Here is a 5-day, 3 meal and 2 snack, 3500 calorie, <2 lb per day meal list from this guy who goes by the trail name Erik the Black.
Now, there ARE many cheaper ways of getting the calories, which I fully intend to explore, but here’s just an example of meal planning. I will post meal plans/recipes as I experiment and come up with them over the next few months, but you can bet your tail I’ll be dehydrating a lot of food at home prior to the hike. And as for the AT rule of thumb “embrace the junk food” , I probably won’t be saying this a year from now but I’m not opposed to daily snickers bars! [That is, as long as I carry TONS of toothpaste….]