4. Caloric Intake

We have looked at what to put in our bodies and the guidelines to follow in order to find the right balance of nutrients, but what about how much food you should be consuming?

We may sometimes find ourselves peaking at the back of food packages, glaring at the numbers found next to food items on menus, and even using Google to see how many calories are in the foods we choose to eat. However, understanding the daily recommendations for calories combined with the amount of physical activity is essential to balancing a healthy lifestyle.

What is a Calorie?
Surprising to many, a calorie is a unit that is used to measure energy. A calorie found in food is actually a kilocalorie (kcal). These particular calories provide energy in the form of heat so that our bodies can function. While calories are essential to our daily lives, it is important to monitor the appropriate number of calories one intakes. According to the American Heart Association, 2,000 (kcals) is an ideal amount of calories to consume per day. However, you may need to consume less or more than 2,000 calories depending upon your age, gender, activity level, and whether you’re trying to lose, gain or maintain your weight.

Now it’s your turn: Identify your ideal daily caloric intake, click the link provided by the American Cancer Society.

In order to balance caloric intake versus output, you can partake in various activities to burn calories. For example, did you know that:

  • Dancing for an hour can burn around 370 calories
  • Mowing the lawn (using a non-riding mower) burns approximately 324 calories
  • An hour of cleaning can burn about 240 calories

See the link for more examples of how to burn calories in various ways.


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Ch. 6 - Nutrition by UGA PEDB Program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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