When people talk about the calories in food, what do they mean? A calorie is a unit of measurement - but it doesn't measure weight or length. A calorie is a unit of energy. When you hear something contains 100 calories, it's a way of describing how much energy your body could get from eating or drinking it.
Are Calories Bad for You?
Calories aren't bad for you. Your body needs calories for energy. But eating too many calories - and not burning enough of them off through activity - can lead to weight gain.
Commonly, the word "calories" is used for determining the amount of energy that resides within food. But that definition is wrong. Kilocalorie is the definition that should be used when speaking about the energy content of a determined food. If you find that a packaged food label says calories, in reality, it means kilocalories.
How many calories should you have?
If you eat more calories than your body needs, the leftover calories are converted to fat. Too much fat can lead to health problems. Often, kids who are overweight can start by avoiding high-calorie foods, such as sugary sodas, candy, and fast food, and by eating a healthy, balanced diet. Exercising and playing are really important, too, because activity burns calories.
Adult calorie intake -- The general recommendation as far as the calorie intake is concerned is that men need about 2700 calories per day and women require about 2000 calories per day. But these recommendations are suggested for average body structure adults, who perform their usual day-to-day activities and do not follow a vigorous workout.
It is suggested by dieticians that your calorie intake should be such that 50 to 60% of the total calorie intake is contributed by carbohydrates, 20% by proteins and 15 to 20% should come from fat. It is advisable for expectant mothers to consume 300 extra calories per day, whereas lactating mothers require about 550 calories at the initial level and at gradual levels, their calorie intake should be about 400 calories per day. Well, as vital are calories for the body, equally important is to burn the extra calories through an active fitness workout.
Kids calorie requirements -- Kids come in all sizes and each person's body burns energy (calories) at different rates, so there isn't one perfect number of calories that a kid should eat. But there is a recommended range for most school-age kids: 1,600 to 2,500 per day.
When they reach puberty, girls need more calories, but they tend to need fewer calories than boys. As boys enter puberty, they will need as many as 2,500 to 3,000 calories per day. But whether they are girls or boys, kids who are active and move around a lot will need more calories than kids who don't.
Most kids don't have to worry about not getting enough calories because the body - and feelings of hunger - help regulate how many calories a person eats. But kids with certain medical problems may need to make sure they eat enough calories. Kids with cystic fibrosis, for instance, have to eat high-calorie foods because their bodies have trouble absorbing the nutrients and energy from food.
Kids who are overweight might have to make sure they don't eat too many calories. (Only your doctor can say if you are overweight, so check with him or her if you're concerned. And never go on a diet without talking to your doctor!)
How the Body Uses Calories
Some people mistakenly believe they have to burn off all the calories they eat or they will gain weight. This isn't true. Your body needs some calories just to operate - to keep your heart beating and your lungs breathing. As a kid, your body also needs calories from a variety of foods to grow and develop. And you burn off some calories without even thinking about it - by walking your dog or making your bed.
But it is a great idea to play and be active for at least 1 hour and up to several hours a day. That means time spent playing sports, just running around outside, or riding your bike. It all adds up. Being active every day keeps your body strong and can help you maintain a healthy weight.
Watching TV and playing video games doesn't burn many calories at all, which is why you should try to limit those activities to 1 to 2 hours per day. A person burns only about 1 calorie per minute while watching TV, about the same as sleeping!
Calculating your calorie intake
Most foods and drinks contain calories. Some foods, such as lettuce, contain few calories. (A cup of shredded lettuce has less than 10 calories.) Other foods, like peanuts, contain a lot of calories. (A half of a cup of peanuts has 427 calories.)
You can find out how many calories are in a food by looking at the nutrition facts label. The label also will describe the components of the food - how many grams of carbohydrate, protein, and fats it contains. Here's how many calories are in 1 gram of each:
- carbohydrate - 4 calories
- protein - 4 calories
- fat - 9 calories
That means if you know how many grams of each one are in a food, you can calculate the total calories. You would multiply the number of grams by the number of calories in a gram of that food component. For example, if a serving of potato chips (about 20 chips) has 10 grams of fat, 90 calories are from fat. That's 10 grams X 9 calories per gram.
Some people watch their calories if they are trying to lose weight. Most kids don't need to do this, but all kids can benefit from eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes the right number of calories - not too many, not too few. But how do you know how many calories you need?
How much amounts to 200 calories?
Celery --1425 grams = 200 Calories
Mini Peppers-- 740 grams = 200 Calories
Broccoli -588 grams = 200 Calories
Baby Carrots --570 grams = 200 Calories
Coca Cola --496 ml = 200 Calories
Red Onions --475 grams = 200 Calories
Apples --385 grams = 200 Calories
Canned Green Peas ---57 grams = 200 Calories
Whole Milk --333 ml = 200 Calories
Canned Sweet Corn -- 308 grams = 200 Calories
Grapes --290 grams = 200 Calories
Ketchup -- 226 grams = 200 Calories
Sliced Smoked Turkey --204 grams = 200 Calories
Lowfat Strawberry Yoghurt --196 grams = 200 Calories
Canned Black Beans --186 grams = 200 Calories
Eggs --150 grams = 200 Calories
Cooked Pasta - 145 grams = 200 Calories
Blueberry Muffin -- 72 grams = 200 Calories
Sesame Seed Bagel --70 grams = 200 Calories
Hot Dogs -- 66 grams = 200 Calories
Butter --28 grams = 200 Calories
Salted Mixed Nuts --33 grams = 200 Calories
Fried Bacon -- 34 grams = 200 Calories
Potato Chips --37 grams = 200 Calories
Cheetos -- 38 grams = 200 Calories
Doritos -- 41 grams = 200 Calories
Splenda Artifical Sweetener -- 50 grams = 200 Calories
Glazed Doughnut -- 52 grams = 200 Calories
Snickers Chocolate Bar --41 grams = 200 Calories
Did you know?
- A Starbucks' Classic Coffee Cake packs 630 calories and 10 grams of saturated fat.
- Most coffee drinks have around 300 calories, depending on the size of the drink, the type of milk and syrup.
- Whipped cream in the coffee adds 80-100 calories.
- What do you usually order with your coffee drink? An orange bran muffin? A lowfat banana maple scone? A slice of carrot cake? If so, you're adding more than 400 calories with each snack - 600 in the case of the carrot cake.
- 2-ounce shortbread cookie at Au Bon Pain contains 390 calories.
- Starbucks cookies range from 390-425 calories and from 4 grams of saturated fat (ginger molasses) to 7 (oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip),
- Gourmet pretzels are no calorie bargain, either. At Auntie Anne's, most are about 350 calories without butter and 450 with butter.
- A Glazin' Raisin pretzel with butter contains 510 calories, although you do get 4 grams of fiber
- McDonald's Big Mac, plus 590 cal
- Scones weigh in at 425-540 calories and 8 grams of saturated fat.
- Steakhouses cheese-fries appetizer plate with ranch dressing can contain an astonishing 3,010 calories
- Living on Chicken Soup Diet
- Learning about calories
- What Does 200 Calories Look Like?