What Foods Should I Store?
If you are new to food storage, the two big questions you may have
are “What foods should I store?” and “How much should I store?”. The
answers to both of these depend upon what your purpose for storing food
is, the ages and numbers of people you are storing food for, and the
typical diet and nutritional needs of these people.
What Types of Food Should I Store?
Many people start their food storage plan by just buying extra groceries
at the store, and keeping a few weeks’ worth on hand. This is a good
start, and many people start their food storage by stocking up on extra
canned goods, baking mixes, flour, rice, beans, peanut butter, and other
pantry staples. This is great for a few weeks’, or even a month or
two’s supply, but there are better options for long-term food storage.
When planning food storage for long-term survival, it is best to go with
freeze-dried food, meals ready to eat (MRE), dehydrated food, and other
basics that have been packaged for storage. We sell all of these,
including a variety of food storage units that combine a variety of
foods to give you a tasty and nutritionally balanced emergency food
supply. One huge advantage of buying food that is intended for emergency
food storage is the much longer shelf life. While most packaged
convenience foods and commercially canned goods go bad in just a few
years, most of our emergency food storage items are good for 25 years,
when stored unopened and at temperatures below 75 °.
The basic categories of storage foods are grains like wheat, oat, corn,
pasta, and flour; legumes like beans, peas, and lentils; sweeteners such
as sugar, honey, molasses, and corn syrup; fats & oils like
shortening, vegetable and/or olive oil, mayonnaise, salad dressing, and
peanut butter; dry & evaporated milk, and other dairy like canned or
powdered butter and cheese; and cooking staples such as salt, yeast,
baking powder & soda, and vinegar. For variety and nutritional
balance, most people also include dehydrated or freeze-dried fruits and
vegetables and meats, TVP, or other protein sources. Flavored drink
mixes and dehydrated baking mixes for treats brownies and other desserts
are also great for disguising the taste or stored or purified water and
for adding variety and interest to meals and keeping people from
feeling deprived of sweets or comfort foods.
How Much Should I Store?
There are many ways of calculating your food storage needs.
For a short-term supply, you can write down everything you cook and eat
for 2 weeks, break it into ingredients, then plan from there. This works
well if you cook and eat at home most of the time, and do a lot of
cooking “from scratch” or using basics from the pantry, but not so well
if you eat out often or rely on a lot of deli, refrigerated, or frozen
For long-term food storage needs, the simplest way to plan is to use our
food storage calculator
or to buy one of our packaged food units. Keep in mind that both are
calculated based on a 2000-calorie daily diet, so you may want to plan
for more if you typically consume more than that, or are a larger person
who will expend more energy in a survival situation.
A “rule of thumb” that some people use for survival rations is one
gallon of water plus one pound of “dry” foods like grains, beans,
legumes, powered milk, and dehydrated foods per day. In reality, this
only provides about 1600 calories per day, and food that required added
water will use up that water ration pretty quickly, so a better
guideline might be 2 gallons of water and one-and-a-half to two pounds
of other foods per day. Read more about water storage.