What is your daily caloric intake?

Expert Answers
kateanswers eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A person's recommended daily caloric intake is based on their body mass (calculated by height and weight) and their activity level. It is also a good idea to factor in a person's health status and developmental stage in life. For example, adolescents may require higher caloric intake than adults or the elderly of a similar body mass, because their bodies are still growing. Activity level is a really important part of determining a healthy daily caloric intake, and you might find that you are able to adjust your intake naturally! Have you ever had a busy day of physical activity and felt really hungry later on? That's because you burned a lot of energy and your body wants replenishing!

The Mayo Clinic offers this free calculator to determine an appropriate daily caloric intake based on age and body mass. This calculator, offered by the Bodybuilding website, also factors in your activity level and any weight adjustment goals a person might have. 

Personally, my daily caloric intake varies between 1,500 and 3,000 calories! That may sound like a lot, but such variation is quite common! On days when I exercise or work in my garden, I feel more hungry than on the days I sit at my computer for work. Also, some days I am really in the mood for fresh fruits and vegetables, which can be very filling due to their high fiber content, but offer a lower calorie value because of their fat and carbohydrate content. 

To find out your personal daily caloric intake, try keeping track of your eating habits for a few days or even a week. Write down what foods you ate and in what amounts. You may also want to keep track of how much water you drink and what kind of physical activity you engage in, if any. After several days of keeping track of your eating behavior-- ideally without any conscious effort to manipulate your food intake-- take an average of your daily caloric intake. Most people don't eat the same foods for every meal each day, so tracking your eating habits over several days and calculating an average allows you to find a value which is more likely to be representative of your typical intake.