Calorie is a unit of energy. Here, it refers to the energy we absorb from the food and drinks that we intake. They are essential for human health. They can put you on the range of either overweight or underweight. The key is taking in just the right amount. As humans, we need the energy to survive and go on about our work. Our body needs calories to survive. Each one has a different metabolic rate – the rate at which our body burns energy. We should always be aware of the calories consumed to maintain consistent fitness levels and stay healthy. The suggested intake depends on various factors- lifestyle, age, height, weight, sex, body shape, etc.
Also, there are a lot of calculators and tools readily available online. But if you want to do it yourself, here’s how to calculate the right calorie intake.
How to calculate calorie intake:
1. Calculate your BMR
BMR is the number of calories your body burns when it is at rest, i.e., when not moving. It mainly depends on your age, height and weight. This is a simple formula to calculate an approximate number.
|BMR= 65 + (6.2 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)||BMR= 655 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4.3 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)|
2. Calculate your daily activity level
There are 4 activity levels:
- Sedentary – Little or no physical activity- 1.2
- Light Level – Physical activity for 1-2 days a week- 1.375
- Moderate Level – Physical activity for 3-5 days a week- 1.55
- Very Active Level – Physical activity every day- 1.725
3. Calculate the number of calories to maintain current weight
Once we know how many calories we need to intake to maintain our current weight, we can decide what to do to either gain or lose weight accordingly.
Number of calorie intake = BMR * Daily Activity Level factor.
NOTE: To lose 1 pound per week, subtract 500 calories from the number of calorie intake. To stay fit and strong, regulate your calorie intake and your daily exercise.
How to calculate calories in food
Each food item has its own number of calories. To calculate, we should know the exact amount of protein, fat and carbs in the food or drink that is being consumed. There are two ways of calculating the number of calories in food:
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1. Add each of the calorie values from each nutrient
Each macro-nutrient should be multiplied by its caloric equivalent. 1g of protein contains about 4 calories. 1g of carbohydrates has 4 calories, and 1g of fat has 9 calories.
2. Use a calorie calculator
We can use a guide or look up online to find the number of calories for a particular food of a precise quantity. Here’s a list of a few essential Indian foods and their relevant number of calories.
|Whole Milk||225 ml (1 cup)||150|
|Paneer (Whole Milk)||60 gms||150|
|Apple||1 small||50 – 60|
|Banana||1/2 medium||50 – 60|
|Grapes||15 small||50 – 60|
|Mango||1/2 small||50 – 60|
|Orange||1 medium||50 – 60|
|Rice Cooked||25 gms||80|
|Dal||1 large katori||80|
|Mixed Vegetables||150 gms||80|
|Biscuit (Sweet)||15 gms||70|
|Cake (Plain)||50 gms||135|
|Dosa (Plain)||1 medium||135|
|Dosa (Masala)||1 medium||250|
|Vada (Medu)||1 small||70|
|Biryani (Mutton)||1 cup||225|
|Biryani (Veg.)||1 cup||200|
|Curry (Chicken)||100 gms||225|
|Curry (Veg.)||100 gms||130|
|Pulav (Veg.)||100 gms||130|
|Carrot Halwa||45 gms||165|
|Beer||125 fl. oz||150|
|Wine||3.5 fl. oz||85|
To watch your weight, one should not just lessen the amount of food they eat. What they eat should be healthy with all the right nutrients- carbs, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals.
When one can stress about indulging a bit of two in your favorite high-calorie food, you can compensate it easily by eating healthy and exercising right. Here is one recipe with a lot of healthy in it- so famous that this dish has a movie named after it!
(For 8 Servings- approx. time taken- 90 minutes)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 packets Sweet ‘N Low zero-calorie sweetener
- ½ tsp dried thyme, crumbled
- 2 tsp dried oregano, crumbled
- 3 medium zucchinis, cut into 1-inch pieces (6 cups)
- 1 large green bell pepper, cut into chunks (1½ cups)
- 1 medium eggplant, cut into chunks (5 cups)
- 1 packet Butter Mix, liquefied
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1 large onion, diced (2 cups)
- 2 tomatoes, peeled and cut
- Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a large saucepan under medium heat.
- When hot, add onion and garlic; cook while stirring for 3 to 4 minutes. Add butter, eggplant and green pepper; continue cooking while frequently stirring, for about 5 minutes.
- Stir more after adding the zucchini, oregano, thyme, Sweet ’N Low and pepper.
- After the contents come to a boil, reduce the heat and cook while partially covered for approx. 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
- Add the tomatoes and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Serve hot or refrigerate and serve cold. This recipe makes 8 cups.
Tip: Serve with overcooked pasta as a main dish; or sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese as a topping. Add drained and rinsed chickpeas or white beans, stir and serve; or serve with over cooked rice or a baked potato.
Given below is a calorie count and amount of nutrients in Ratatouille.
|Fat 2g||Sodium 70mg|
|Carbohydrates 10g||Dietary Fiber 3g|
|Sugars 4g||Protein 1g|
Now that we’ve seen how to calculate calories intake and how to keep track, let’s also see how to calculate calories burned.
How to calculate calories burnt
Again, this is based on BMR, and it varies from person to person. If you want to lose weight, the key is to eat healthily and get enough physical exercise. The following calories are burned based on an average 155-pound (70 kgs) person doing these activities for 30 minutes:
|Aerobics: 211||Yoga: 141|
|Stationary bike (Light Effort): 176||Laundry: 70|
|Stationary bike (Moderate Effort): 247||Mowing the lawn (No Riding Mowers): 141|
|Dusting: 70||Playing with kids at the playground: 141|
|Gardening: 176||Cooking: 70|
|Grocery shopping: 106||Raking: 141|
|Hiking: 211||Shovelling snow: 211|
|House Cleaning: 106||Tennis (Singles): 282|
|Jogging: 247||Vacuuming: 70|
|Running 12-Minute Miles: 282||Brisk Walking: 141|
|Running 10-Minute Miles: 352||Walking while pushing a stroller: 70|
|Running 7.5-Minute Miles: 428||Weightlifting: 106|
You needn’t go to the gym and work out every day. Keep in mind the above list is a simple one with your everyday chores. If you are among the people who do not engage in household chores, you can take up an activity like yoga or aerobics.
Importance of counting calories and helpful hints
Counting calories is basically monitoring how much food you should eat in keeping in mind their number of calories. It is often used for weight loss as well as for gaining muscle mass. This is a basic and necessary step to becoming a disciplined eater. It is more important for those who lose track of what and how much they eat when they need to stay fit and healthy.
Whether your goal is to lose or gain weight, it all depends on your diet. The quality of your food or drink is also an important factor, than the number of calories that comes with it.
Here is a list of the most weight friendly food you can have.
- Vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and kale.
- Chicken breast & Tuna
- Chili Pepper
- Cottage cheese
- Whole grains
3 Tips to control your calorie intake without going on a starve-a-thon:
- Eat more protein and reduced carbs
- Avoid carbonated drinks – drink more water instead
Reducing calories doesn’t mean starving yourself. A simple diet and lifestyle changes – exercise, proper hydration, increased protein and reduced carb intake can help you feel satisfied and healthier.
Calculating calories is one of the best ways to keep a check on your body. It helps you understand the rate at which metabolism takes place and the foods one needs to consume to stay healthy and fit. Having a goal towards losing or even maintaining the same weight can all be done when calorie count is kept in check. Furthermore, when a balanced diet is religiously followed along with staying hydrated and exercising regularly, results achieved, make you not only healthy but also happy.