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How Far You Have to Run to Burn Off Your Fave Winter Foods

HowFartoBurnOffFor many of us, the holiday season is filled with traditions. We decorate the house with Christmas trees and menorahs and snowflakes, we attend parties, we exchange gifts. And we eat. Oh, lordy, do we eat. At least, in my family we certainly do.

I’d love to say that I just have a bite or two of my favorite calorie-rich foods and fill the rest of my plate with veggies, but that’s not always the case. Even when I look into calories before I go to a food-filled event, sometimes one glass of champagne turns into three, and before you know it, I’ve eaten a plate of cookies. I guess, when I’m having fun, it’s easy to ignore what those silly numbers mean. What’s 300 calories really, you know?

One thing I can never ignore, though, is how far I have to run to burn off those calories, and I know I’m not alone in this. So, before you decide whether to have a sugar cookie or a candy cane, take a look at how far you’d need to run to burn off the calories in your favorite wintertime foods (based on a 150-pound woman running at a 6-mph pace).

The aforementioned champagne isn’t a big deal if you stop at a glass or two—you’re looking at less than ¾ of a mile to burn off a 4.1-ounce serving. Candy canes are another fairly low-cal option, requiring just about half a mile to cancel one out.

The big dinners weigh in a bit heavier. A 4-ounce serving of roasted ham will take 1.8 miles to burn, and one large croissant is the equivalent of 2.5 miles—amazing when you consider how light and flaky they are, right?

And the holiday season isn’t the holiday season without a sugar cookie (or two); two cookies from the Betty Crocker mix takes 1.5 miles to burn off, with a single gingerbread cookie coming in just below that at 1.3 miles.

Two love ’em or hate ’em holiday foods are fruitcake and eggnog, both of which are going to require some major minutes on the treadmill. For a single 3-ounce serving of Hickory Farms fruitcake, plan on running 3 miles, and if you add a cup of eggnog, tack on another 5K. But, you know, give it 30 minutes or so. Nobody wants to run on a tummy full of eggnog. Yuck.

How Far You’d Have to Run to Burn Off…


Champagne: 4.1 oz = 78 cal = 7 min

Candy cane: 1 candy cane = 60 cal = 5.5 min

Ham: 4 oz roasted, regular = 201 cal = 18 min

Croissant: 1 large = 272 cal = 25 min

Sugar cookie: 2 cookies from Betty Crocker mix = 160 cal = 14.5 min

Gingerbread cookie: 1 average cookie = 140 cal = 13 min

Fruitcake: 3 oz Hickory Farms cake = 330 cal = 30 min

Eggnog: 1 cup = 343 cal = 31 min

Will you look at your winter favorites any differently knowing how many miles you’d have to run to burn off the calories, or are they totally worth it? —Kristen

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