Caloric Requirements for the Bedridden

A wife hugging her spouse as he eats from a tray in bed.
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When you're restricted to bed, your body needs less energy than it does when you're up and about. Calories are simply units of energy; therefore, you need fewer calories in bed than with an active lifestyle. Even on a reduced-calorie diet, however, you still need vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Make your calories count by choosing nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins such as beans and fish.


Resting Calorie Needs

Your resting energy expenditure is the number of calories you burn per day while sleeping or reclining, with no other activity. Men can estimate REE by multiplying their weight in pounds times 11, while women can estimate REE by multiplying their weight times 10. For example, lying in bed for 24 hours, a 170-pound man burns about 1,870 calories per day, while a 130-pound woman burns about 1,300 calories. No matter what your REE, however, men should get at least 1,500 calories per day, while women should get at least 1,200 calories per day, to ensure proper nutrition.

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