How to Burn 700 Calories Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner

Burn calories by turning your Thanksgiving prep into a pre-dinner workout.

Anyone who's ever hoisted a turkey out of the oven or chopped countless veggies for Thanksgiving dinner knows that preparing the turkey-day menu can be hard work. We wanted to find out how that hard work translates into calories burned. So we used the Mayo Clinic's research on working metabolic rates to estimate how much you burn while you're cooking a traditional Thanksgiving dinner menu. Here's what we found. (Bonus savings: cook EatingWell's healthier menu and save 1,724 calories compared to traditional Thanksgiving dinner!) Download a FREE 5-Day 1,500-Calorie Meal Plan to Lose Weight!

Bridget Soper, Contributing Writer

Watch: See how to cook Thanksgiving turkey


Turkey & Gravy

1. Calories Burned Cooking Turkey

Calories burned while cooking turkey (45 minutes of seasoning and prepping the bird as well as stirring and whisking the gravy): 122 calories

Calories you eat in a serving of Classic Brined Turkey and Gravy: 237 calories

Bonus: Save 76 more calories with EatingWell’s healthier Sage-Rubbed Roast Turkey with Lemon-Bay Gravy recipe (pictured left).


Two-Toned Mashed Potatoes

2. Calories Burned Cooking Mashed Potatoes

Calories burned while cooking mashed potatoes (20 minutes of peeling, cutting and mashing potatoes): 54 calories

Calories you eat in a serving of Classic Mashed Potatoes: 376 calories

Bonus: Save 259 more calories with EatingWell’s healthier Two-Toned Mashed Potatoes recipe (pictured left).


Green Bean Casserole

3. Calories Burned Cooking Green Bean Casserole

Calories burned while cooking Green Bean Casserole (20 minutes of trimming, cooking and tossing the beans and sauce): 54 calories

Calories you eat in a serving of Green Bean Casserole: 330 calories

Bonus: Save 259 more calories with EatingWell’s healthier Sweet & Sour Green Beans recipe (pictured left).


Wild Rice Stuffing with Apple & Sausage

4. Calories Burned Cooking Sausage Stuffing

Calories burned while cooking Sausage Stuffing (75 minutes of chopping, toasting bread, sautéing sausage and mixing): 203 calories

Calories you eat in a serving of Sausage Stuffing: 665 calories

Bonus: Save 375 more calories with EatingWell’s healthier Wild Rice Stuffing with Apple & Sausage recipe (pictured left).


Savory Corn Pudding

5. Calories Burned Cooking Corn Pudding

Calories burned while cooking Corn Pudding (30 minutes of chopping, whisking and mixing): 81 calories

Calories you eat in a serving of Corn Pudding: 491 calories

Bonus: Save 339 more calories with EatingWell’s healthier Savory Corn Pudding recipe (pictured left).


Cranberry Sauce with Star Anise

6. Calories Burned Cooking Cranberry Sauce

Calories burned while cooking Cranberry Sauce (20 minutes of prepping ingredients and stirring): 54 calories

Calories you eat in a serving of Cranberry Sauce: 95 calories

Bonus: Save 6 more calories with EatingWell’s healthier Cranberry Sauce with Star Anise recipe (pictured left).


Pumpkin-Chocolate Torte with Pumpkin Whipped Cream

7. Calories Burned Cooking Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream

Calories burned while cooking Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream (50 minutes of measuring ingredients, prepping and mixing): 135 calories

Calories you eat in a serving of Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream: 604 calories

Bonus: Save 410 more calories with EatingWell’s healthier Pumpkin-Chocolate Torte with Pumpkin Whipped Cream recipe (pictured left).

Total Calories Saved:

Total Calories:

Traditional Thanksgiving Menu: 2,798 calories
EatingWell's Healthier Menu: 1,074 calories
Calories Saved: 1,724

Your Cooking Workout: 4 hours 20 minutes
Calories Burned While Cooking: 703