Best Bets for Food: More Calories, Less Hassle

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Best Bets for Food: More Calories, Less Hassle

Post by AnonEmous » Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:00 pm

EDIT: Corrected an error, added Moutain House freeze dried foods, and instant grits as requested

Purpose: This little exercise is designed to help determine which food options provide the most calories in the most convenient form for the least amount of money and weight for a bug out bag. It is designed to highlight that some food options may have downsides regarding calories, cost savings, or packaging that are not necessarily apparent. (and yes, this is not a comprehensive list)

Method: These rankings take several factors into account: total calories of the packaged food (not the serving suggestion), weight, cost, and the "convenience" of the food. Convenience is purely subjective, but I figure eating anything in bar form is easier than anything that normally needs a spoon, which is easier than anything that cannot be resealed, which is easier than anything that needs water added, which is easier than anything that normally would need a can opener or need to be heated.

The big winner: Peanut butter, not surprisingly, with its high protein and fat content, resealable container, low price, and ease of use (just need a spoon) comes out on top. With fat containing more than twice the calories of carbs or protein, the foods higher in fat naturally will perfrom better in the "calorie density" category.

The loser: Tuna in a packet or even worse in a can. It boasts a high protein value, and accordingly disappoints in the calories/weight ratio department. Also, tuna in a can generally does not have a pull top opening, so you need a can opener, which reduces its convenient use.

Details: If anyone is really interested, I can post the simple equations for determining the rankings, but no need to fill up the screen with an excel sheet unless there is a desire to go math geek on everyone. The lower the score is under Calories/ weight/cost with "convenience" factor, the better the food is in general.

Results: the top five foods based on most calories for least weight and cost are
_______________________________________Cost/100 Calories_______Calories/ Weight (gram)_______Calories/ weight/cost with "convenience" factor
1. Generic Peanut Butter.............................$0.06...........................6.59...................................0.01
2. Trail Mix............................................$0.16............................4.96..................................0.04
3. MainStay Ration bar...............................$0.28............................5.33..................................0.06
4. Betty Crocker Pizza Crust Mix (add water)......$0.18...........................3.48...................................0.09
5. Peanut butter cheese crackers....................$0.38...........................5.13..................................0.10

Rankings by packaging: I figured packaging was as good as any criteria to list foods, so here is what I have come up with so far:

Top Picks per Type
Bars______________________________Cost/100 Calories________Calories/ Weight (gram)_______Calories/ weight/cost with "convenience" factor
MainStay Ration bar....................................$0.28..........................5.33..................................0.06
Kashi Trail Mix Granola Bar............................$0.29..........................4.00..................................0.08
Cliff Bar (chocolate chip)...............................$0.41..........................3.53..................................0.13
Cliff Bar (chooclate brownie)...........................$0.41..........................3.53..................................0.13
Cliff Bar (white chocolate)..............................$0.41..........................3.53..................................0.13
Promax bar (double fudge brownie)...................$0.54..........................3.73..................................0.16
Luna Bar (nutz over chocolate).........................$0.55..........................3.75.................................0.16

Packets
(need fork/ spoon;
possibly heat source and bowl)______________Cost/100 Calories________Calories/ Weight (gram)_______Calories/ weight/cost with "convenience" factor
Betty Crocker Pizza Crust Mix (add water)............$0.18..........................3.48.................................0.09
Maple and Brown Sugar oatmeal........................$0.20..........................3.57.................................0.28
Regular Oatmeal..........................................$0.20..........................3.57.................................0.28
StarKist Tuna Lite (packet)..............................$1.00..........................1.17................................1.07

Canned (need fork or spoon,
possibly can opener)______________________Cost/100 Calories________Calories/ Weight (gram)_______Calories/ weight/cost with "convenience" factor
BoyArDee Overstuffed Ravioli (wholegrain)...........$0.15...........................1.27................................0.17
BoyArDee Overstuffed Ravioli...........................$0.16...........................1.18...............................0.19
Baked Beans...............................................$0.15...........................1.16...............................0.26
Garbanzo Beans...........................................$0.23...........................0.73...............................0.64
StarKist Tuna Lite (canned).............................$1.50...........................0.89...............................3.36

Snacks (not resealable)______________Cost/100 Calories________Calories/ Weight (gram)_______Calories/ weight/cost with "convenience" factor
Trail Mix...................................................$0.16...........................4.96...............................0.04
Peanut butter cheese crackers..........................$0.38...........................5.13...............................0.10
Chocolate Snack Pack.....................................$0.23..........................1.31...............................0.22

Freeze Dried_______________________Cost/100 Calories________Calories/ Weight (gram)_______Calories/ weight/cost with "convenience" factor
Mountain House Rice with Chicken.....................$1.05...........................4.41...............................0.60
Mountain House Beef Stroganoff........................$1.13..........................4.52...............................0.63
Mountain House Lasagna with meat sauce.............$1.16..........................4.43...............................0.65
Mountain House Chili Mac with beef....................$1.18..........................4.35...............................0.68
Mountain House Beef Stew...............................$1.23..........................4.17...............................0.74
Mountain House Spaghetti with Meat Sauce............$1.23..........................4.17..............................0.74

Other_____________________________Cost/100 Calories________Calories/ Weight (gram)_______Calories/ weight/cost with "convenience" factor
Generic Peanut Butter....................................$0.06...........................6.59..............................0.01
Swift Mac & Cheese (add water)........................$0.20...........................3.97..............................0.08
Trader Joe's Beef Jerky..................................$1.90............................2.47.............................1.10

As Requested_______________________Cost/100 Calories________Calories/ Weight (gram)_______Calories/ weight/cost with "convenience" factor
Instant Grits...............................................$0.29...........................3.53..............................0.41
MRE packet peanut butter................................$.20............................5.88..............................0.04
Nutella (small jar).........................................$0.15...........................3.91..............................0.05

Individual results will vary: Yes, I understand that some people would prefer tuna over peanut butter, that someone will think twinkies really may be a great food, that freeze dried food cannot be beat, or that there is no substitute for Cliff bars. Clearly a mix of foods is required; this is only meant to get people to consider what food they may need, its drawbacks and advantages, and that there are plenty of inexpensive options.

Limits or Read This Before You Start Poking Holes in This Excercise: I understand that in dire circumstances, people would forgo spoons, forks, bowls, adding required water or even stopping to heat food. Regardless, I based the convenience on how most people normally can or do eat the food. I did not factor in the weight of pots or bowls for heating food that normally requires it; the weight of water needed for freeze dried foods; nutritional value beyond carbs, protein and fat; "extreme couponing" or other unusual deals that would aritifically reduce the costs that most people would expect to pay; or shipping costs if ordering online. Yes, eating hot food sure beats granola bars, but this little exercise is based on packing easy, simple foods with the highest calorie content. I am also aware this list of options is not exhaustive, but it is a start. However, if you have read this far, I am sure you have some right to critique this.
Last edited by AnonEmous on Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:25 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Best Bets for Food: More Calories, Less Hassle

Post by RickOShea » Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:07 pm

I hate oatmeal..... Do you have any idea how instant grits rate? I have a lot of that stored away.

I have a bunch of Chef Boyardee ravioli, too...... For the kids, of course. :D
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Re: Best Bets for Food: More Calories, Less Hassle

Post by WhoShotJR » Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:13 pm

Nice post, and I really appreciate the effort, but I'm confused why maple and brown sugar oatmeal scores a .01 and a .04 in the same category 'Calories/ weight/cost with "convenience" factor' under different headings.

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Re: Best Bets for Food: More Calories, Less Hassle

Post by AnonEmous » Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:23 pm

WhoShotJR wrote:Nice post, and I really appreciate the effort, but I'm confused why maple and brown sugar oatmeal scores a .01 and a .04 in the same category 'Calories/ weight/cost with "convenience" factor' under different headings.
Thank you, I made a transposing error and will correct it. Unfortunately, the format did not carry over from off-line and I had to completely rework it; correcting now.
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Re: Best Bets for Food: More Calories, Less Hassle

Post by Jamie » Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:26 pm

peanuts and raisins mixed 2 or 3 parts to 1part is about the cheapest provider of fat/calories/protein that I've found...it's also shelf stable for a long time...

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Re: Best Bets for Food: More Calories, Less Hassle

Post by TacAir » Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:30 pm

Thanks for the charts! I appreciate the effort.
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Re: Best Bets for Food: More Calories, Less Hassle

Post by AnonEmous » Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:31 pm

RickOShea wrote:I hate oatmeal..... Do you have any idea how instant grits rate? I have a lot of that stored away.

I have a bunch of Chef Boyardee ravioli, too...... For the kids, of course. :D
If you send me the weight of the container, servings per container (I calculate it based on total, not just single servings), and calories, carbs, fat, and protein per serving and the cost of the package, I can calculate it for you and add it to the list...
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Re: Best Bets for Food: More Calories, Less Hassle

Post by RickOShea » Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:51 pm

AnonEmous wrote:
If you send me the weight of the container, servings per container (I calculate it based on total, not just single servings), and calories, carbs, fat, and protein per serving and the cost of the package, I can calculate it for you and add it to the list...
Okay, here it goes:

-Net weight 12oz (340g)
-12 servings
-$3.49 per container

Per serving:
-Calories 100
-Carbs 20g
-Fat 1.5g
-Protein 3g
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Re: Best Bets for Food: More Calories, Less Hassle

Post by AnonEmous » Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:35 pm

If anyone would like to compare your favorite emergency or non-emergency food, please post the weight of the total contents, servings per container (I calculate it based on total, not just single servings), calories per serving and the cost of the package.

I can calculate it and add it to the list...
Last edited by AnonEmous on Thu Jun 16, 2011 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best Bets for Food: More Calories, Less Hassle

Post by RickOShea » Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:32 pm

Thank you, AnonEmous. :D
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Re: Best Bets for Food: More Calories, Less Hassle

Post by s.leinicke » Fri Jul 15, 2011 1:19 pm

Hyvee has dehydrated peanut butter in its heatlh section.

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Re: Best Bets for Food: More Calories, Less Hassle

Post by J-Bean Sammitch » Fri Jul 15, 2011 11:11 pm

AnonEmous wrote:If anyone would like to compare your favorite emergency or non-emergency food, please post the weight of the total contents, servings per container (I calculate it based on total, not just single servings), calories per serving and the cost of the package.
I'm curious as to how you would rate MRE-style peanut butter packets. They have a smaller, disposable 'footprint' in comparison to a solid jar of PB that stays the same size from the first serving to the last. I found some at Emergency Essentials:

weight of the total contents: 42.5g
servings per container: 1
calories per serving: 250
cost of the package: $0.50 ea

I've also seen chocolate peanut butter at TheEpiCenter.com, but do not have any nutritional info on them.

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Re: Best Bets for Food: More Calories, Less Hassle

Post by AnonEmous » Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:15 pm

Replying to J-Bean, it looks like the MRE packet is not quite as good as generic peanut butter in a jar, but only because the individual servings cost much more than a reasonably sized generic jar of peanut butter. Of course, one MRE serving fits in your pocket, so it can be a slight advantage, but the summary includes cost as a factor, which is why it calculates out slightly worse than a jar. Overall it still holds up very well; if you have the cash, I would recommend including a few of these.

On a separate note, I do not know why the calorie content is slightly different.

_______________________________________Cost/100 Calories_______Calories/ Weight (gram)_______Calories/ weight/cost with "convenience" factor
1. Generic Peanut Butter.............................$0.06...........................6.59...................................0.01
2. MRE Packet Peanut Butter.........................$.20............................5.88...................................0.04
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Re: Best Bets for Food: More Calories, Less Hassle

Post by ZombieGranny » Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:45 am

Peanut butter can be anything from only ground peanuts & salt to basically hydrogenated vegetable shortening with just enough peanuts to add flavor.
That is probably the cause for the differing calorie counts.
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Re: Best Bets for Food: More Calories, Less Hassle

Post by eugene » Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:23 pm

I wouldn't mind seeing the spreadsheet, maybe post to a google docs account where you could share/collaborate so others could fill in their foods.
I'm using clif crunch and clif mojo bars which are 180-200 calories each and about $1 each so .50 / 100 calories. Individual bags of peanuts which are 170 calories, a 1/4 cup of walnuts is 200 calories, box of raisins 130 calories, etc.
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Re: Best Bets for Food: More Calories, Less Hassle

Post by duodecima » Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:49 pm

eugene wrote:I wouldn't mind seeing the spreadsheet, maybe post to a google docs account where you could share/collaborate so others could fill in their foods.
I'm using clif crunch and clif mojo bars which are 180-200 calories each and about $1 each so .50 / 100 calories. Individual bags of peanuts which are 170 calories, a 1/4 cup of walnuts is 200 calories, box of raisins 130 calories, etc.
Some kind of shared app would be great, I'm a food nerd and would use it. I have similar calcs done for my BOB food, but I was looking at weight rather than price.

Great post.

Did you check out crisco sticks? I'm sure they're not the cheapest but not too dear ($3.24 for 3 individually wrapped sticks) And one stick is 12 g fat x48 servings, for 5280 kcal/ 6.3 oz approx. I'm thinking they're a good addition, since a dab of the butter flavored could be added to oatmeal, instant mac, etc. For bugging in, the 3 lb cans are obviously cheaper.
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Re: Best Bets for Food: More Calories, Less Hassle

Post by ForgeCorvus » Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:23 pm

Nutella ?
750 grams per large jar
15 grams is a portion
81 kcal per portion= 5.4 kcal per gram
Not got a price for the US but it is currently £3.45 in Tesco (or single serving in a plastic thingy 15grams @ 29p)
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Re: Best Bets for Food: More Calories, Less Hassle

Post by AnonEmous » Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:22 pm

ForgeCorvus wrote:Nutella ?
Added this to the summary list under the category "as requested"

Took the nutirional information from the internet and estimated price based on a recent trip to the local store...
____Cost/100 Calories_______Calories/ Weight (gram)_______Calories/ weight/cost with "convenience" factor
...................$0.15....................3.91.....................................0.05
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Re: Best Bets for Food: More Calories, Less Hassle

Post by ForgeCorvus » Sat Jan 21, 2012 1:33 pm

ForgeCorvus wrote:15 grams is a portion
81 kcal per portion= 5.4 kcal per gram
AnonEmous wrote:
ForgeCorvus wrote:Nutella ?
Added this to the summary list under the category "as requested"

Took the nutirional information from the internet and estimated price based on a recent trip to the local store...
____Cost/100 Calories_______Calories/ Weight (gram)_______Calories/ weight/cost with "convenience" factor
...................$0.15....................3.91.....................................0.05
Am I miscalculating Calories/Weight (gram) or am I not understanding what this entry means ?
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Re: Best Bets for Food: More Calories, Less Hassle

Post by AnonEmous » Sat Jan 21, 2012 3:35 pm

ForgeCorvus wrote:
ForgeCorvus wrote:15 grams is a portion
81 kcal per portion= 5.4 kcal per gram
AnonEmous wrote:
ForgeCorvus wrote:Nutella ?
Added this to the summary list under the category "as requested"

Took the nutirional information from the internet and estimated price based on a recent trip to the local store...
____Cost/100 Calories_______Calories/ Weight (gram)_______Calories/ weight/cost with "convenience" factor
...................$0.15....................3.91.....................................0.05
Am I miscalculating Calories/Weight (gram) or am I not understanding what this entry means ?
I took the information from a label I found online...

223 calories per serving x12 servings= 2676 total calories
57 grams per serving x 12 servings= 684 total grams
calories/ gram= 3.91

What is slightly more difficult to understand is that a food has less than 4 calories/ gram, since one gram of protein and carbs each contain 4 calories and a gram of fat contains 9 calories. I figure water or any other non-nutritional addition can dilute the calorie value, but the container may also increase the weight without providing any calories. I am not sure whether the serving size weight is required to include the container.
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Re: Best Bets for Food: More Calories, Less Hassle

Post by jamoni » Sat Jan 21, 2012 3:47 pm

Really neat idea!
My BOB food is mainly beef jerky, peanut butter, Powerbars, and trailmix. Sounds like I have a pretty good power to weight ratio.
I like factoring in power/weight/ease of use. Great stuff.
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Re: Best Bets for Food: More Calories, Less Hassle

Post by AnonEmous » Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:05 pm

jamoni wrote:I like factoring in power/weight/ease of use. Great stuff.
Yeas, I was a bit surprised at how poorly the freeze dried stuff came out in the overall consideration, but because freeze dried is often expensive (atleast in single servings) and often must be heated, the expense and (in)convience factor really diminished it.

Of course, eating a hot bowl of chicken and rice when it is cold out sure beats cold peanut butter! So this in no way indicates that only the top foods on the list should be packed, it just serves to highlight how people may want to (re)consider what food to have on hand, especially if they have to carry it.
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What Food to Carry in A Pack?

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Re: Best Bets for Food: More Calories, Less Hassle

Post by ForgeCorvus » Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:03 am

AnonEmous wrote: I took the information from a label I found online...

223 calories per serving x12 servings= 2676 total calories
57 grams per serving x 12 servings= 684 total grams
calories/ gram= 3.91

What is slightly more difficult to understand is that a food has less than 4 calories/ gram, since one gram of protein and carbs each contain 4 calories and a gram of fat contains 9 calories. I figure water or any other non-nutritional addition can dilute the calorie value, but the container may also increase the weight without providing any calories. I am not sure whether the serving size weight is required to include the container.
This might be why the numbers don't make sense to me
On my jar it says
Kcal per 100g 544, per 15g portion 81

And each 750g jar is supposed to contain 50 portions, each of those portions contains roughly two hazelnuts (and one nut weighs approx. 0.85g.
According to this site http://www.weightlossresources.co.uk/ca ... _seeds.htm 100g of hazelnuts has 655 kcal so my jar of Nutella contains 556.75 kcal just from the nuts alone (total kcal for the 750g jar 4080.)

Are you going by weight of product or total pack weight ?
Is US Nutella different to the UK product ? (besides the fact that your servings are nearly four times the size of ours )


I am however still impressed by the fact that you've built this resource, keep up the good work
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Re: Best Bets for Food: More Calories, Less Hassle

Post by Shaper » Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:11 am

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Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
2 tablespoons (32.0 g)

Amount Per Serving

Calories 190

Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*

Total Fat 14.0g
22%

Saturated Fat 3.0g
15%

Sodium 125mg
5%

Total Carbohydrates 12.0g
4%

Dietary Fiber 2.0g
8%

Sugars 8.0g

Protein 7.0g
______________________

U.S. ARMY 11B1P 3rd US INF(TOG) 96-00
U.S. ARMY 94F10 101st 3rd BCT Now

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Epulamur libenter eos qui nos subiungeant
________ We gladly feast on those who would subdue us _______

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