How long will it take to walk off YOUR Thanksgiving dinner today?

Caught up in the festivities, Thanksgiving dinner is usually demolished in minutes — but it would take up to 13 hours to walk off the damage.

The traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings — stuffing, mashed potato, cranberry sauce, candied yams and gravy —  contains around 3,700 calories, which is 70 per cent above the entire daily allowance for a woman.

To burn this off, it would require the average person to walk more than 30 miles, which would take around 13 hours, or a six-hour jog, based on official expenditure estimates.

If you were one of the families who had Mac and Cheese instead of turkey this year, you’d have to walk even for longer. While it has becoming increasingly popular for vegetarians and families bored of turkey in recent years, the pasta and cheese are less nutritious and contain more calories.

The average portion of Mac and Cheese contains about 600 calories. With all the usual sides, this brings the calorie count to around 4,000. To walk this off, you would have to walk for 32 miles, which would take you almost 14 hours.

Having dessert of either a slice of pumpkin or apple pie would add about 300 calories, or nearly 7,000 steps. And if you had a 130-calorie scoop of ice cream too it would add 3,000 steps. A glass of wine or two with your dinner would add on nearly 3,000 steps for each.

Dr Linia Patel, a registered dietitian in the UK, said: ‘Special holidays for thanksgiving are allowed, so there is no need to beat yourself up over eating more than normal for the day.

‘But you can’t exercise your way out of everything you eat, instead there is a balance in calorie intake to be struck.

Other favorites including a beef wellington take the tally to a whopping 4,000 calories — which needs 90,000 steps or 40 miles to walk.

The above graphic shows how many steps you would need to walk to burn off every part of a thanksgiving dinner. It is based on data from the CDC suggesting every step burns off 0.04 to 0.05 calories. The size of calories for each meal are given as portions. For example, four slices of turkey are equal to 370 calories, while a portion of green beans contains about 30

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that while on a walk the standard adult burns about 140 calories within thirty minutes.

It takes roughly this time to walk some 3,300 steps, equivalent to about 0.04 to 0.05 calories per pace.

This is based on an adult weighing about 154lbs (11st). Those who weigh more will burn slightly more calories with every step.

How many calories do I burn off from exercise? 

After a bumper thanksgiving dinner, you may be looking for ways to burn off those added calories.

One of the key ways is exercise, with the CDC having a list of calories burnt after an hour of activity.

It is for a standard American weighing in at 154lb (11st), with those weighing more burning more.

Hiking: 370 calories burned in an hour

Walking: 280 calories burned in an hour 

Light gardening: 330 calories burned in an hour

Bicycling: 290 calories burned in an hour

And for more intense exercises:

Running: 590 calories in an hour

Intense bicycling: 590 calories in an hour

Swimming: 510 calories in an hour

Intense walk: 460 calories in an hour

Heavy yard work: 440 calories in an hour

Weight lifting: 440 calories in an hour 

Source: CDC 

If you chose to work off the 3,700 calorie turkey meal with all the trimmings with a light bicycle ride, it would take nearly 13 hours to work off. 

Those going on a vigorous cycle ride will need about six hours, the CDC suggests.

Yoga-lovers will need around 20 hours to burn off the meal, and dancers should opt for 11 hours of practice. 

Dr Patel added: ‘If you overindulge on one day it is important to remember that you can balance it out, but by focusing on more foods like fruit and vegetables afterwards.

‘The more active you are the more calories you are going to burn, so think about going for a walk with the family or a jog on the day afterwards.’

After scanning the US Department of Agriculture’s database, calculated the average calories for thanksgiving based on the starters, main meal, deserts and drinks.

For the pre-meal snacks, two crescent rolls, a handful of mixed nuts, broccoli florets, artichoke dip and a beer were listed — which came to 800 calories between them.

For starters, a butternut squash soup was included — containing 220 calories which would require 5,000 steps to burn off.

Families would then move on to about four slices of turkey or another main, alongside stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, candied yams and sweet potato casserole. 

Two glasses of red wine were also included, bringing the tally to nearly 1,900 calories.

A slice of apple pie, pumpkin pie, a scoop of vanilla ice cream and then a coffee were included for dessert. This was 800 calories.

The average American woman weights 170lbs (12.1st), while men are 197.9lbs (14.1st). In the UK, women weigh 154lbs (11stone), while men weigh 184.8lbs (13.2stone). 

The average American woman is recommended to eat about 2,200 calories a day, while for men the average needed is 2,500 calories.

So… what did YOU eat this year?

US Department of Agriculture figures suggest Americans could be consuming as many as 3,700 calories on thanksgiving if they have turkey. But if they opted for a beef wellington this would balloon to 3,900 calories.

So how many calories are in each portion of a typical thanksgiving meal?


Four slices of roast turkey — 370 calories, 8,500 steps

Portion of Mac and Cheese — 600 calories, 13,500 steps 

Portion of beef wellington — 690 calories, 15,700 steps

Portion of baked salmon — 390 calories, 8,800 steps


Stuffing — 200 calories, 4,700 steps

Gravy — 80 calories, 2,000 steps

Portion of mashed potatoes — 210 calories, 4,800 steps

Portion of green beans — 30 calories, or 700 steps

Heaped spoons cranberry sauce — 220 cals, or 5,000 steps

Candied yams — 290 calories, or 6,500 steps

Sweet potato casserole — 210 calories, 4,800 steps

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