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Eat like an explorer

How many calories do you think you need to eat a day? On average, an adult man needs about 2,500 calories a day, an average adult woman 2,000 calories a day, and an eight-year-old child about 1,700 calories a day. On a polar expedition, especially if you are dragging a sledge with all your supplies and equipment, you would need to be eating about 6,500 calories per day. Even then, you may still lose weight. For this activity, you will need to design a menu for one day on a polar expedition.

Ages 7+

30 minutes

Remember that if you are going on a long expedition, you may need to carry 100kg of food. When you are designing your polar menu, you will need to take the following criteria into account:

  • A balanced diet (see the Find out more section)
  • Contains at least 5,000 calories (21,000kJ)
  • Weighs no more than 2.5kg (on an actual polar expedition this would be more like 1.5kg)
  • Tastes nice!
  • Easy to cook and easy to store

Activity steps

  1. To find the number of calories in a food item, search online for the item + ‘calories’, e.g. ‘pancake calories’.
  2. Pick some foods that you would like to eat and write them in as part of your meals on the researching food sheet.
  3. Use online research to decide on the serving size and find out the weight and number of calories.
  4. Add up the totals for your proposed menu. Did you hit your targets?
  5. If you did not meet the criteria above, research lighter food options or other foods with a higher calorie content per weight.
  6. Remember that this type of menu is only suitable if you are dragging a large sled over many kilometres of Arctic Ocean!

Planning a menu for a day on a polar expedition is very different from planning a menu for staying healthy in everyday life.

  • What were the main challenges that you faced in choosing the food for your menu?
  • How different was the menu to what you eat normally?
  • Do you think you could eat this kind of food for 50 days or more?
Further ideas

If you would like to extend the learning in this activity, try the full lesson, How do you eat like an Arctic Explorer?, where there is also a full slideshow that can help to think through weight and calories from different foods.

Safety guidance

  • This guidance is for illustrative purposes only in planning a menu for a polar expedition, and is not suitable for everyday dietary advice.

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Frozen Oceans 7 11 Thumb

Cross-curricular | Ages 7-11

Frozen Oceans

Based on journeys undertaken by real explorers and scientists, the Frozen Oceans (Primary) education programme is designed to introduce students to what life is like in the High Arctic.