Healthy Eating: How to Meet Your Daily Calorie Needs

Eating healthy is essential for maintaining a balanced lifestyle. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, women can meet their daily needs with 1,000 to 1,200 calories, while men can do the same with 1,200 to 1,600 calories. However, these goals may vary depending on your age, gender, and health. For instance, moderately active adults aged 66 and older should aim for 2,200 calories a day for men and 1,800 calories a day for women. It's also important to be mindful of your salt intake.

Most salt comes from processed foods such as prepared meals, processed meats like bacon, ham and salami, cheese and savory snacks. Salt is also added to foods during cooking or at the point of consumption. To keep portion sizes in check, you can order smaller snacks instead of a main course as a meal or share a main course with a friend. Alternatively, you can eat just half of a main course and take the rest home to enjoy as a meal the next day. Older adults should focus on eating foods that are full of nutrients while limiting foods that are high in calories but provide few nutrients.

When shopping for food, you can use portion sizes to compare similar items but they are not recommendations for how much of a certain food you should eat. You can also look for foods that provide the same calories but are rich in nutrients. Some food manufacturers are reformulating recipes to reduce the sodium content of their products so it's important to check nutrition labels before buying or consuming any food.