Minimum Calories Needed to Survive – Daily Calorie Calculator (Step-by-Step Guide)

Everyone can agree that our world is growing smaller each day. With it, more and more families are forced to live in apartments and tighter living quarters. With space being such a precious commodity, how much food do we actually need stored up for an emergency situation?

Our bodies undoubtedly require food for energy. The calorie is a unit of energy needed to perform life’s daily activities. Each person’s daily calorie intake requirement will be dependent on age, weight, gender, metabolism, and daily activity level.


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Step 1: Figure out what you are eating.

Before you are able to calculate your food consumption, it’s a good idea to find out what your trends are.

  • Carry a notepad with you and write down what you ate for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks in between meals.
  • You can manually count your calories on your own or you can use a convenient online calorie calculator in Step 2.
  • Take note of the Nutrition Facts label on the back of each food item.

• Amount Per Serving = 100 Calories
• Servings Per Container = 4 Servings
• Based on these Nutrition Facts, if you were to each the entire container, you would consume 400 calories.mixedcrafts-nutrition-facts

Step 2: Calories needed to survive calculator.

Once you’ve noted the exact food you consume daily, it will now be time to put that data to use.

  • Use an online calculator from a reputable source.
  • Do not use a random blog or public forum calculator.
  • Any “.gov” or “.edu” website will typically pass with flying colors.
  • I recommend the Mayo Clinic or the USDA Supertracker calculator.
  • You will need to enter your age, gender, height, and weight.
  • Have your notepad ready to input your daily meals.

Step 3: Figure out your basal metabolic rate (BMR). The minimum calories needed to survive.

Your body’s BMR is just a fancy term for your metabolism. Metabolism determines how much energy is needed just to stay alive and perform normal bodily functions without physical activity.

  • This is the standard equation for the average American male:
    (12.7 × height inches) + (6.23 × weight lbs) – (6.8 × age years) Add 66 to the total number for your BMR.
  • This is the standard equation for the average American female:
    (4.7 × height inches) + (4.35 × weight lbs) – (4.7 × age years)
    Add 655 to the total number for your BMR.
  • Save your BMR number to use in the Harris Benedict equation. This will determine how many calories your body needs with physical activity included.


Step 4: Calculate how much energy your body requires during physical activity using the Harris-Benedict Equation.

The Harris-Benedict Equation will help you determine your total body calorie requirement. To figure this out, you simply take your activity level and multiply it by your BMR. Determining how “active” you are during the day is nearly impossible without some type of tool to measure this. Personally I use this cheap, yet extremely accurate pedometer. This is opinionated but for this lesson, we will have a 5 scale criteria.

  • Little to no exercise (multiply BMR by 1.2)
  • Exercise 1-3 times per week (multiply BMR by 1.375)
  • Exercise 3-5 times per week (multiply BMR by 1.55)
  • Very active, exercise 6-7 times a week (multiply BMR by 1.725)
  • Extremely active, exercise every day of the week multiple times per day (multiply BMR by 1.9)


What do you do with your Daily Calorie Intake?

Generally speaking, your body will only be in 1 of 3 categories each day: gaining, losing, or maintaining its weight. The following will be true as long as you keep up with the same day-to-day physical activities. If your activities change, simply go back to Step 4 to recalculate. Read this article in order to determine how to actually prepare your family for long term food storage.

  • Maintaining your weight. Be sure to consume approximately the same number of calories you calculated with the above steps.
  • How to gain weight. Nutritionists typically agree that an extra 250-500 calorie intake daily will get you roughly 1/2-1 lb. weight gain per week.
  • How to lose weight. Health professionals recommend removing about 500 calories from your daily diet. This will safely achieve a weight-loss of approximately 1-2 lbs. per week.


Conclusion on Calories Needed to Survive.

When it comes to prepping, most times we are far too concerned with gathering as much as possible. I, myself have been guilty of using the term “the more – the merrier” when that should not always be the case.

Our living quarters are shrinking at an incredible rate, which makes it necessary to be 100% proficient with our decisions. Only after you have completed the calculations should you determine which emergency food buckets to purchase.

“How many calories would your bodies need to consume daily in order for your family to survive and thrive?” This is an extremely important question that unfortunately most families do not know the answer to.

As for you, I truly hope this article helped shed a little light on determining your family’s food storage decisions.

Please comment and share to help me keep writing free posts for y’all :o)
I wish you all the best on your prepping journey.
Stay safe and take care.
Very Respectfully,
Jimmy Rourke

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Jimmy Rourke

I’m on a mission to give you simplified and actionable Emergency Preparedness advice. My commitment is to making sure the lessons can be easily followed by regular people with busy lives.

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