Emergency Food Storage Is About CALORIES, Not Servings


When deciding how much foods to add to your emergency supply, the most important rule to remember is to go by CALORIES, not by serving size.

Here’s how and why…

Food companies and manufacturers (and emergency food companies) have different definitions for what constitutes a serving.

Remember when choosing your emergency foods,

to look at the total calories,
and/or the calories in what they consider a serving.

If the package/can/etc.. is considered 1 serving, then check how many total calories.

If the package indicates that it contains 4 servings, then read the fine print…

If they list the calories-per-serving, then multiply by 4 for the total number of calories in the package.

If they simply list total calories, and they call it 4 servings, then they are saying that each serving is only the total divided by 4.

The marketing can get tricky, so be careful.
Survival is about total CALORIES, not the number of servings.

Many people make the incorrect assumption that a serving size should contain enough calories for a complete meal. In truth, there are no standards for serving sizes; they are only suggested portions by the manufacturer.

Focus on the amount of calories in the whole package instead of the number of servings per package.

For example, don’t expect an entrée meal of a typical emergency food package to contain enough calories to complete your calorie intake. Look into supplementing it with other foods, snacks, drinks, fruits, vegetables, rice, etc.. and other food items to help increase your daily calories. Having a variety of foods to eat creates normalcy in an emergency situation.

How many calories do you need each day?
A hard work day cutting down trees and moving storm debris will require more calories than sitting around all day. When planning, it’s best to assume you will need more calories than less. In general, teenage and adult males may need 2800 calories per day, while teenage and adult females may require 2200, and children 13 and under may use 1400 calories.

Going by these figures, an adult male needs more than 900 calories per meal, assuming three meals per day, for an active lifestyle.

How many calories do you need for emergency food storage?
The first step is to figure out how many total calories you and your family consume on a daily basis.

Next multiply that by the number of days for which you want to be prepared.

This becomes the minimum number of calories that you need to have in your food storage program.

Decide how many months worth of food you want. This is influenced by your personal comfort level. The longer period of time you can supply for the better, but most people can’t afford to go out and buy a year’s worth of food without some prior planning and budgeting.

The best recommendation is to start where you can. First build up a 2-week supply and then move to 30 days’ worth. Once you have that, work up to three months, then six and then a year. Build up your food storage supply as big as you need in order to feel safe and to be able to provide for your family in any disaster situation.

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  1. From what I understand about the ‘serving size’ on a package label, it isn’t meant to be used as an actual serving size, it is so you can compare the listed nutrients with other brands or package sizes. For instance, a carton of ice cream may say the serving size is 1/2 cup. Who eats a half cup of ice cream? No one I know. But you can compare ice creams using the standard 1/2 cup serving size.

  2. ugh….my BMR is 1950 calories/day. Add in two hours of “real” work and I’m at 2800 calories/day. If I cut it back to 1 hour of work, and 23 hours laying down, I could survive off of one #10 can of Mountain House Lasagna with Meat Sauce per day.

  3. There is a miss conception about food and our dietary requirements. It is said 2000 calories a day is what your supposed to have but that is a lie. Example: A 12 yr. old boy that plays video games all day does not need the same amount of food as say the same age boy playing football everyday. The more energy you use the more foods or dietary supplements your body will require. American’s are far over weight and not in good health. We tend to eat more fast food than vegetables and not take vitamins as a daily routine. If your like most people and sit around after work and not go to the gym your possibly not in the best shape. I haven’t eaten 2000 calories in one day in years. Why? Because I eat small potions and only when I’m hungry, not because the clock says 12. I stop eating when I feel full and not try to eat every bite given to me. What I’m saying is this: Just because you eat 2000 calories a day doesn’t mean you NEEDED 2000 calories. If you have supplements to give your body what it NEEDS (and not a double cheese burger) you can actually eat very little food and still work, gain weight and muscle and be in better shape than if you ate burgers. The reason they say 2000 calories is to try and give a number that your body will need after a strenuous day at work, not sitting in a chair answering phones. Thus the reason why American’s are overweight.

  4. “American’s are far over weight and not in good health” That is not true. The obesity factor has gained a lot of media attention but it is overblown (no pun intended) because it serves someones agenda. We are in as good health as anywhere in the modern world and certainly 100 times better health then the third world. “If you have supplements to give your body what it NEEDS (and not a double cheese burger) you can actually eat very little food and still work”. Really! What are you eating as “supplements”. Just eat food, not “supplements needed” I don’t know where you think you will get your “supplements” after the SHTF. Believe it or not a cheeseburger won’t hurt you and I can’t say the same for supplements and other fad diet ideas.

    1. @someone;
      I agree with you. Why depend on supplements when real food will supply everything your body needs? Especially fiber, not much of that in supplements, unless you use Metamucil or something, which isn’t nearly as good for you as fiber from the food you eat.

  5. I just got a sample from a supplier that I will not mention. It was advertised as a “3-day pack.” Product came with 4 bags, each containing 4 servings – which averaged to a little over 5 servings a day. However, the combined 4 bags contained a measly total of only 1600 calories. Now, I don’t know about you, but there is no way I could survive on 1600 calories every 3 days. In fact, that is very well below my DAILY requirement. The price for this so called 3-day pack was 25 bucks. So, all in all, 25 bucks really didn’t even purchase enough calories for a single day. There has to be a better alternative! Oh, and to the person who says you don’t need 2,000 calories a day? I got news for ya buddy – that may work for you. However, I eat over 3,000 calories per day, and I am skinny as a rail. I could not survive on less!

  6. Because the prepper movement has become a phenomenon, unscrupulous companies have begun selling products to very new folks who know very little about nutrition, but they have decided to invest what little assets they have into creating a provisions cache. As such, while I applaud the new preppers, I am disturbed that any company would market some food source as “emergency food” when it doesn’t meet the RDA for whatever period is being advertised.

    Read the labels AND study nutrition. It’s just as vital as having food on hand.

    If you made a mistake and purchased food items, often dehydrated food items, and now realize they won’t cover you for the time period you assumed, there is still hope.

    In many cases, one can simply add edible oil to the dehydrated food to cheaply boost calories. Fats are in every food we eat. Yes, we don’t ordinarily want to increase fat in the American diet. However certain fats are good for you and boost HDL cholesterol (like olive oil). There is a good chance that coconut oil might help folks with hyperthyoidism and Alzheimer’s disease. Fat is not bad, that’s a misnomer.

    The best long evidence we have for the benefits of fat can be found in the day-to-day activities of Appalachian Trail hikers. In almost every case, supplementing fat into their diet resulted in a major boost of energy. Almost all Appalachian Trail hikers lose a lot of weight under the strain of all that hiking and work. As such, unless they modify their diet, they will undergo profound weakness.

    Fat contains twice the calories (9 calories/gram) as carbs or protein (both around 4 calories/gram). Ethanol provide 7 calorie/gram, a fact that has allowed many homeless alcoholics to survive. Thus adding fat under survival conditions is very important.

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