Have you ever wondered how much food you eat in a day? How about the amount you eat in your whole life? In his book Numberland, Mitchell Symons guesses that we each eat 35 TONS of food. Does that make sense? Well, depends on how many pounds we eat each day, which is a lot. Scientists have figured out that on average we each eat about 150 hamburgers a year, 20 gallons of milk (about 160 pounds), and almost 3 dozen donuts. It all adds up…but if you think it comes to about 1 pound of food a day for a grown-up, that’s only about 400 pounds a year. Does that come close to Mitchell’s guess? Let’s do the math to find out!
Wee ones: If you eat 2 pounds of apple pie on Saturday and 1 pound on Sunday, how much do you eat in total that weekend?
Little kids: If you eat an apple on Sunday, then one on Monday, and so on through Saturday, how many apples do you eat? Bonus: If you ate 4 more donuts than that, how many donuts did you eat?
Big kids: If you eat 10 pounds of food a week — a little more than a pound a day — how much would that be in 1 year? (Hint if needed: You can count a year as 52 weeks.) Bonus: What does 35 lifetime tons of food equal in pounds? (Reminder: A ton has 2,000 pounds.)
The sky’s the limit: If you eat just 1 ounce of food the 1st day, 2 ounces the 2nd day, 3 ounces the 3rd day, and so on, on what day will you have eaten 5 pounds in *total*? (Reminder: A pound has 16 ounces.)
Wee ones: 3 pounds.
Little kids: 7 apples. Bonus: 11 donuts.
Big kids: 520 pounds. Bonus: 70,000 pounds. If you’re 70 years old, that’s 1,000 pounds a year…or about 3 pounds per day!
The sky’s the limit: 5 pounds comes to 80 ounces. Adding 1+2+3…etc. gives you the triangle numbers, where things can be stacked in growing rows to make a triangle. You’ll have eaten 1+2+3+4=10 ounces total by day 4, then 15 by day 5, then 21, 28, 36, 45, 55, 66, 78…so, on the 13th day you’ll pass the 80th ounce. The shortcut: a triangle with n as the biggest number added will have a total of n x (n+1)/2, so on the 12th day you’ll have 12 x 13 divided by 2, or 78 ounces.