How many calories should you eat per day?

In order to lose weight, you need to burn more energy than what you consume. How do you know when you have had too much, or too little?

Mopani Pharmacy consulted with Livewell registered dietician, Natalie Grobler, to determine the healthiest way forward.

“Factors such as lifestyle, genetics, gender, activity level and weight will ultimately play a significant role in your calorie requirements”, she explained.

How many calories (kcals) should a man eat per day, on average?

“It differs depending on age, activity level and body muscle mass. Adult males generally require more or less 2 000 kcal per day to maintain a healthy body weight.”

How many kcals should a woman eat per day, on average?

“An adult woman will generally require between 1 500 to 1 800 kcals per day to maintain a healthy body weight.”

How many kcals should you cut from your diet, to safely lose weight?

“As a general rule, consuming around 500 kcals less than your total daily energy requirements will result in the loss of half to a full kilogram per week.”

“It is important to note that cutting your kcal-intake more, will speed up your weight loss. However, it is not advised you decrease your intake with more than 500 calories per day. Ensure you don’t starve yourself and stay healthy. Your daily intake needs to be enough to sustain muscle mass and reduce fatigue.”

What portion of kcals should you have for breakfast / lunch / dinner / snacks, respectively?

“This will depend on your individual goals and needs. However, on average you will split your daily requirements in three meals and two snacks”

Note: Remember that tea, coffee and cold beverages are extra kcals that can make up some portion of your daily intake.

“For breakfast, you can portion your meals between 300 and 400 kcals. For lunch, you can portion your meals between 300 and 400 kcals. For dinner, your portions can be around 500 kcals. Snacks should be between 80 and 120 kcals.”

What mistakes do people make when reaching for a snack?

  • Snack time is not “treat time”. Keep to your suggested kcals by snacking on vegetables, fat-free cottage cheese and low-fat hummus
  • Do not starve yourself by skipping your snacks. You will then overeat at your next meal
  • Energy- or cereal bars may look healthy but are very high in calories
  • Sugary drinks and fresh fruit juices are very high in sugar and calories

What should your portions of food look like on your dinner plate in terms of veggies, carbs, protein?

 “For weight loss or maintaining your weight, the ideal dinner plate will have lean, good-quality protein and fresh vegetables and / or salads. You can add some good quality fats like nuts, seeds and olives. Try to limit or avoid starch portions for dinner.”

What would you rather have for breakfast and why: a fibre breakfast, or protein?

“I always try to include a good-quality protein source for breakfast to ensure satiety, with a wholegrain starch. Rye bread with scrambled eggs and fresh tomatoes, or raw oats with peanut butter and biltong powder are good examples.”

Is a no-sugar, no-carbs diet feasible?

“No sugar is feasible, and a healthy choice. You can get enough sugar from natural sources including fresh fruits, milk and yoghurt. It is not advisable to cut out all carbs from the diet. Your diet needs to be nutritionally balanced this includes wholegrain carbohydrates. These include brown rice, oatmeal, popcorn or whole-wheat products. It is important for gut-health, cholesterol levels and your energy levels. For weight loss, to try limit or avoid carbs with the evening meal.”

For more information or an appointment, contact a registered dietician from Livewell at Mopani Pharmacy i’langa Mall (0137422225).

Read more: How to optimise your plant-based OR animal protein diet

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DieticianElbi dippenaarHealthy livingLifestyleLivewellNatalie grobler