How Many Daily Calories Do You Need for Survival?

Unless we are on a very specific diet, we generally eat when we’re hungry and stop eating when we’re full. We don’t give much thought to the number of calories we eat per day.

We know – often from personal experience – that what we consume has a lot to do with how healthy we are. And how good we feel. We understand how vital proper nutrition is to our energy levels and daily function. 

What we may not consider, however, is the importance of calories when stockpiling survival food. So, how many calories do you need during a crisis?

One size doesn’t fit all

And that’s what I want to talk about today. At the risk of giving away too much too soon, I’ll say that the average person needs about 1,200 calories a day for survival.

Keep in mind that eating fewer than 1,000 calories per day for a prolonged period of time can put you at risk of nutritional deficiencies. 

But we’re talking about what you need to get by when you’re in survival mode. I’ll also add that the number of calories you need is dependent on a variety of factors. Such as your age, gender, height, weight and activity level.

Figuring out how many daily calories you need for survival is not an exact science. But you can pin it down pretty closely by looking at those variables.

Sedentary lifestyle

Under normal circumstances, higher amounts of calories are recommended than 1,200 per day. That’s according to USDA Dietary Guidelines.

For example, the average sedentary female of medium height and weight between 26 and 50 years of age should have 1,500 calories per day.

The average sedentary male of medium height and weight between 26 and 40 should have 2,000 daily calories. That number drops off slightly as he passes age 40.

Of course, you may want or need more calories per day, especially if you’re pregnant, a child, elderly, or have other health conditions.

Sedentary means a lifestyle including only light physical activity associated with typical day-to-day life.

Note, when a person lives a more active lifestyle, they should consume more calories each day to sustain their energy levels. 

Too few calories = too many issues

There are a number of health problems associated with insufficient nutrition. To perform at peak levels, your body and brain need vitamins and minerals. Plus carbohydrates, fiber, fats, protein and other nutrients.

Too few calories probably means not enough nutrients for optimal health. It could also mean not enough fiber. Fiber is what regulates the body’s use of sugars and lowers blood cholesterol. And helps promote regularity and prevents constipation.

When you don’t get enough calories your body could go into survival mode, which means a slowdown of your metabolism in order to conserve energy.

Labels and apps can help

Food labels are a big help in determining how many calories each food item you eat contains. Many restaurants and fast food chains now list out the number of calories each meal contains so you can keep better track. 

You can also find calorie calculator apps online. They work with a large database. So they should include just about anything you would eat or drink. 

For example, a small apple may be 90 calories, or a handful of almonds could be 150. A calorie counting app will give you a pretty close calorie count and help you track your daily intake.

Calories in a Crisis

Calories provide you with the energy you need to function. And they are even more important during a survival event.

Living on a small amount of calories for a short period of time is perfectly doable. But after a prolonged period of time eating under 1,000 calories a day could have negative effects on your body..

Determine how many daily calories you need for optimal health and for survival. Then you can make better decisions about what to eat now and what to stockpile for an emergency.

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