Calorie Calculator for Kids

1
Calorie Calculator for Kids

A nutrition label with information about calories and serving sizes.
Reading nutrition labels can help you figure out how many calories your kids are getting each day. Photo by Getty Images

Obesity in kids has reached epidemic levels. Experts estimate that 15% of kids are overweight and another 15% are obese. And two thirds of these overweight kids will become overweight adults.

Although a lack of physical activity and poor eating habits are a big part of this rise in obesity, another big problem is that many children are simply getting too many calories, which are then turned into extra fat.

Do you know how many calories that you and your kids need each day?

Although you usually shouldn't have to count calories each and every day, it can be helpful to track how many calories your child is getting from the things that he eats and drinks over a few days or weeks and then compare it to your child's daily caloric needs. This is especially important if your child is already overweight.

If you find that your child's intake of calories is much below or above standard recommendations, you should likely talk to your pediatrician and/or a Registered Dietitian to get some help planning a more healthy diet for your child.

Fortunately, it is easy to figure out and calculate how many calories your kids need each day.

2
How Many Calories Do Your Kids Need Each Day?

Kids will often eat healthy food if it is available and they aren't only offered junk food.
How many calories do your kids need each day?. Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images

How many calories do your kids need each day?

Are you worried because your child is a picky eater and you think he is not getting enough calories?

Or are you worried that your child eats a lot and is getting too many calories?

Understanding how many calories your child actually needs might help you worry a little less.

It might also help you avoid overfeed your child, as many parents overestimate how many calories their kids need and get.

To calculate how many calories a child needs each day, you just need to know their:

  • age (older kids need more calories than younger kids)
  • sex (boy or girl)
  • activity level (is the child physically active or a coach potato?)

The charts on the next few pages will help you calculate your child's daily calorie needs.

3
Daily Calorie Needs for Moderately Active Boys

A boy being active playing tennis.
A moderately active boy needs more calories each day than one who is inactive. Photo by Getty Images

The estimated daily calorie needs for moderately active boys include:

  • 2 years - 1,000 calories/day
  • 3 years - 1,400 calories/day
  • 4 years - 1,400 calories/day
  • 5 years - 1,400 calories/day
  • 6 years - 1,600 calories/day
  • 7 years - 1,600 calories/day
  • 8 years - 1,600 calories/day
  • 9 years - 1,800 calories/day
  • 10 years - 1,800 calories/day
  • 11 years - 2,000 calories/day
  • 12 years - 2,200 calories/day
  • 13 years - 2,200 calories/day
  • 14 years - 2,400 calories/day
  • 15 years - 2,600 calories/day
  • 16 years - 2,800 calories/day
  • 17 years - 2,800 calories/day
  • 18 years - 2,800 calories/day

What does it mean to be moderately active?

Some good definitions include:

  • Being moderately active 60 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, for 6 out of 8 weeks.
  • Having at least 13,000 daily activity steps on a pedometer.

What counts as moderate physical activity for toddlers and preschoolers? It includes structured and unstructured physical activity.

4
Daily Calorie Needs for Moderately Active Girls

A girl playing soccer.
Active girls need more calories than inactive girls. Photo by Erik Isakson/Getty Images

The estimated daily calorie needs for moderately active girls include:

  • 2 years - 1,000 calories/day
  • 3 years - 1,200 calories/day
  • 4 years - 1,400 calories/day
  • 5 years - 1,400 calories/day
  • 6 years - 1,400 calories/day
  • 7 years - 1,600 calories/day
  • 8 years - 1,600 calories/day
  • 9 years - 1,600 calories/day
  • 10 years - 1,800 calories/day
  • 11 years - 1,800 calories/day
  • 12 years - 2,000 calories/day
  • 13 years - 2,000 calories/day
  • 14 years - 2,000 calories/day
  • 15 years - 2,000 calories/day
  • 16 years - 2,000 calories/day
  • 17 years - 2,000 calories/day
  • 18 years - 2,000 calories/day

Some good examples of girls who are moderately active include those who are:

  • Moderately active 60 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, for 6 out of 8 weeks.
  • Have at least 11,000 daily activity steps on a pedometer.

What counts as moderate physical activity for toddlers and preschoolers? It includes structured and unstructured physical activity.

5
Daily Calorie Needs for Boys who are Not Active

An overweight child meauring his waist.
If inactive kids don't eat fewer calories, they will likely become overweight. Photo by Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

The estimated daily calorie needs for boys who are not active include:

  • 2 years - 1,000 calories/day
  • 3 years - 1,000 calories/day
  • 4 years - 1,200 calories/day
  • 5 years - 1,200 calories/day
  • 6 years - 1,400 calories/day
  • 7 years - 1,400 calories/day
  • 8 years - 1,400 calories/day
  • 9 years - 1,600 calories/day
  • 10 years - 1,600 calories/day
  • 11 years - 1,800 calories/day
  • 12 years - 1,800 calories/day
  • 13 years - 2,000 calories/day
  • 14 years - 2,000 calories/day
  • 15 years - 2,200 calories/day
  • 16 years - 2,400 calories/day
  • 17 years - 2,400 calories/day
  • 18 years - 2,400 calories/day

Boys who aren't active don't do any moderate or vigorous physical activity or any activity outside the activity of day to day living.

For example, walking from the car to the front door of school and from class to class in just part of the physical activity of your child's average day. However, if he rides a bike to school, that would probably count towards being active.

Whether your child is overweight or at a healthy weight, encourage him to be active, as it is a good health habit for everyone.

6
Daily Calorie Needs for Girls who are Not Active

A girl watching TV and eating junk food.
Kids who are inactive needs fewer calories each day than kids who are moderately active. Photo by Ivonne Wierink-vanWetten

The estimated daily calorie needs for girls who are not active include:

  • 2 years - 1,000 calories/day
  • 3 years - 1,000 calories/day
  • 4 years - 1,200 calories/day
  • 5 years - 1,200 calories/day
  • 6 years - 1,200 calories/day
  • 7 years - 1,200 calories/day
  • 8 years - 1,400 calories/day
  • 9 years - 1,400 calories/day
  • 10 years - 1,400 calories/day
  • 11 years - 1,600 calories/day
  • 12 years - 1,600 calories/day
  • 13 years - 1,600 calories/day
  • 14 years - 1,800 calories/day
  • 15 years - 1,800 calories/day
  • 16 years - 1,800 calories/day
  • 17 years - 1,800 calories/day
  • 18 years - 1,800 calories/day

Is your child active?

Whether your child is overweight or at a healthy weight, encourage her to be active, as it is a good health habit for everyone.

Continue Reading