Kids Health

Kids-health is a site packed with hints and tips to keep you and the family healthy.

What is a Calorie?



If you are baffled and confused when you hear the grown-ups talking about calories or when you look at the calorie figures on food packaging you have come to absolutely the right place. Here are 7 very crucial questions and answers to tell you all you need to know about calories.

1. What does calorie mean?

A calorie is the amount of energy needed to heat 1 gram of water by 1°C. The keyword is energy. Calories we get from eating food gives our bodies energy to survive and move about.


2. How many calories do I need?

A child needs about 800-1000 calories each day just to keep alive. That is, to keep the heart beating and the other vital organs working. You need a few more calories to give your body the fuel it needs to move about. Have a look at the chart below to see how many calories you need for your age. The hamburger and chips at the top of the page have a whopping 1590 calories. So for many of you, that is almost all your daily calories gobbled up in one meal. Are you shocked? I am!


3. What happens if I eat too many calories?

If you eat too many calories, your body stores them as fat. People who eat too much can get overweight.


4. What kinds of food are high in calories?

Foods high in harmful fats like chocolate and crisps are high in calories and should be avoided. Other foods are high in good fats and should be eaten in small quantities like oily fish or nuts and seeds. Although they contain a lot of fat, they are still very nutritious.


5. What kinds of foods are low in calories?

Foods which have a high water content are low in calories like fruits and vegetables.


6. How can eating fewer calories lead to weight loss.

To lose weight you need to burn more energy (calories) than you eat. Eating less means your body uses fat stores for energy rather than food. Therefore you lose weight. HOWEVER, children should not lose weight. Only a doctor should advise you on your weight and food if you are under 16.


7. How can exercise burn calories?

When you exercise, your body uses energy and this comes for the calories in the food we eat. Calories are our friends, if you didn’t eat, your body would feel very weak and tired. Don’t forget, your body burns calories even when you are sitting still because your heart and other bits and bobs need energy to keep going. Food is crucial to keep your body working and moving.


So, calories are the fuel that keeps our bodies fit, healthy and alive. It’s important to get the amount of calories and exercise just right to keep our bodies in tip top condition. The other thing to bear in mind is, your body really likes  calories to come from healthy and nutritious foods and not junky foods like burgers and chips. Take a look at the eatwell plate to find out what you should be eating.


Oh dear, this kitty has eaten too much or just sits on the couch all day! What do you think?







Categories: Eat Well