It’s that time of year again—treats and temptations at every turn! Saying “No” all the time is no fun, but a cookie here and a few pieces of candy there can easily turn into half a bowl of cheese dip or an all-out splurge at a holiday party. I often advise my clients to carefully monitor portion size—it’s the best way to sample goodies, feel satisfied and not go so far overboard that your diet is sunk. But staying active is equally as important when it comes to staying fit and healthy over the holidays.
Here are a few fun ways to work off the extra calories you may rack up indulging in the season’s most popular decadent dishes:
Sugar cookie (one)
Rather than grumbling about the snow, make it part of your workout! Thirty minutes of snowman building works off about 175 calories.
Candy kisses (five)
Take a bike ride, or if it’s too cold or icy outside, ride a stationary bike indoors for 20 minutes. Make it fun by watching a holiday movie while you ride.
Candy cane (one)
Put on your favorite holiday music and dance (like no one’s watching!) for 15 minutes.
Peppermint mocha coffee
Have some holiday shopping to do? Go ahead and splurge on that sweet coffee drink. Two hours walking at a moderate pace around the mall will burn off more than 500 calories. To make up for time spent standing and browsing, take the stairs instead of the escalator.
Eggnog (6 oz.)
Sip to your heart’s content, then clear the driveway or sidewalk of snow. Shoveling for 30 minutes burns about 210 calories.
Fudge (one piece)
Company coming for dinner? Vacuum for 20 minutes, sweep for 30 minutes or clean windows for 30 minutes, and it’s like that piece of fudge was never eaten.
Hot cocoa (6 oz.)
Bundle up and head outside for a 20 minute walk. If you can strap on a pair of snowshoes, you’ll burn twice as many calories in the same amount of time!
Spinach artichoke dip (4 oz. serving)
About 300 calories
For really rich splurges, counter the damage with an intense and creative workout such as cross-country skiing. An hour skiing at a moderate pace burns nearly 600 calories. If you’re not in an ideal location to ski, try hitting the stairs. Three ten-minute sessions of walking up and down steps will erase 300 calories.
Cheddar cheese cubes (eight)
Jump rope for 10 minutes, alternating between 30 seconds at a fast pace and 30 seconds at a slower pace.
Gravy (1/2 cup)
When was the last time you went caroling? Believe it or not, 30 minutes of enthusiastic singing subtracts about 70 calories!
Dinner roll (one)
You’re it! Play a few quick rounds of tag with the kids and the effects of the gravy will be gone in no time.
Green bean casserole
Tame holiday stress and zap casserole calories with yoga. Just 25 minutes of active posing and movement burns nearly 200 calories.
Mulled wine (one glass)
Beat boredom on a winter break day by taking the kids bowling. One hour takes away 120 calories.
Candied yams with marshmallow topping (2 oz. serving)
Do the following exercises back to back: 40 jumping jacks, 20 squats, 30 crunches, 10 push ups.
Fruit cake (2 oz. serving)
Give the gift of a good massage, and you’ll be rewarded by calories burned! Just 40 minutes of massaging sends 200 calories sailing.
IFBB figure professional Melissa Transou, a fitness expert, wife and mother, blogs about the unique sports and nutrition needs of women and female athletes exclusively for Vitacost.com. Learn more about Melissa in this recent RXMuscle.com spotlight article, connect with her on Facebook or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.