You might be a desk jockey, like most of our readers, or you could be a veteran prepper who wants to make sure all their bases are covered before the SHTF. Either way we're going to go over the basics of what you'll need to have in your food storage for an emergency situation.
Remember that this isn't gospel, you know you better than we do.
We can throw out all the generalizations in the world that work for MOST people, but if you know that your body type or lifestyle is no where close to what we're talking about, then it might be a good idea to seek a second opinion.
But we're going to do our best to deliver the highest quality information with actionable steps that you can take now to make a difference on tomorrow. Because we never know when it's going to go down, but it's certainly going to go down sometime.
What You Will Learn
Setting Your Baseline for Nutritional Needs
You can start out by storing nothing but pasta and rice, but in the long run you're going to need something that's not just a simple carb to get you through the tough times. Also you don't want to become fat once you start eating all of this, it would be pretty counterproductive.
You need to know what YOUR nutritional needs are and how your body responds to different food to more efficiently start storing food without wasting space.
Thankfully there are tools like BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) calculators that can tell you the minimal amount of calories that you'll need to survive. This information will give you the amount of calories per day you'll need to survive, then multiply that out over the amount of time you think you'll need the food storage for and there you have it!
No wasted space or guessing!
Now for Your Nutritional Needs
If you haven't noticed already, we're all pretty different. And that means that we respond to foods in different ways. Some people may be able to eat nothing but protein and fats all day to get through, others wouldn't have the energy to survive following the same diet.
For example the Admin-Cory is a person who can't get through the day without some sort of dense carb (bread, potato or rice) in every meal. Where as some people who are more accustomed to salads and meats to get by, Cory would fall over from exhaustion after a few days or just waste away. So you need to find out how your ideal meals for energy should work.
There are three general categories of Male & Female body types: Ectomorph, Mesomorph and Endomorph.
Many people think that "body type" just describes the way a person looks, but your body type can also provide information about how you respond to food intake and your hormonal and sympathetic nervous system (SNS) characteristics.
Where and How to Store Your Emergency Food Supply
If you have limited space, see How to Stay Organized section
Needless to say that if you're wanting to start a serious emergency food supply you're going to need more than just a closet pantry to make this work. We recommend investing in a space that has a basement or adding an underground storeroom next to your house.
This is the best plan because the earth will act as a natural refrigerator to keep your food cool and dry. The only problems you might have is humidity and mold if the air isn't circulated. But you can fix that with a few dehumidifiers.
Or if you have some extra change you can install a central air system.
If using a spare room in your house is an option then that is the next best thing to the basement. But just remember that should the SHTF that this will become your prison in order to defend your stash.
So either decide to keep just enough for a short emergency bug out, or reconcile yourself to the fact that your house will be your fortress once it goes down.
If you're going to make one room into an emergency food storage room then shelving will be your number one priority to maximize the space you have. You can go the trendy route and get the latest and greatest shelves for convenient use, or you can go with old reliable wooden or plastic shelves
Storing Massive Amounts of Pantry Items (Flour, Sugar etc.)
What to Store for Emergency Food Preparation
This is the million dollar question for most in the disaster preparedness arena
What you're storing needs to be based on which disaster you're preparing for, and in general you should have all of your bases covered, but we're going to go into short & moderate preparedness.
Short Term Storage
As per Offgridsurvival's suggestion, for the short term foods you should focus on foods that have an average shelf life of 2-5 years. This will ensure that you're probably going to use them either when the power goes out during a storm or some other mild event. Other wise they're just going to spoil and it will be wasted resources.
- Canned Tuna
- Canned Meats
- Canned Vegetables & Fruits
- Peanut Butter
- Ramen Noodles – not the greatest food in the world but they are very cheap so they made the survival food list.
- Hard Candy
- Powdered milk
- Dried herbs and spices
Moderate Time Duration Preparedness
Basically this list will be the same as the short term preparedness list. Unless it's a lengthy situation like an attack on the power grid in which case you'll want to keep a good supply (upwards of 50 lbs each) of rice, flour, various types of wheat and beans and cooking oils. A more in depth list can be found on Offgridsurvival.
Also check out the in-depth article by Thenewssurvivalist, they go over things like Oxygen Absorbing Packs for food preservation, the best nutritional supplements to keep and much more!
Cost Efficient Ways to Begin Emergency Food Storage
Save money and prepare for any emergency - here's how:
Look for the Sales
This is a slower process, but a proven method of most.
It's just like buying clothes at the end of the season, if you find canned goods that can be preserved longer that are reaching the end of their "shelf life" buy as many as you can (pun intended). We all know that these things last WAY longer than what the can says.
You can do the same with the meats, but in this case you want to make sure you have a way to store these in deeper storage than just freezing them. If you have a freeze drier that is the optimal way to preserve the meat
Buy Other Prepper's Food Stores
There's no hard and fast way to do this, but it's something that's been started recently by older people in the disaster preparedness community. And that's the idea to sell what you don't need so the younger and more able generation will be able to thrive.
When you think about it the older people who have been casually prepping their food storage for years have built up a pretty massive amount. And when they realize they only have a few more years left of natural life they do what is expected to help others and they sell the excess to those who are starting.
That's the great thing about the prepper community, it's all about sticking together and sharing information about how we can all survive.
Again, there's no site set up for these types of exchanges. Which is why it would behoove you to get involved in the community and meet folks (if only online) and share ideas and build relationships that could be mutually beneficial down the line.
Ready Made Emergency Food Storage
Not everyone will have this option, but there are some who have a desire to start now. And instead of wasting tons of money in the grocery store in an eager move to get started on your food storage, just buy a ready made supply with your needs in mind.
After looking at the options for pre-made food storage we settled on one company. We could turn this into some product review comparison chart, but there's really no comparison to this company.
We have never personally used this service, but the reviews we've read and the things we've heard about them have been nothing short of spectacular! From the price of the food to the 25 year shelf life this company has put the customer first in every area possible.
The 25 year shelf life means that you're not going to have to rotate your food stores when some go bad or spoil. With this company you're guaranteed to have the freshest food when you open, no matter how long it's been.
Preparewise also doesn't use GMOs in their food, so you don't have to worry about the quality of the food you're betting your life on.
How to Stay Organized
Yet another million dollar question! And this one has been solved by an amazing woman in the prepper community over at Preppared-housewives.
On her site Jamie goes over 37 creative sollutions to organize your emergency food, if you have ample space or not. And the places she manages to hide stuff while still maintaining an perfectly kept house will boggle your mind!
For Those With Little Space
One of Jamie's best tips for using wasted space is storing food under the bed, namely the big buckets that would contain rice, flour and other longer shelf items. Your bed frame may need to be manipulated to accomplish this, but it's well worth the investment if needed.
Also, putting lazy susans in the corners of your shelves to double your storage on each corner!
There's even a way to store some of your food supply on the ceiling. This may take some effort and time as well, but can you imagine the floor space of your garage covered in food prep, except instead of taking room on the floor it's out of the way on the ceiling!
For Those With Ample Space
If you have ample space for all of your food storage, but don't have the know how to keep it organized we're going to help you out.
First of all you should know that preparation for your preparation is the best thing you could do for yourself. Meaning that before you start stacking things in random places, and hiding things where only you can find them, you might want to put it on paper first so others can benefit.
All you need is a piece of paper with the layout of the room on it, some categories for the food and a list of what is in each category and you have your foundation. I'm not going to tell you exactly how you should lay out your food storage, because I'm sure forcing a square peg into a round hole isn't your idea of fun either.