Determining what actually makes up a meal can take on a number of definitions for different people. This can include ideas like:
- Proper food combinations
- Sufficient protein
- Portions that add to fullness
- Vitamins and nutrients
- Balanced nutrition
- Variety of foods per serving
While all of these concepts do go into the constitution of a single meal, they can also affect the caloric value of what is eaten in a single sitting.
Many people do not consider calorie counting in a positive aspect. This concept is often associated with dieting and weight reduction, but the truth is that caloric counting is also necessary to ensure that sufficient energy is being consumed in order to support healthy day to day function.
This idea of an actual calorie count constituting what makes a meal does tie in to the other factors which help to make nutrients bio-available to the body, but it can also be an important consideration when the rationing of food is added to the mix. This could be due to:
- Times of emergency
- Outdoor recreations where food supplies are carried
- Survivalist scenarios
- Limited budgets
- Food storage in rural habitation
In these cases, it can be vitally important that what is considered to be a meal actually meets the caloric and nutritional needs for a day.
Filling Or Fueled Up?
A healthy adult requires at least 2,000 calories per day in order to support proper physiological function. These number account for basic activity and periods of rest, although, if the body is further taxed by excess activity or even stress, then the caloric intake can be as high as between 2,500 to 3,000 per day. However, the minimum of 2,000 calories will ensure that basic metabolic functions for wellness are maintained, and this can include immune support, muscle strength, and brain health.
Stored foods are necessarily compact and should be nutrient dense, although this is not always the case. Some ready-made meals and food kits will offer a condensed size that expands to fill the stomach, while overlooking some of the nutrient requirements that are also a part of the equation. What happens is that a person will feel full after having one of these ready-made meals, although the body is not actually fueled up from the intake.
Over time, several negative results can occur:
- Diminished health
- Loss of energy
- Cognitive impairment
- Cravings that indicate the need for further calories
At Valley Food Storage, we not only take the care to ensure that stored foods and food kits taste great and are packed with nutrients, but also that the combinations that are offered to fit a one month or even one year supply actually have the appropriate amount of calories to meet the body’s needs. This goes beyond using compressed starches and fillers to fool the stomach into simply feeling full, but actually helps to feed the metabolism in order to keep it fueled.
Food calculators can often overlook this aspect if they are not calorically based. Although the rule of thumb that adults should consider three meals a day and youths should have at least two meals a day can be considered accurate, it is more important to consider the amount of calories that each of the meals is bringing in. If the totals are below 2,000 calories on any given day, then a food kit might as well be termed a snack kit.