How Many Calories Do You Really Need?


Unless you’re counting calories to lose a few extra pounds, you probably haven’t given much thought to how much you must actually eat in order to survive. For most Americans, the availability of extra calories hasn’t been an issue in everyday life. In a crisis or survival situation, your emergency food supply may need to be rationed. Understanding just how many calories are required will allow you to make the most out of the resources available.

Calories for Adults

The amount of calories your body requires depends on a wide variety of factors. Most of the calorie recommendations assume you are maintaining your current weight. In my case I could stand to lose a few extra pounds,which would allow me to budget a reduced calorie diet. However, in a survival situation your body will typically require and burn more calories. You may find yourself forced to travel, go out to search for food, or gather and prepare a survival shelter with each requiring more calories.

The average man weighing around 200 pounds would require approximately 2,700 calories per day to avoid weight loss; a average woman of 140 pounds would require around 1,900 calories. Although this is a good starting point there are several other factors at play. If a person is required to perform just light activity throughout the day, these calorie requirements will increase up to 500 calories and heavier activity often found in a survival situation will bring calorie requirements to 800 additional calories or even more.

With such a wide spread of calorie requirements that vary based on size and activity it would be wise to download a fitness tracking app, such as My Fitness Pal. Get familiar with your specific personal information and appropriate calorie counts. You should then record numbers for each member of your household to be saved and reviewed in a survival situation.

Calories for Children and Teens

During the first year of life, babies require about 50 calories per pound each day. Most of these calories come from infant formula or human milk. In a survival situation, with proper planning powdered formula may be a good option, but a nursing mom is the best source of calories. Remember that a nursing mom will need to take in more calories.

You can also calculate the calorie requirements for older children and teens the same way as you would for adults. Remember it is important to update your records several times throughout the year so that they are accurate should a crisis occur.

It is also important to remember that children during a growth spurt will require greater calories than at other times. During a survival situation, it is important to gauge the child’s needs and hunger level. Also, monitor whether they appear lethargic to see if they require additional proteins and carbs.

How to Boost Calories

You should stock high-calorie survival foods such as protein bars, or MRE’s aka meals ready to eat. You can also stock avocado and other powders for food prep. Quinoa, canned cheeses, peanut butter, rice, and oatmeal are also great for high nutrition calories. Each of these items will provide an easy source of calories during a tough situation.

For more information on food survival, check out Survive Food Crisis.