Kilojoules (or kJ) are the measure of how much energy people get from consuming food and drink. Some countries also use calories to measure this. 

Having the right amount of energy each day and getting enough physical activity can help you stay healthy and reduce your risk of some lifestyle related diseases. 

Remember: everyone is different and there are multiple factors that influence your overall health.

How many kilojoules do I need?

Our daily kilojoule requirements vary based on things like:

  • how much physical activity you do, and what type
  • your height, weight, age and gender
  • the amount muscle and fat you have
  • whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • genetics and health.

The average daily intake for an adult is 8700kj – so keep this in mind when you’re checking labels on packaged foods and menus. Learn more about how to read food labels and menus. 

If you think you or member of your family may be above a healthy weight, consult a qualified health professional.

Kids and kilojoules

Every child is different, so there is no exact number of kilojoules that they should eat during a day. To help work out which food and drink will help your child stay healthy, check out our Food Calculator. And for ideas to get more physical activity in their day, here are some tips for getting active as a family.

‘Burning’ kilojoules

We are using energy all day – even while we sleep. Our bodies need kilojoules to function. But if we consume more kilojoules than our bodies use, the spare energy can lead to excess weight gain. 

When we are active, our bodies 'burn' or use up more energy. Regular physical activity helps you maintain a healthy weight and overall good health. It can also reduce your risk of chronic diseases and support your mental health. Check out these small steps to start getting more active.

How to check the kilojoules in my food and drinks

The kilojoules in your food depends on ingredients, how they are prepared and portion size. 

If you’re using kilojoules to help make decisions about what to eat and how much, here are some tips that may help.

  • Try our food calculator to learn how much from each food group you need.

  • Learn how to read labels on packaged foods to check ingredients, kilojoules, portion size and other nutritional information.

  • Look for the Health Star Rating on packaged food and choose options with at least 3.5 stars.

  • Check the kilojoules to compare meals on menu boards at takeaway venues.

  • Remember, drinks contain energy too (kilojoules) and some drinks are surprisingly high in kilojoules. But because liquid is not as filling as food, we often don’t realise how many kilojoules we are consuming from drinks.

Tip: Look closely at the ‘number of servings’ on packaged food as the product could have more than one serve. 

Check out our tips for getting started as a family to make healthier choices.

Getting help to make healthy changes

Kilojoule goals are just a guide to help you understand your nutritional and physical activity needs but should not be used in place of professional advice. Speak to your doctor or a registered dietician for specific information based on your personal health needs. 

You can also access free programs for the whole family to get healthier.

Find free programs