How to Burn Off Your Favorite New Orleans Dishes

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We're about a month into the new year and for many, this means trying to stick to New Year's resolutions to eat better, work out more and lose weight.

However, in the Gulf South, the first months of the year also mean Mardi Gras season which translates to more eating, parading and festivaling. That, of course, puts a crimp in those resolutions.

But don’t despair! You can still partake in all the Mardi Gras fun – you might just have to work a little harder for it.

We plugged the average weight of women (168.5 pounds) and men (195.7 pounds) and the calorie count of your favorite New Orleans cuisine into the American Council on Exercise (ACE) fitness calculator to determine how long you may need to work out in order to burn off those delicious dishes.

Keep in mind: these are just guidelines. Everybody (not to mention every dish) is different. Furthermore, it’s always advisable to consult a physician and/or nutritionist when making major health and fitness changes.


Starting with one of the most famous New Orleans sweet treats, Nutritionix reports one beignet contains 262 calories. Both women and men can climb stairs for about 25 minutes to knock out the sugary confection.

Or, you could join a Move Ya Brass, Bounce Ya Brass or Twerk Ya Brass class, as 30– 40 minutes of moderate aerobic dance enables women to torch those doughy calories, while men can dance cardio it away in 20 - 30 minutes.


This New Orleans staple contains 750 calories.

Casually playing an hour and a half of sports like football, soccer, racquetball or basketball will torch those calories in women and about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes for men.

Or, you can hit your gym's pool. Women can bust those calories swimming laps at a casual pace for an hour and 25 minutes. More strenuous pacing can get it done in an hour. Men can casually swim for about one hour and 10 minutes to break even, but a more rigorous pace will let them stop at about 50 minutes.

Red Beans and Rice

One cup of this coveted cuisine contains 314 calories. You don't even have to work very hard for this one—depending on how many cups you scarf down, that is.

If you stick to just one cup of red beans and rice, women can play golf to burn that in about 55 minutes—if they carry their clubs. If they use a cart, they’ll need at least an hour and 10 minutes on the links. Men, meanwhile, are able to work off their Monday meal in 45 minutes while carrying their clubs, or an hour if driving from tee to tee.

Not an outdoorsy person? Then stick to cleaning your house. Women can shoot for an hour and 20 minutes to lose the calories, while men clock in at an hour and 10 minutes. You need to tidy up anyway – why not do it before or after your favorite New Orleans delicacy?


A bowl (or two cups) of gumbo comes in at 297 calories. If you're a fan of the comfort food, you can easily balance things out by taking up martial arts for just under a half hour for women and 20 minutes for men. So… scarf down two bowls and hit the mats for a full hour.

Did you enjoy kickball as a kid at camp? Gather some friends or find a league to join. Women will be able to say goodbye to the gumbo they just ate in about 45 minutes. Men can do it in a little under thirty.


Two cups of this Louisiana cuisine will cost you 768 calories.

But women using a rowing machine at a moderate rate will torch it in an hour and 20 minutes, or 55 minutes if they go at it harder. For men, a moderate rowing machine workout can get the job done in an hour and 15 minutes, while an extreme session can accomplish it in 50 minutes. Running will also take care of your love of jambalaya. About an hour of hitting the pavement for both women and men should do the trick.


This is the big one—910 calories!

Jumping rope is probably the best exercise to work off a muffuletta. Women can jump it away in an hour at a fast pace, while men can attack their delectable sandwich in roughly fifty minutes.

Or, hit the tennis court for a game of singles and burn it off in an hour and a half for women and an hour and 15 minutes for men.

Whatever favorite New Orleans eats you choose to indulge in, there is no shortage of ways to counteract the calories.

Need some motivation to get you moving and grooving and in to the Mardi Gras spirit? Check out my Mardi Gras Mambo Run playlist on Spotify for fun and funky New Orleans hits.

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