Your Recommended Daily Calories

How many calories should you eat each day to maintain your weight, and how many should you eat to lose weight? While the best answer to that question comes from your physician or a registered dietician, you can use a number of free, online tools to help you find your daily calorie number.

Online Calorie Calculators
You can use an online calorie calculator which asks you about your age, weight, height and other questions. These calculators provide general calorie numbers to help you meet your goals.

Here are four interesting calorie calculators:

NutritionData.com

Centers for Disease Control Calorie Calculator

Mayo Clinic Calorie Calculator

LiveStrong Calorie Calculator

*Check all four — you may likely get different results, since they ask for different data.

USDA Calorie Chart
You can refer to the USDA’s daily calorie chart, which lets you find your calorie number based on your age, gender and activity level.

Girls & Women

Age
Sedentary
Moderately Active
Active
2-3
1,000-1,200
1,000-1,400
1,000-1,400
4-8
1,200-1,400
1,400-1,600
1,400-1,800
9-13
1,400-1,600
1,600-2,000
1,800-2,200
14-18
1,800
2,000
2,400
19-30
1,800-2,000
2,000-2,200
2,400
31-50
1,800
2,000
2,200
51+
1,600
1,800
2,000-2,200

Boys & Men

Age
Sedentary
Moderately Active
Active
4-8
1,200-1,400
1,400-1,600
1,600-2,000
9-13
1,600-2,000
1,800-2,200
2,000-2,600
14-18
2,000-2,400
2,400-2,800
2,800-3,200
19-30
2,400-2,600
2,600-2,800
3,000
31-50
2,200-2,400
2,400-2,600
2,800-3,000
51+
2,000-2,200
2,200-2,400
2,400-2,800

NOTES:

Height & Weight – This chart uses an example woman who is 5’4″ and 126 lbs., and an example man who is 5’10” and 154 lbs.

Activity Level – “Active” means your daily routine includes physical activity similar to walking more than 3 miles at 3 to 4 mph. “Moderately Active” means your daily routine includes activity similar to walking 1.5 to 3 miles at 3 to 4 mph. “Sedentary” means you do little physical activity other than the ordinary tasks associated with daily living.

Additional Resources:

U.S. Department of Agriculture: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010

U.S. Food and Drug Administration: How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label

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