If you are a person who is afraid of the future and want to be prepared for any situation storing food is a must. Storing food can really be an art and is one of the categories I have discussed in my earlier beans, bullets and band aids post You really need to ask yourself some questions before you buy a years supply of food. These questions are how many people are in your family, what are their eating habits, are there any food allergies, how many calories per day does your family need and how long do you need food storage to last?
A good place to start is to make a menu of things you usually serve to your family and the recipes for each meal. You will probably want to make a menu for at least two weeks to a month so you have some variety in the food you are eating. Storing food that you will actually eat is very important. Another thing you need to remember is if you need to use your food storages because of an emergency you probably don’t have electricity either (unless you have some alternative power sources as discussed in a previous post). This limits the types of food you can so you will probably not want to try and store food in numerous freezers as the food will spoil with no electricity.
When storing food you will want to see how much each family member normally eats. Calories are the easiest way to calculate the amount of food eaten. Most adults will need about 2000 calories per day. This may even be a low number based on height, weight and the amount of calories burned. In a disaster scenario many people will be doing more physical labor so you may want to have a 25-50% higher daily caloric intake. This would mean for a person that normally eats 2000 calories per day they would probably need around 2500-3000 calories per day. Let’s quickly calculate the amount of calories needed for a family of four in the food they are storing. We have one adult male and one adult female as well as a 13 year old male child and a 5 year old female child. We will assume that the male eats 2300 calories per day, the female adult needs 1900 calories, the 13 year old needs 1700 calories and the 5 year old needs 1100 calories per day.
- 7,000 calories per day normally eaten.
- 7,000*1.25=8,750 calories per day eaten after a disaster
- 8,750*365= 3,193,750 calories of stored food needed to sustain the family.
This is a very rough ballpark of what you will need because there are also other things to consider. Some of the other things to think about when choosing food to be stored are fat, sodium, protein, and different vitamin and mineral contents. You could realistically have your only stored food be ramen noodles, but not only would you get quickly bored of this diet, your sodium levels would be sky high with no protein or substance to speak of. Having a variety of stored food that can serve all nutrition requirements is what you want. It is also good to have foods stored to eat even before there is a crisis. There are a couple reasons for this. The first reason is that you want to know how to cook the foods you have and actually eat them. The second reason for storing food to eat before a crisis is so you can rotate the food and make sure it doesn’t go bad. Stored food rotation just means that eat the oldest food, which is closest to expiration, first.
Below is a short list of foods that are good for storing:
- Beef Jerky
- Wheat and wheat berries
- Dried fruits
- Dried vegetables
- Freeze dried foods
- Canned fruits and vegetables
- Canned Meats
- Other canned goods
- Top Ramen and other comparable foods
- Powdered and canned milk
- Drink powders
- Powdered Butter
- Survival bars or Rations
- #10 Cans of survival food
Storing food needs to be well thought out so the food does not spoil. Even many dry foods have expiration dates. Storing food correctly can drastically increase the lifespan of the food. Some things to remember are that you want a place that is dry and that does not experience radical changes in weather and temperature. Something that causes stored food to go bad is oxygen. The less oxygen reaching the dried food the longer it will last. There are a few different ways to ensure that your food has no oxygen around it. One of the first things you can do is put the food into a vacuum bag and vacuum all the oxygen out of it. This is a good start but plastic bags aren’t always air tight so the food may still go bad over time. A better way for storing food is to use mylar bags with oxygen absorbers inside then close them using an iron. At this point you will want to put them into air tight food grade buckets.
Now is a great time to start storing food in case of a disaster or even if you have financial troubles. Not all survival food is expensive and can be found on sale quite often at grocery stores.