Watch out for those Holiday Calories: Holiday Indulgences in Perspective to Exercise

The holidays are a time for celebration, but many times we end the holiday season bloated, with a few extra lbs to work off with the new years resolution.  While a few indulgences can be made up for, many times the Christmas dinner feast has way more calories than you could even imagine.

Below we’ve listed nine seasonal indulgences along with the calories (which can vary by recipe, but can be trusted to be approximate), along with the amount of time it would take a 180lbs person running a 12 minute per mile pace to burn off that serving, to add a little perspective to the extra calories on Christmas day.

We also included a few tips at the end of ways to manage portion sizes and reduce total calories consumed.  Enjoy your holiday feasts, but add some moderation so you can get a head start for your new years resolutions!


Gingerbread cookie1 large 3oz cookie = 340 calories

Equals 31.2 minutes running


Egg Nog

one cup = 343 calories

Equals 31.2 minutes running


Candied Yams

Photo: Candied yams by Teresa Trimm  via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Caloric content varies depending on recipe but one serving can equal approx 400 calories

Equals 36.6 minutes running


Canned Cranberry Sauce

By from USA (Cranberry Sauce) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
varies but one serving approx 400 calories

Equals 36.6 minutes running


Hot Buttered Rum

By urban.houstonian – Flickr: And God said, let there be hot, buttered rum! AMEN!, CC BY 2.0,

one cup = 300 calories

Equals 27.6 minutes running


Yule Log Cake

one serving = 400 calories

Equals 36.6 minutes running


Starbucks Peppermint white chocolate mocha

Grande (16ox) =540 calories

Equals 49.2 minutes running


Plum pudding

Photo: Brian Uhreen via Flickr CC-BY 2.0.

one serving depending on recipe approximately = 360 calories

Equals 33 minutes running


Beef Wellington

one serving = 744 calories

Equals 68.4 minutes

Have one serving of everything above, and a 180 lbs runner running at a 12min/mile pace would need to run for 5.84 hours to burn off the calories of these decadent Christmas menu items.  These calories really add up when one ignores portion sizes are ignored because, “it’s a holiday,” or when one allows themselves to continue refilling a glass of egg nog or hot buttered rum, or stands near the desert tray.

Here are some tips for managing your holiday calories:

  • In order to reduce the total number or calories, serve yourself a taste of sweet or rich food, rather than a full serving, or multiple servings.
  • Fill your plate with low glycemic vegetables.  Better yet, if you are planning the menu, offer some fresh or steamed vegetables to have a low calorie option.
  • Reduce your total number of alcoholic drinks consumed.  While not detailed on this list, beer, wine, and mixed drinks can easily add up the calories.  Reduce the total number of alcoholic drinks consumed by having water or a sparkling water mocktail between each alcoholic drink.



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