How Many Calories Do I Need?
If you’re using your emergency food stores to get through a weekend power-outage, you don’t need to pay too much attention to nutrition. However, if you’re planning for long-term food shortage, it makes sense to understand what nutrition you need verses what your kids need, and what you need on an active day versus what you need on a more relaxed day. This kind of planning will ensure you get the right number of calories from your survival meals.
Also, planning for balanced nutrition will keep your body strong and your head clear so you can face whatever new challenge the day has in store.
To start, find out the number of calories you’d need to maintain your current weight even if you stayed in bed all day. Here’s the formula, called the BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate formula:
For Women: BMR = 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) – ( 4.7 x age in years )
For Men: BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) – ( 6.8 x age in year )
(You can also skip the math and just Google an online calculator.)
Now, to find out how many calories you need figuring in activity, multiply your BMR number by the Harris Benedict equation for activity:
- No exercise – BMR x 1.2
- Light exercise (not breaking a sweat) 1-3 days a week – BMR x 1.375
- Medium exercise (can talk but couldn’t sing) 3 -5 days a week = BMR x 1.55
- Very active (can’t talk) – moderate exercise 7 days a week – BMR x 1.725
- Extra active – very hard exercise 7 days a week BMR x 1.9
A 35-year old, 6”, 190-pound male who spends 4 – 6 hours a day gardening, chopping wood, etc. requires about 2,600 calories a day to maintain his weight. An 11-year-old child playing and doing normal chores needs about 1700 calories a day.
Balance is essential
It’s not enough to just plan for adequate calories; 2000 calories from Twinkies is going to make you feel very different than 2000 balanced calories. What are balanced calories? The FDA recommends:
- 50% from vegetables
- 25% protein & fat
- 25% carbohydrate
It makes sense to distribute your emergency food stores with some regard for how much energy each person requires on a given day. Some of our gourmet freeze dried foods provide more energy (Teriyaki and Rice) and some less (Pasta and Vegetable Rotini). Keep in mind any dehydrated meal is not designed to be everything that you need. We recommend supplementing it with other ancillary products or fresh food. In fact, one of the reasons we offer so many a la carte items like freeze dried fruits, vegetables, meats (chicken and beef), deserts and sauces is so that you can boost your calorie in-take when you need it most.
On a normal day your family may be used to eating the same thing together. If you’re using survival food on a long-term basis the individual packets allow you to distribute e food in a way that works with your Plan B lifestyle.