Now that food labelling is so comprehensive, it's never been easier to keep track of how many calories we're eating, and by staying within recommended daily intake levels, it can be less of a challenge to maintain a healthy weight
How many calories do we need?
Health experts recommend that women should have an intake of around 2,000 calories per day, and that men should have about 2,500. These are only guidelines, though, and some people will need more or less than this.
Someone doing physical labour all day, for example, will probably need to take more calories on board, whereas sedentary workers can probably get away with less.
The calorie requirement is different for children, pregnant women and the elderly, too: ask your GP or health visitor for advice. If you're trying to lose weight, dropping 500 calories a day should give you a good start.
How to spread the calories
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and health experts agree that eating well first thing helps reduce the temptation to snack throughout the morning.
You can find out how many calories are in your favourite breakfast cereal by checking on the packaging - but do weigh out an average serving (usually stated as somewhere between 30-40g) so you can calculate the calories more accurately depending on how much you usually fill your bowl!
Ideally, eat starchy carbohydrates, such as a wholemeal sandwich or jacket potato, for lunch and try to stick to protein and veg for the evening. If you're cooking from scratch, a good set of kitchen scales and a calorie-counting guide are good investments so you can get a better grasp of portion control.
Don't forget the drinks
Tea and coffee aren't high in calories on their own, but if you add sugar or a lot of milk the count starts to build up, so it's worth switching to skimmed or semi-skimmed milk and sweeteners if you find your drinks account for more than a couple of hundred calories per day; or try some of the many temptingly-flavoured herbal teas on offer now.