How Many Calories Can I Have?

Physical activity increases calorie needs, so those who are more physically active need more total calories and have a larger limit for empty calories. People who are not physically active need less calories. The following chart gives a general guide.


Estimated Calories for Those Who Are Not Physically Active
Age and gender Total daily calorie needs* Daily limit for empty calories**
Children 2-3 yrs 1000 cals 135
Children 4-8 yrs 1200-1400 cals 120
Girls 9-13 yrs 1600 cals 120
Boys 9-13 yrs 1800 cals 160
Girls 14-18 yrs 1800 cals 160
Boys 14-18 yrs 2200 cals 265
Females 19-30 yrs 2000 cals 260
Males 19-30 yrs 2400 cals 330
Females 31-50 yrs 1800 cals 160
Males 31-50 yrs 2200 cals 265
Females 51+ yrs 1600 cals 120
Males 51+ yrs 2000 cals 260

* These amounts are appropriate for individuals who get less than 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days. Those who are more active need more total calories, and have a higher limit for empty calories.

** The limit for empty calories is higher for children 2 and 3 years old than it is for some older children, because younger children have lower nutrient needs and smaller recommended intakes from the basic food groups.


(Source: USDA