There are several ways to start storing food:
- Purchase standard food stuffs from the grocery store
- Purchase MRE (Meals ready to eat)
- Purchase dehydrated food
- Grow and can your own food
Food storage takes some organization. A good place to start is to set aside a dedicated area for your survival foods. An shelving system will show your inventory and efficiently store your food. The storage area should be in a cool and dry place to optimize shelf life. The storage space will need to be vermin proofed.
Step 1: What Food to Store
I started buying two of all the staplesI bought every time when I went shopping. From canned tuna to toilet paper this slowly built my survival stores with things that I actually use and like. You can buy on sale as well. There are three types of supplies that you will need to store:
- Canned food
- Bagged or boxed staples
- Dry goods
I like to buy nutrient dense foods where you get the most calories for your storage dollar. Canned tuna and peanut butter are good choices. Bagged and boxed staples are things like rice and beans. Bagged staples can be bought in several sizes ranging from individual servings to bulk 50# bags. In the case of bagged staples you need to analyze your habits in order to know what food to store. If you never eat rice there is no point in buying it in bulk. Bulk products like rice and beans need to be stored properly to last. If you eat these foods regularly buying in bulk will not only save money now but provide you with a good supply for emergencies. The key here is to rotate your stores.
Step 2: Know that you know what food to store we need to determine how much
From step 1 you know what food to store. Step 2 will guide you to quanity. My personal opinion is that storing more than a 2-3 month supply of food is too expensive to store, ration and protect. Storing seeds and becoming proficient in hunting and fishing will be dollars better spent. By the third month of our survival situation you need to move towards self reliance and a sustainable model. Supplementing your food stores with a hunter / gatherer lifestyle will immediatly make your stores last longer. These are skills that should produce more food over time.
Let’s assume you are a rookie hunter / gatherer and need to supplement your needs from your food stores. Here is the math for a sample scenario of what food to store:
Calorie requirements are for average sized people with moderate activity. Minimizing calories will lead to a non productive lifestyle that will not allow you the energy to become sustainable on your own. People tend to see their large store of food and not pursue other measures. This is ahuge mistake. Begin a sustainable lifestyle at once. Adequate calories are a must. Lets take a family of 4 and see how many calories we need for two months. From this we will know what foods to store and how much.
- Males = 2,000 calories per day or 120,000 calories for two months
- Females = 1,600 calories per day or 96,000 calories for two months
- Teen = 1,750 calories per day or 105,000 calories for two month
- Child = 1,200 calories per day or 72,000 calories for two months
This adds up to 393,000 calories per month which will enable our family to pursue an active lifestyle and start becoming sustainable on their own. Let’s say that you have tuna, peanut butter and rice. You got lucky and shot a deer and found some apples. Here is what you would need:
- Our deer weighed in at 100 lbs. This will yield 44Lb of meat for 45,000 calories. This is just the lean meat. The organs will provide an excellent source of vitamins and minerals as well as fat and calories.
- We found 200 apples. This would produce 14,400 calories.
Our hunter / gatherer efforts provided 59,400 calories leaving 333,600 calories needed or:
- 100 2oz cans of tuna in oil (oil provides fat as well as calories) = 12,000 calories
- 50 – 40 oz jars of peanut butter = 188,000 calories
- 100 lbs of rice = 133,000 calories
Those are our supplies for two months to feed our family of four. Now we know how much and what food to store. Our choices above, although boring, will give us a balanced nutrient breakdown with a good ratio of carbs, fat, and protein. Protein and fat are more essential to supporting a healthy lifestyle than carbs. The Paleo diet is a modern diet that mimics our ancestral diet and will tell us what food to store for optimum health. This hunter/gatherer lifestyle is our first model to emulate after a disaster. Establishing farming and animal husbandry would be the next step. Dehydrated and MRE are the next choice in what food to store. I prefer the real food scenario above. Dehydrated and MRE foods are good to have a backup they are more expensive on a calorie for calorie basis. I would recommend some dehydrated foods but would rather raise chickens for eggs than eat dehydrated eggs. MRE’s are meals ready to eat commonly found in the military. These are extremely convenient but equally expensive. I would have a few for travel and emergency but not really on them. They are traditionally not very tasty either and not my favorite choice on my what food to store list. Dry goods are bagged and boxed items like rice and beans. These are good for calories and relatively inexpensive. They should be stored in