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Eating on $4.50 a day – Ooops! Not enough calories!

Day 2

Ooops! I didn’t consider calories as I bought my food for the week yesterday. With a focus on trying to afford healthy food, I lost track of calorie requirements. The total calories in the food I purchased yesterday was 7311. That’s an average of 1044 calories a day. A healthy weight loss diet, based on my basal metabolic rate (BMR) would be around 1458 calories per day which would lead to a 1-2 pound weight loss per week. So, the food I have for this week isn’t a decent weight loss diet for my body, and it’s absolutely not a health sustaining eating plan. To maintain a healthy weight, I’d need 1700 to 2200 calories a day. I have a feeling I might get cranky later this week.

I decided to do some research on calorie needs to maintain health. In perspective, the average 5 year old needs about 1800 calories a day to maintain healthy growth. Of course, the average will vary by child depending on growth rate and activity level. A healthy average diet for an adult is considered around 1800-2000 calories a day. While calorie needs vary depending on sex, age and activity level, women from 19-30 typically need 2,000 and 2,400 calories daily; women 31 to 50 need 1,800 and 2,200 calories per day, and women over 50 need 1,600 and 2,200 calories a day. Men 19 to 30 years old need 2,400 to 3,000 calories a day; men 31 to 50 need between 2,200 and 3,000 calories daily and men over 50 need 2,000 to 2,800 calories a day.

The calories in the food I bought aren’t enough for anyone! 

On another note, I have a sensitivity to wheat and dairy, so I didn’t include them in my shopping list. A loaf of gluten free bread and ½ gallon of lactose free milk were over $3.50 each, too large a chunk of my budget.

To recap – what I ate on day 1: Grazing worked! If I felt hungry, I ate several almonds and dried berries.

Almonds & dried berries – 150 calories
2 tbsp peanut butter – 190 calories
1 piece celery – 2 calories (probably my worst food choice was celery – no calories, minimal 1 nutrients. It’s a great vehicle to hold my peanut butter, and it offers food texture, but not much else)
20 grapes – 68 calories
1 oz chuck roast – 70 calories (I didn’t want to eat too much of the meat outside the soup, but needed some protein and it was DELICIOUS!!! I highly recommend McCormick’s montreal steak seasoning!)
1 carrot – 30 calories
2 hard-boiled eggs – 120 calories

I also had a sip of wine my friend Jessica shared with me and a sip of framboise my friend Pam shared with me and 2 free samples of macaroons ( ½ a cherry limeade macaroon, ½ a carmel sea salt macaroon at Cocoa Dolce – DELICIOUS indulgence). I have a feeling free samples will be how I treat myself this week.

Total calories: 630


I’m beginning to understand the need for high calorie, low nutrition fillers. There aren’t a lot of calories in fruits and vegetables. Chuck roast has a higher fat percentage than some meats, a plus for this eating plan, protein and fat content.

Food day 2:

My morning eating plan for day 2 included – 1/3rd of my soup allotment for the day, 1 hard-boiled egg and 1/5th of a pear, 6 almonds and 6 dried berries. My pears aren’t ripe, so I’m going to leave them out for a couple days to ripen more fully. Crispy pears aren’t bad in terms of texture, but they aren’t very tasty.

The next thing I’m going to look at is the percentage of calories I’m getting from protein, carbs and fats in what I’m eating this week.

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