If you are in an emergency situation with limited access to food, you should know how many calories you will need to survive.
An adult generally needs between 2,000 to 2,400 calories per day to survive in an emergency. The calories a specific person needs depends on their age, weight, height, gender, health, and other biological factors. A higher amount of calories may be needed to sustain more strenuous activities.
As a general rule for emergency situations, you should know how much emergency food you’ll need on a typical day to stay healthy and maintain your current weight. An efficient way to ration emergency food and plan for an emergency situation is to know the number of calories per day that are needed per person.
How Many Calories Do You Need To Survive In An Emergency?
When preparing for an emergency, it's important to take stock of your food, water, and other supplies to make sure you have enough resources to survive as long as possible.
Food that is consumed too quickly may provide the body with more nourishment that is needed for survival.
Your body may store some food as fat, but much of the food may be processed by your digestive system and removed from your body.
Since human bodies come in many different sizes and ages, specific caloric needs can be vastly different from person to person.
What it means to survive may vary based on an individual's metabolism, tastes, medical requirements, and overall health.
From a technical perspective, the idea of surviving may be more focused on the ability for a physical body to not perish.
That idea of survival might not take into account the amount of pain and suffering experienced to keep a body alive.
Some may consider that degree of survival too extreme and may have expectations of survival that includes a certain level of comfort.
Since a person’s level of comfort is largely subjective, it is difficult to nail down a specific amount of calories that will satisfy everyone's survival needs.
A human body typically requires at least 2,400 calories a day for an adult male and 2,000 calories a day for an adult female to comfortably survive.
A higher daily caloric intake may be required to maintain energy levels for intense physical tasks during a survival situation.
Emergency food can be a crucial food supply to ensure healthy adults have a daily calorie intake to keep energy levels up.
If an active person isn’t getting enough food to maintain sufficient calories, they might feel weak and experience nutrition deficiencies with weight loss if their activity level remains elevated.
If you’re in a deserted area without a car or motorcycle, you may have to walk long distances to obtain regular supplies of potable water, food, and other resources.
How Long Can I Survive Without Any Emergency Food?
Generally speaking, an adult human is capable of surviving many weeks without ingesting any food.
If someone has a large amount of fat, they might be capable of surviving for an even longer period of time.
This information definitely is not medical advice, but it should be worth considering when deciding on the amount of nourishment one might need to survive.
There are many documented accounts of obese individuals that have survived for several months or more while eating little to no food.
The rate at which a body burns fat and other calories may also factor into how long a body can survive without food.
A person with a higher metabolism rate will typically burn more calories compared to their basal metabolic rate.
Intermittent fasting is a common dieting method that involves minimal calorie consumption for several hours to several days a week.
The effectiveness and safety of intermittent fasting can be different from person to person, but the popularity of this dieting method at least supports the idea that consuming far fewer calories a day may not be that detrimental in a survival situation.
Though many people’s diets revolve around some type of fasting, you should know that it can be quite difficult to get through the initial phases of fasting.
There might be quite a bit of mental and physical pain involved with getting minimum calories per day, particularly within the first three days or so.
Good Emergency Food Items For A Long Period Of Time
When bringing food along in an emergency, you should bring food that can last as long as possible without refrigeration or special packaging.
Common foods that are relatively easy to carry and store for extensive amounts of time include nuts, jerkies, dehydrated fruit, and crackers.
To make it through longer periods of time, you may want to bring emergency foods with a longer shelf life such as canned goods and specially-packaged products from survival food companies.
Survival food companies often produce nutrition and hydration goods that can last for months or years.
Some survival food products with heavy-duty containers are known to last over twenty years.
How Do I Prepare And Eat Survival Food?
Hiking, camping, and emergency food companies sometimes produce ready-to-eat meals (or MREs) and snacks that last long and require little to no preparation to eat.
Many of these long-term food storage solutions can simply be opened and consumed from the container.
Though many MREs can be eaten immediately upon opening, some MREs and other emergency food supplies with a long shelf life may require adding basic ingredients such as water or milk.
More robust meals may require adding boiled water, so you should try to have a heatable container and heating sources like matches or a lighter so you can boil water practically anywhere.
There are many convenient heating products that are easy to carry such as Sterno cans and portable stoves.
Some of these heating products may allow you to not only heat food and water, but ignite fires to help you and stay warm.
They may also allow you to light lanterns so you have adequate lighting to work, move around, and keep an eye on your surroundings.
Important Qualities Of Emergency Foods
When trying to calculate the calories per day you’ll need to survive in an emergency, you should not simply look at the number of total calories, you should look at the types of calories you are getting.
It will be healthier for you to obtain calories from a variety of emergency food that can provide protein, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients.
Different types of emergency food have different amounts of vitamins and minerals that can aid with various bodily functions.
Just getting at least 2,400 calories a day from a box of cookies might be enough for you to survive, but you might get sick from the excessive amount of sugar and minimal vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
Allowing yourself to be satisfied from emergency food is something that should not be overlooked during an emergency.
Your happiness might give you the strength and motivation to carry on, so you should try to find a diverse range of meals that will satisfy your caloric needs and the needs of your taste buds.
About THE AUTHOR
I have over a decade of experience in food and beverage management, including a ServSafe food safety qualification. As part of this qualification, I have been professionally trained in safe food storage.Read More About Mark Walker