How Many Calories per Day You Need in an Emergency?

The average American says it’s easier to do their own taxes than it is to figure out what to eat and how many calories per day you need.

Whether you’re planning your emergency food strategy or you’re reviewing an existing plan, now is a good time to think it through. You want to ensure that everyone in your family has adequate nutrition in an emergency. Fortunately, it’s not that hard:

What kind of emergency?

First, ask yourself what kind of emergency you’re planning for. If you’re creating an emergency stash of food for a snow day where you’ll be playing games all day, you won’t need as many calories as you would if you’re spending the day clearing storm debris. Caloric needs have been updated recently and require an understanding of what it means to be sedentary, moderately active or active.

Sedentary means no extra physical activity beyond daily activities for living.

Moderate means walking up to 3 miles daily at a normal pace (3 to 4 mph).

Active walking more than 3 miles daily, or heavy manual labor.

Consider the likely disasters in your geographic area then imagine what your day would be like. Would you be engaged repairing your house, clearing debris or helping the community rebuild? Or, would you be passing time with paperbacks until services returned to normal?

How many calories?

Calorie ChartOnce you determined your “emergency” activity level, check the chart (2014 U.S. Dietary Guidelines) for recommended maximum calorie intake. If you’d like to take the opportunity to lose some weight, subtract up to 500 calories from the recommended caloric intake.

Balance your calories

There are a lot of fad diets out there that require you to avoid certain types of food, such as carbs and fat. However, carbohydrates are required for energy and fat helps you feel full and can help stabilize blood sugar.  Choose a freeze-dried entree such as Roasted Chicken or Savory Roasted Ground Beef. Then, choose an energy source such as granola or pasta entrees. Include a freeze-dried vegetable for fiber and micronutrients and you’ll have a well-rounded meal that will keep you going no matter what.