Where Thanksgiving calories hide -- and how to burn them off

Posted at 1:48 PM, Nov 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-23 18:04:32-05

The traditional Thanksgiving dinner is often high in calories. It’s estimated Americans can eat over 4,000 calories during a typical gathering. One cup of mashed potatoes is roughly 230 calories. Stuffing can be 350 calories. A helping of sweet potato casserole with marshmallow topping is around 450 calories. It’s very easy to pack on extra pounds. 

What can people do to avoid weight gain?
It’s hard to eat in moderation when steaming-hot, delicious-smelling food is laid-out right in front of you. The best way to burn off those extra calories, is to move more.  Simple everyday activities like clearing the table and cleaning dishes for an hour can burn roughly 100 calories. Or get out the football and toss it around for an hour and you can burn off 160 calories. Other great options are walking or dancing for 30 minutes and you’ll use up 165 calories. 

What prescriptions do you have?
Exercise should be a part of your daily life, not just to burn off a holiday meal.  It’s one of the most important things you can do for your health so here are my prescriptions:

Partha’s RX:
1. Most adults should get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week.
2.  If you’re trying to lose weight, exercise more and reduce your calorie intake.
3. Include strength training twice a week – this builds muscle which can burn more calories
4. Reduce your sitting time. The more you sit, the higher your risk of metabolic problems like increased blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Can you remind us how exercise helps our health?
Getting regular exercise reduces your risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It can reduce high blood pressure, arthritis pain, osteoporosis and lower your risk of several forms of cancer. It can also improve your mental mood and help with depression and anxiety.