Estimated Calorie Needs Calculators

Calorie needs for everyone, including athletes, are based on age, sex, body weight and activity. There are a number of formulas to estimate caloric needs and it is probably best to use two or three of the following methods to estimate calorie needs and then take the average.

REMEMBER: The calorie estimate provided is based on the information provided by the user, whether it is correct or not (i.e. weight, activity level). In addition, this is only an estimate of caloric needs; for individualized recommendations, locate a Registered Dietitian in your community.

1.Mifflin Equation



Feet Inches


Source: Mifflin equation for Resting Energy Expenditure (formula published by Mifflin and colleagues, Am J Clin Nutr 1990)

2.Calories per pound rule of thumb

Enter your weight in pounds

Select your sex

Select the activity level that matches your lifestyle
 Sedentary (little or no activity)
 Light Activity (up to 30 minutes per day)
 Moderate Activity (30-60 minutes per day)
 Very Active (more than 60 minutes per day)

  Source: Mosby's Nutritional Care Pocket Guide 2001

3.Institute of Medicine Dietary Reference Intakes

Physical Activity:
Sedentary - physical activity of daily living only
Low Active - physical activity equivalent to walking 1.5 to 3 miles per day (30-45 minutes activity) in addition to activity of daily living
Active - physical activity equivalent to walking more than 3 miles per day (more than 45-60 minutes activity) in addition to activity of daily living

Enter Current Weight
Enter Height
Enter Age
Physical Activity
Select Gender
Maintenance Calories

Remember estimated calorie needs from any of these formulas are based on current weight and are the number of calories required to maintain the current weight with the current activity level. Average the estimated calorie needs of formulas above to maintain current weight.

If you would like to lose weight:

  • Subtract 500 calories from the estimate for a 1 pound weight loss per week OR
  • Increase physical activity approximately 60 minutes per day for a 1 pound weight loss per week OR
  • Do both and lose 2 pounds per week
  • Another way to estimate calorie needs for weight loss is to use the desired weight rather than current weight in the formulas provided above.