Your individual intake will vary depending on your age, gender, height, weight, weight history and physical activity level. We often refer to an 8700kJ day (about 2100cal), as this is the value prescribed by the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. You’ll find this used on food labelling.
While these numbers are one way of tracking healthy eating, the most important thing is to focus on the quality of the foods we eat. Eating a wide range of nutrient-dense whole foods will make it easy to meet our needs for specific nutrients as well as balancing the energy intake.
The amount of energy you need each day depends on your age, sex, height, weight, weight history and physical activity level.
The information in the table (above) is based on an average 31 to 50-year-old female weighing 60kg and 1.6m tall, and an average 31 to 50-year-old male weighing 70kg and 1.8m tall, with sedentary* to moderate** levels of physical activity.
- If you are older than 50, you will need to reduce your kilojoule intake by around 500kJ per day (for females) or 1300kJ (for males)— this will vary depending on how active you are.
- If you are younger than 31, males need about 800kJ more, while females need about the same kilojoule content as for the 31 to 50-year-old age group.
* Sedentary is equivalent to seated work with little or no strenuous activity.
** Moderate activity involves standing or walking work, or sedentary work with regular exercise of at least 30 minutes.