How to Burn Off the Calories of Your Favorite Foods

Now that chain restaurant menus list how many calories are in each dish, it’s harder to justify eating certain foods anymore (we’re talking to you, 460-calorie scone from Starbucks). But a study, presented by Texas Christian University researchers at the Experimental Biology meeting in April 2013, found that people make even healthier choices if, instead of seeing the calorie count, they’re shown how much exercise it takes to burn off what they’re considering eating.

Maybe one day, menus will list how many minutes you’ll need to log on the rowing machine to erase that scone (48 minutes with vigorous effort, for the record). Until then, here’s a quick guide for you (all calorie calculations are based on a 140-pound woman):

1Mozzarella Sticks

One basket of mozzarella sticks at 763 calories = 84 minutes of singles tennis (or two hours and 15 minutes of doubles!)

MORE: 9 Nutritionist-Approved Snacks

2Cheeseburger

One single cheeseburger at 343 calories = 30 minutes of vigorous freestyle laps in the pool

3Bagel

One medium-sized bagel at 289 calories + 1 oz of cream cheese at 97 calories = 2 hours and 15 minutes of yoga

MORE: Why You Should Cut Calories At Lunch

4Cheese Pizza

One slice of cheese pizza at 285 calories = 50 minutes of walking at a brisk pace (that means 4 mph on the treadmill)

5Chocolate Chip Cookies

Two chocolate chip cookies at 155 calories = 15 minutes on the stair climber

MORE: The Stress-Reduction Diet

6Tostadas

Two tostadas with guacamole at 360 calories = 2 hours of Pilates

7Tuna Salad Sub

One tuna salad sub at 584 calories = 45 minutes of running at a 9-minute-mile pace

MORE: Are You Getting Too Much Protein?

8Soda

One 12-oz can of regular soda at 136 calories = 20 minutes of cross-country (i.e. backcountry) hiking

9Oat Bran Muffin

One medium-size oat bran muffin (113 grams) at 305 calories = 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer

MORE: The Best Breakfasts to Curb Cravings

10Beer

One 12-oz light beer at 103 calories = 30 minutes of bowling

View All