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How do Astronauts Eat in space?

Astronauts have to carry a lot of pre-packaged food in their spacecraft do when they go to space. Preparation varies with the food type. Some foods can be eaten in their natural forms, such as brownies and fruit. Other foods require adding water, such as macaroni and cheese or spaghetti. Of course, an oven is provided in the space station to heat foods to the proper temperature. There are no refrigerators in space, so space food must be stored and prepared properly to avoid spoilage, especially on longer missions.

Condiments, such as ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise, are provided. Salt and pepper are available but only in a liquid form. This is because astronauts can't sprinkle salt and pepper on their food in space. The salt and pepper would simply float away. There is a danger they could clog air vents, contaminate equipment or get stuck in an astronaut's eyes, mouth or nose.

Astronauts eat three meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Nutritionists ensure the food astronauts eat provides them with a balanced supply of vitamins and minerals. Calorie requirements differ for astronauts. For instance, a small woman would require only about 1,900 calories a day, while a large man would require about 3,200 calories. An astronaut can choose from many types of foods such as fruits, nuts, peanut butter, chicken, beef, seafood, candy, brownies, etc. Available drinks include coffee, tea, orange juice, fruit punches and lemonade.

As on Earth, space food comes in disposable packages. Astronauts must throw their packages away when they have finished eating. Some packaging actually prevents food from flying away. The food packaging is designed to be flexible and easier to use, as well as to maximize space when stowing or disposing of food containers.