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Going to the gym for a full workout isn’t the only way to burn calories. All of those little everyday things you do matter, too.

Here are 16 little ways to burn more calories while you cook.

I am a big fan of the one small change approach to weight loss. It’s how I lost 100 pounds and how I have maintained that weight loss for years since.

One of the things I realized in my weight loss journey was how many shortcuts I had been taking in life – taking the elevator or escalator instead of the stairs, parking in the closest spot in the grocery store, etc.

When I think about what life used to be like for people before cars, smartphones, and the myriad of other conveniences we have these days, it’s no wonder we have an obesity epidemic!

I like to make life easier as much as the next person, but I started recognizing that there was a cost to how many shortcuts I was taking – my health.

So, I set out on a mission to change one small thing at a time to start cutting out those shortcuts and burning more calories in every area of my life, from my desk job to my dinner prep.

Here are some ideas to help you do the same.

Going to the gym for a full workout isn't the only way to burn calories. All of those little everyday things you do matter, too. Here are 16 little ways to burn more calories while you cook.

How to Workout While You Cook

  1. Whisk and mix things by hand instead of using a mixer.
  2. Mash potatoes by hand using a potato masher instead of a mixer.
  3. Use a manual can opener instead of an electric model.
  4. Take your groceries into the house in multiple trips instead of all of the bags at once. Any extra walking is a good thing!
  5. Use a basket instead of a cart at the grocery store to build your upper body muscles. The farther you hold it away from your body, the more muscles you will engage.
  6. Peel and chop fresh produce by hand instead of buying it already prepped or using a food processor.
  7. Knead bread dough by hand instead of using a mixer or bread machine – it’s soothing and gets your arms and shoulders moving.
  8. Use a cast-iron skillet – they are heavy, so every time you take it out and lift it, you are working your muscles a bit.
  9. Shred cheese and vegetables by hand instead of buying them pre-shredded.
  10. Instead of bending at the waist to load the dishwasher, put away groceries, and reach for pots and pans, turn the movement into a squat.
  11. Put on some lively music while you cook and add a few dance moves into dinner prep. It’ll boost your mood and your calorie burn!
  12. Laugh. Make the everyday tasks of cooking and washing dishes more enjoyable by adding some laughter…and it burns about 20% more calories!
  13. Stand up taller – good posture strengthens your abs, so don’t just lean over the counter and let your shoulders slump.
  14. Instead of just standing and waiting for the water to boil or the microwave to beep, keep moving by washing dishes, walking in place, or doing counter push-ups.
  15. Chew gum while you cook – it burns a few calories from the chewing movement, but it also dissuades you from taste-testing as you prepare dinner.
  16. Wash dishes by hand instead of using the dishwasher – scrubbing that pan by hand can take a lot of elbow grease.