Most active women will lose weight eating 1,500 or fewer calories per day. For an average man, the daily calorie count needs to be below 2,000. Too many refined foods—often high in “empty” calories—can use up your calorie count without giving your body the nutrients it needs for optimal health. To make the most of your meals, keep these “best practices” in mind:
- Estimate your appropriate weight range with a Body Mass Index chart and calculate your ideal number of daily calories based on height and age at www.healthierus.gov/dietaryguidelines.
- Eat a variety of nutritious foods and snacks from every food group, emphasizing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, nuts, and eggs.
- Read labels and compare nutrients. Remember that if a single serving of a single food item has over 400 calories per serving, it’s high in calories.
- Take a multivitamin and be sure you get other essentials, such as magnesium, which is easily depleted.
- Choose foods that are low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars or corn syrup.