Daily Calorie Intake for Women
Calories (energy from food) are required for your body to function every day. You need calories to keep your heart beating, for breathing and digestion, as well as to fuel your exercise.
Calorie requirements for men and women are very different because of the differences in our bodies. In general, men tend to have more muscle mass which burns calories rapidly, as well as having a larger body size overall (meaning more calories required for daily organ functions). If you’re serving up a meal for yourself and your male partner, think about whether you need to be having the same amount of food.
Calorie requirements vary greatly from one woman to the next. It depends on your age, your weight and goals (weight loss, gain or maintenance), and your exercise. Some examples of this are below.
When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to consume less calories than your body uses. By doing this, your body will break down fat stores for the energy it needs, and weight loss will result. If you’re trying to gain weight, you need to eat a healthy diet that has more calories than you use. Regular exercise is still important.
Blanket rules for calorie intake such as ‘1200 calories per day’, may be effective for weight loss in the short-term, but are too restrictive for most people and not sustainable in the long run. With Strictly You, your personal calorie needs and goals are taken into account when your individualised plan is formulated. We want you to achieve and maintain your goals!
To nourish your body in the healthiest way, calories should come from a range of sources, including lean meats, fish, nuts, dairy foods, wholegrain breads, rice and cereals, vegetables and fruit. Convenience foods like takeaways, cakes, lollies, chips and alcohol, contain very few vitamins, minerals and fibre that are good for your body. These foods are higher in calories than core healthy foods, so can lead to weight gain.
If you are counting calories, a good guide for snacks is between 100 – 150 calories. Snacks that have protein and healthy fats will help keep you fuller for longer between meals. Some examples are a takeaway latte (120 calories), a small sliced apple with 2 teaspoons of peanut butter (110 calories), carrot sticks and 2 tablespoons of hummus (130 calories), 3 vita-weat crackers with a slice of cheese (140 calories).
Prepared by Kara Vogt – Accredited Practicing Dietitian