The amount of energy (kJ) you need to consume each day differs depending on whether you are wanting to maintain weight, lose weight or gain weight. This is a basic guide on how many kilojoules (calories) you need each day, along with information regarding what nutrients are needed for a healthy diet.
Approximate recommended dietary intakes (RDI) for an average adult
The information below shows what to look for on the nutrition information panel, based on the daily energy intake for the averagte adult diet of 8700kJ. Your individualdietary requirements may be higher or lower depending on your age, gender, height, weight and physical activity levels.
Understanding % RDI
Recommended dietary intakes are the levels of intake of essential nutrients that adequately meet the nutritional needs of practically all healthy people. Values are dependent on age and gender.
Always note the recommended serving size. If the recipe is analysed for 6 serves, but you divide the recipe between 4, you’re getting half as much again. When reading nutrition information on food packaging, check how many serves they claim. Sometimes it’s realistic and sometimes it’s not.
Varies depending on your height, weight, gender and activity levels. See ‘How much do I need to eat’ below for guidelines.
Should be 30% of total energy intake, that is 70g/day.
Should be less than 10% of your total energy intake, that is less than 24g/day.
45-65% of total energy intake (230-310g/day).
Should be 920-2300mg/day. An upper limit of 1600mg is recommended for those with or at risk of heart disease.
Women 50+ and men 70+: 1300mg/day
All other adults: 1000mg/day
Women 19-50: 18mg/day
Women 50+ and men 19+: 8mg/day
Use this to compare the nutritional content of different brands.
How much do I need to eat?
The amount of energy you need each day to maintain your weight depends on your age, gender, height, weight and physical activity level. Your weight history can also influence your daily requirements. The information in this table is for the average adult, so will need to be adjusted.
If you are older, you will need to reduce your kilojoule intake by around 500kJ (female) or 1300kJ (male) – this will vary depending on how active you are.
If you are younger, males should be consuming about 800kJ more, while females should maintain approximately the same kilojoule content as mentioned for the 31- to 50-year-old females.
*Sedentary – seated work with little or no strenuous leisure activity.
**Moderate – standing or walking work, or sedentary work with regular exercise of at least 30 minutes.
Average energy intakes vary between individuals, therefore please use this information as a guide only. If you are unsure of how to interpret this information, consult a dietitian or your GP for your own personalised advice and guidance.