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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


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Around the Block Nutrition Facts at a Glance: Calories Per Serving

Around the Block Parent Sitelet

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Calories Per Serving

The Nutrition Facts Label on food packages shows how many calories are in one serving. A calorie is a measure for a unit of energy that food provides to the body. Calories come from both foods and beverages. No one food or beverage will have everything that you need, and that's why variety is so important.

Managing Calories Is a Key Part of a Healthful Diet

The key to maintaining a healthy weight is understanding how the calories we eat compare with the calories we use up during the course of our day. To maintain weight, the amount of calories taken in from eating and drinking should equal the amount of calories used from normal physical activity and exercise habits and the way food is metabolized. To lose weight, calories taken in need to be less than calories used. Conversely, to gain weight, the amount of calories taken in must be more than the amount being used.
Knowing how many calories your child should have in a day is an important step in establishing healthy eating habits. To find out your child's individual caloric needs, check out http:///www.choosemyplate.gov. Once you and your child know the amount of calories needed daily, use the calories per serving information to keep track of how many calories are being consumed from each food. This simple yet powerful information can help kids avoid consuming too many calories for their needs, thereby combating a major factor in childhood obesity.

Check Out the Numbers When You Consider Calories

A general rule of thumb concerning calories is:
  • 40 calories per serving is a low amount
  • 100 calories per serving is a moderate amount
  • 400 calories per serving is a high amount
Help your child remember 40-100-400 when he/she is checking out the calories per serving. For more information on calories and energy balance, visit "What Is Energy Balance" on the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute We Can! Web site.