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Food calculator guide                                                                                                                     

Factors to bear in mind

Please bear in mind that, when calculating food needs, you also need to learn how long each type of food could be stored. Different types, namely cereals (eg. Wheat, Maize, Barley, Sorghum, oats), legumes/pulses, oils, canned foods, fruits and vegetables, meat, sugar, tea, etc by their nature, have different capabilities of staying in storage. Some are perishable; some are durable and can be stored for long period even years, some my only last few months. This also depends on the storage type and conditions surrounding the storage, as we shall see below. Therefore, some food products have short food storage life and we can only build stock until when they are fit for human consumption. This also implies that we need to consider rotating stock in the right time before they expire.   

Depending on the type of storage type to use, allowance should also be given when using the food calculator. There are many factors that could affect or spoil the food that we store. This aspect is of special importance if you are planning and managing emergency food storage. Most makeshift storage structures (Rub halls, Tarpaulins) are erected in hostile environments that are most likely affected by flooding, torrential rains, and subsequent manifestations of food infestation. A high percentage or proportion of stored food could be unfit for human consumption as a result; hence your food calculator needs to take this into account.

Generally the guide should be used with the above considerations and other personal life style considerations in mind.

How much food to stock!

There are a number of nutritional guides available. For example, the United Nations Humanitarian Organisations (WHO, UNHCR, UNICEF, FAO, WFP) have their own guides that are applied in emergencies as well as post-emergency situations. Each country may also have its own nutritional guides to reflect its broad nutritional policies and targets. The geographical differences, traditions, feeding habits of populations, and their availability in the market, determine the nutritional rations to apply.

The total food need is measured in terms of Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats, that are needed by the person. These are very vital elements of human body, and the optimum intake is dependent on the activity levels and special needs of the person. Note, however, a person would also have to eat all other Vitamins and Minerals in order to be healthy.

The foods that a person eats provide Energy that is measured in Calories. Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats provide different levels of Calories. Generally, Proteins give low levels of calories whereas Carbohydrates and Fats provide the high levels of calories (see below).

 As most Nutritionists agree, total Energy that a person takes a day should come from:

The table below provides quick example how to plan daily energy sources from daily diet.:

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By: Yohannes Berhe

Food Calculator