When they reach puberty, girls need more calories than before but they tend to need fewer calories than boys. Some people mistakenly believe they have to burn off all the calories they eat or they will gain weight.
But it is a great idea to play and be active for at least 1 hour and up to several hours a day. Watching TV and playing video games won’t burn many calories at all, which is why you should try to limit those activities to 1 to 2 hours per day. Some foods, such as lettuce, contain few calories (1 cup of shredded lettuce has less than 10 calories). The label also will describe the components of the food — how many grams of carbohydrate, protein, and fat it contains.
You would multiply the number of grams by the number of calories in a gram of that food component. A person burns only about 1 calorie per minute while watching TV, about the same as sleeping! Other foods, like peanuts, contain a lot of calories (½ cup of peanuts has 427 calories). For example, if a serving of potato chips (about 20 chips) has 10 grams of fat, 90 calories are from fat.
But whether they are girls or boys, kids who are active and move around a lot will need more calories than kids who don’t. Kids with cystic fibrosis, for instance, have to eat high-calorie foods because their bodies have trouble absorbing the nutrients and energy from food. Often, kids who are overweight can start by avoiding high-calorie foods, such as sugary drinks, sweets, and fast food, and by eating a healthy, balanced diet.
Your body needs some calories just to operate — to keep your heart beating and your lungs breathing.
When you hear something contains 100 calories, it’s a way of describing how much energy your body could get from eating or drinking it. And you burn off some calories without even thinking about it — by walking your dog or making your bed.
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