Daily Calorie Intake for 50+ CrowdPosted by Medicare Made Clear
Food is fuel for the body. And one way to measure that fuel is by the number of calories the food has. Usually, the more fuel a food contains, the more calories it has. Determining how many calories you can eat in a day depends on many factors, like your age, if you’re a man or woman, your height and weight, and how physically active you are. Usually, the more physically active you are, the more calories you can eat.
How Many Calories Each Day Are Enough?
According to NIH Senior Health1, a woman over age 50 should consume about:
- 1,600 calories a day if her physical activity level is low (only performs activities associated with typical day-to-day life)
- 1,800 calories daily if she is moderately active (walks the equivalent of 1.5 to 3 miles a day at 3 to 4 miles per hour)
- 2,000 to 2,200 calories daily if she has an active lifestyle (walks the equivalent of more than 3 miles a day at 3 to 4 miles per hour).
A man over age 50 should consume about:
- 2,000 to 2,200 calories a day if his physical activity level is low (only performs activities associated with typical day-to-day life)
- 2,200 to 2,400 calories daily if he is moderately active (walks the equivalent of 1.5 to 3 miles a day at 3 to 4 miles per hour)
- 2,400 to 2,800 calories daily if he has an active lifestyle (walks the equivalent of more than 3 miles a day at 3 to 4 miles per hour
Avoid Empty Calories When Possible
Empty calories are found in foods and beverages that are high in calories but low in nutrients. Try to limit foods that contain too much:
- Saturated fats and trans fats
- Added sugar
- Refined grains
Eating a mix of healthy foods every day provides the nutrients, fiber, and calories your body needs. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services2 recommends eating the following amounts of food if you are eating 2,000 calories per day. Remember to adjust the amounts depending on your daily calorie level. A person who eats 2,000 calories daily should have:
- 2 ½ cups of vegetables
- 2 cups of fruit
- 6 ounces of grain foods
- 3 cups of low-fat or fat-free dairy
- 5½ ounces of protein
- No more than the equivalent of 6 teaspoons of oil
Plan your meals and snacks to include the right number of calories for your activity level. Balancing the calories you consume with the calories burned by being physically active helps to maintain a healthy weight. Talk to your doctor to find out how many calories you should eat and how much physical activity is safe for you.
For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.
What’s on Your Plate: Smart Food Choices for Healthy Aging — National Institute on Aging
Let’s Eat for the Health of It: USDA.gov
Medicare.gov: The official U.S. government website for Medicare
1 Eating Well As You Get Older, NIH Senior Health, May 2012
2 The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2010