Do you have a survival food plan? Survival food – it’s one of the first things you think of when prepping for a crisis. It’s also one of the first things to disappear from the grocery store shelves in an emergency. But where do you start? Here are five steps to an effective survival food plan.
If you’re like most of us, the majority of the food you eat is the “good stuff” in the refrigerator and freezer. After all, that’s where you keep the milk and cheese, produce and leftovers as well as the meat and ready to eat or heat & serve meals.
When the power goes out, those are the first items that need to be eaten before they spoil. But what do you do when those foods are gone?
That’s when you need a survival food plan and enough food on hand to carry you and your loved ones through until the crisis is past and power, as well as fresh supplies, is readily available.
5 Steps to an Effective Survival Food Plan
1. How many days’ supply of food do you need?
Try to always keep at least a minimum of a week’s worth of food on hand at all times. Once you have a week of supplies, then work up to a 30-60 day food supply. Having at least four weeks of food stores available will carry you through most emergencies.
Why so long? While the original storm or disaster may only last a few days, the aftermath can last much longer.
You never know how long it may take for the roads and supply chains to be restored. Fresh supplies may be a long time coming.
Having a month’s food on hand gives you more time to plan and gather supplies. It also prevents you from being dependent on others or relief efforts that may be unavailable or delayed.
How to Stockpile Food On a Budget
If you’re on a budget, buy an extra can of vegetables or package of dry pasta or rice on each grocery trip. Look for basic staples such as dried beans, rice, and pasta.
Check the number of servings against the price. Plain beans, rice or pasta are usually much cheaper per serving than their flavored counterparts.
But survival food doesn’t have to be boring. A variety of seasonings and seasoning blends can be made at home or purchased fairly cheaply.
Check the prices at different stores in your area. One may have good prices on dried staples, while another may have better prices on canned goods. Watch for sales and stock up when prices are good.
Check package stores in your area or places where you can buy food in larger quantities. Emergency food storage is a process. It doesn’t have to all be done at one time.
2. How Much Food Do You Need to Stock Up?
Estimate 1500-3000 calories per day per adult depending on size and activity levels. Colder weather or more strenuous activities require more calories. If you’re cutting firewood, clearing debris or walking a distance to a water source, you’ll need more calories.
Plan to store a variety of food to provide a healthy range of nutrients. There’s more to life (and a healthy diet) than a food plan that only consists of a case of macaroni and cheese.
Keep in mind that you may be eating from your supplies for several weeks. Having a variety of different foods will help not only your taste buds but your morale, too.
Include proteins, carbohydrates, and fats in your food choices. Some foods, such as beans, provide both protein and carbohydrates. Nuts and seeds are a good source of additional fats.
Include both starchy and non-starchy vegetables in your survival food plan. While vegetables such as spinach and green beans may not have very many calories, they do provide additional vitamins and nutrients. When eating a diet of concentrated foods, green vegetables can also help with digestion.
While we’re talking about vitamins, store up on multi-vitamins, too. A year’s supply of vitamins is easy to store and don’t take up much space. If you find yourself on a limited diet, a good multi-vitamin can help to fill in the gaps nutritionally and assist in maintaining health and wellness.
A survival garden can provide additional food to supplement your food stockpile. Fresh vegetables add additional nutrients and can be used to dress up otherwise boring meals. It doesn’t have to be a large garden. A survival garden can be planted in small spaces and even be disguised so that no one else knows you have it.
3. What Types of Food Are Easy to Store?
When choosing foods to store, look for items that don’t require refrigeration or freezers. This way, if the electricity goes out, you won’t have to worry about your food supplies spoiling.
Survival foods with a long shelf life are usually dried and canned goods. Dried foods, such as pasta, beans, wheat, and rice are some of the easiest items to store. One drawback to dried foods is that they require additional water to cook and eat.
Canned goods, on the other hand, come with their own liquid. When water is hard to come by, the liquids in canned goods can help keep you hydrated.
Ready to eat meals and canned goods are also good choices.
Three Things To Keep In Mind
Choose foods that you know how to cook. If you don’t already know how to cook them, this is a good opportunity to learn. As you rotate your supplies, try them out. Experiment with different seasonings and recipes. Practice cooking them over your emergency stove.
Also, make sure the items you choose are foods that you know your family will eat. A crisis is not a good time to convince hungry children (or adults) to eat things that you know they don’t like. Familiar foods and comfort foods are true moral boosters for everyone.
Don’t forget a can opener! Or just use the can opener blade on your multi-tool knife.
4. How to Store Survival Food?
When storing food, keep it in a location that is cool and dry. Survival food storage requires a steady, stable temperature.
Try to keep it in an area where the temperature stays pretty much the same all year round, such as inside of your home instead of in a garage or shed.
Keep it up and off the ground.
Examine it regularly. Immediately throw away any cans that are bulging or bursting. Check for off-colors or signs of spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.
Check for signs of rodent or insect activity. Be alert for even the smallest signs of these pests. They can quickly multiply and affect the rest of your food stores.
5. How Do You Rotate Survival Food?
Rotate your food supplies on a regular basis, such as monthly or quarterly. Set up a system that works well for you and that you will remember to do. Make it a habit so that you do it automatically.
Use a first in, first out approach. If you store foods that you usually eat, this is easy to do.
View your pantry as your own grocery store. Buy food for the next month as you eat the provisions you currently have.
Tips for rotating survival food
Get in the habit of keeping an extra month’s worth of dried, canned or ready to eat staples on hand. Keep them either in a separate shelf or another part of your pantry, or, better yet, keep them in a box or two in another location.
Use up the food for your current month first (and completely) before you use any of the food items from the next month’s supplies. You may discover that what you thought would only last a month can actually be stretched much longer.
Stocking Up and Your Survival Food Plan
Stocking up a supply of survival food is an important part of any survival plan. Imagine how secure you would feel sitting safely at home during the next big storm with a full pantry instead of joining the stampede to the store to fight it out over the last loaf of bread on the shelf.
With an effective survival food plan and a well-stocked pantry, you’ll have peace of mind, not to mention a well-fed family as well.