Nutritional Needs Calculator  
Current weight:



Weight goal:

Physical activity level:

Note: This tool is not applicable to pregnant women, children under age 18, or people over 60.


Do you know how many calories you need each day? Using our Nutritional Needs Calculator, you can estimate the number of calories that you need each day, based on your age, sex, current weight, level of physical activity, and weight goals.

To maintain your current weight, you need to eat approximately the same number of calories that you burn. To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume. To gain weight, eat more!

If you have not established weight goals, use our Ideal Body Weight Calculator to estimate an appropriate weight target.

1. Enter your current weight in the box provided. If you entered your weight in kilograms, be sure to select KILOGRAMS from the drop-down list.

2. Select your gender.

3. Enter your age.

4. Select your weight goal from the drop-down list. If you are happy with your current weight, select MAINTAIN WEIGHT. To gain or lose weight, we assume and recommend a goal of one pound (0.45 kg) per week.

5. Select the level of physical activity in your average day.

6. When you have entered your information, click SUBMIT.

More About This Tool  

When your calorie intake consistently equals your calorie expenditure, you will maintain your current weight. When you consume more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. Likewise, if you eat fewer calories than you use, you will lose weight.

The trick to maintaining, gaining or losing weight is to find out how many calories, on average, you burn per day, and to adjust your intake accordingly. For example, if your goal is to lose 10 lbs., and you burn 2,200 calories per day, then trimming 500 calories from the amount you burn (i.e., keeping your daily intake at 1,700 calories) will enable you to lose approximately 1 lb. of fat per week (1 lb. of fat equals about 3,500 calories). After 10 weeks you would reach your goal!

Don't worry about crunching the numbers yourself. Let this interactive calculator do the planning for you. Just fill out the information requested to get an estimate of the:

  • Number of calories you burn in a day
  • Number of calories you should consume per day to meet your weight goal
  • Recommended daily amount of key nutrients (vitamin C, folate, calcium, etc.) and food types (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) you should strive to get through your diet.

Use the following guidelines to determine your physical activity level.

  • High activity: Participation in vigorous physical activity for 60 minutes or more at least 4 to 5 days per week or having a job that is very physically demanding (such as a roofer or aerobics instructor).
  • Intermediate activity: Participation in moderate physical activity like swimming, jogging, or fast walking, 2 or 3 times a week, 30 to 60 minutes each time.
  • Low activity: No planned, regular physical activity; occasional weekend or weekly activity is the only type of physical activity (like golf or recreational tennis).

Review Date: 6/20/2008
Reviewed By: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. Previously reviewed by Alan Greene, MD, FAAP, Department of Pediatrics, Packard Children's Hospital, Stanford University School of Medicine; Chief of Future Health, A.D.A.M., Inc. (6/9/2006)
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.