

Holiday special events are a time when families and friends gather and celebrate.  Often the celebrations center around holiday treats. Try these tips to enjoy holiday foods without adding pounds.

  • Don’t go to a party hungry. When we’re hungry, we tend to overeat. Eating a healthy snack before you go may take the edge off your appetite.
  • Take your own platter. If it’s a potluck event, take a fresh fruit or vegetable tray with low-fat dip or a cheese tray with reduced fat cheeses and whole grain crackers. More than likely you aren‘t the only one who wants to stay healthy during the holidays.
  • Limit high-fat foods. High-fat foods include fried or cheese-filled items, pastries, processed meats, and cream-based dishes. Store high-calorie foods out of sight. Keep healthy snacks on hand such as fruit, cut-up veggies, and whole grain crackers.
  • Watch portions. Enjoy your holiday favorites, just eat less of them. Aim for smaller portions. The first bite introduces the flavor and texture of a food, but will likely taste the same as the last bite. Remember, moderation!
  • Survey your options. At a buffet, survey the table before getting in line to choose foods. Select a smaller plate and a variety of foods. Reduce temptation by choosing a seat well away from the buffet table.
  • Eat slowly and enjoy your food. Return your fork to the plate after each bite, and chew slowly to enjoy the flavor and texture of the food.
  • Drink water. Stay well hydrated. For a change, drink sparkling water or add a sugar-free flavoring pouch.
  • Limit Alcohol. Alcohol provides extra calories. If you drink, limit the amount.

Subscribe to Words on Wellness

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner