How many calories do you need?

“Today I have only had 3 cheeseburgers with fries, I think I’m doing well”

You may need to make some changes in your food and beverage choices to achieve a healthy eating pattern. It’s easier than you think!

A healthy eating pattern is not a rigid prescription. Rather, it is a framework that lets you enjoy food that meets your personal preferences and fits your budget. To encourage healthy eating patterns, the Dietary Guidelines suggests that you:

Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan. All food and beverage choices matter. Choose a healthy eating pattern at an appropriate calorie level to help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, meet nutrient needs, and lessen the risk for chronic disease.

Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount. To meet nutrient needs within calorie limits, choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods across and within all food groups in recommended amounts.

Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats, and reduce sodium intake. Cut back on foods and beverages that are high in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. Aim for amounts that fit within healthy eating patterns.

Shift to healthier food and beverage choices. Choose nutrient-dense foods and beverages across and within all food groups in place of less healthy choices. Choose foods you like to make these shifts easier to maintain.

Support healthy eating patterns for all. Everyone has a role in helping to create and support healthy eating patterns, at home, school, and work and in communities.

Here’s a tip:

Writing down what and how much you eat each day will help you keep track of your total daily calories and also help you see if you are making healthy choices. Try to choose mostly nutrient-dense foods. These foods give you lots of nutrients without a lot of extra calories.

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