How to not waste calories?

I’m asking because I basically have been eating my entire town down to the nails, and only now have learned that “hungry” means “survivor wants to eat, but any food eaten will be straight up wasted”? So, should I consistently wait until “very hungry” status and then eat food in order to ensure that I’m always refilling my caloric deficit, or is it worthwhile to… eat food? I just don’t understand what the game is telling me, and I’m feeling like I need to look at the actual code in order to figure out the basic UI :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

My question ultimately is, when we eat food to fill our stomach, are we wasting calories or do our stomach contents actually count towards our eated calories?

In general, you can ignore peckish for long periods of time. I know people have been complaining, but in my most recent recording session I just drank things with calories for most of the day and it never went beyond peckish.

Now, the next day I was listed as ‘famished’, which is much more concerning. It’s been covered before, but the jist of it is that you need x number of calories per day, varying based on the activity level of your character.

Which is different from various stages of ‘hunger’ which occur frequently.

Honestly, if you’re eating what you feel is enough calories, you’re fine. I generally shoot for 1500 - 2k per day and adjust if I get serious messages. Yes, you still might be hungry, but you’re not going to die. If you start getting more serious effects (I believe they’re color-coded, and you get a malnourished line in the (@) character screen) then you need to eat a little more to make up for it over the subsequent days.

If you’re snacking throughout the day and drink beverages that also have calories, you’ll be fine. Min-maxing hunger is a waste of time given the availability of calories.

What’s actually giving you the impression that calories are being “wasted”?

tl;dr: You aren’t wasting calories - eat when you’re hungry.

Hungry means that the survivor wants to eat and could use the calories gained from eating. It doesn’t mean that calories will be wasted from them eating. Calories are only wasted when you are at 110% of your normal healthy calorie storage This is no longer correct - extra calories are never wasted, your character will just continue to get fatter and fatter.
So, unless you are eating in excess of 5000 calories when you’re hungry, you are almost certainly not wasting calories.

I believe the confusion is coming here from how this was displayed in the past, where peckish was hungry, and hungry was very hungry. It is no longer that way, so all you need to do is eat when you’re hungry and you won’t waste calories.