Our US government recommends that every family keep and store at least 72 hours worth of food, water, and personal supplies on hand incase of a local emergency that would affect their area. It’s one of the few things that our tax dollars have actually gotten right.
Rule # 1 about food storage is store what your family eats on a regular basis so you can eat what you store. While Freeze dried food and MRE’s are valid options for your food selections, unless everything falls apart, the food in your every day pantry needs to be consumed and rotated so it stays fresh and maintain it’s nutritional value. If your family does not eat canned Spam or Tuna on a regular basis, you should not have it in your pantry.
Over the last 5 years our family has been able to gradually built our food storage up to a 1 years supply for 3 adults, my wife, myself and our near by adult daughter. It took us time and did not happen overnight because available funds have been limited so we started off slowly but stayed the course.
First we began by boosting the number of canned goods and dried foods like rice & pasta that we eat on a regular basis by using the copy canning method. (google copy canning for details). Once our pantry was stocked we moved on to dry, long term foods stored in Mylar bags and 5 gallon buckets with 02 absorbers like beans, rice, pasta, wheat and corn.
Next we began purchasing dry food in #10 cans from our local LDS cannery. Pasta, oats, beans, potato flakes, red and white wheat, carrots, onions, pancake mix and more. Link is attached below to the LDS website that you can order supplies from.
After that we bought some cases of Military MRE’s. We chose these because of their extended storage life and require minimal preparation. They are a challenge to rotate but we manage to use them most of them on camping trips.
Next was a slow but sure investment in freeze-dried foods from Mountain House and Wise. I really wished we had sampled the Wise before we made the purchase because to my tastes and wife’s it is not as good as the Mountain House brand.
Which brings us to the topic of how the number of days worth of food should be calculated. Do not trust what any manufacturer of long-term storage food advertises as “days worth”.
The only way to correctly calculate how many days of storage for ALL your food, not just freeze dried, but all your long term and near term pantry of boxed and canned goods is by amount of calories contained in each serving.
The average adult male age 31 to 50 years old needs 2400 to 2600 calories per day if he is moderately active, 2800 to 3000 calories per day if he is very active. I pulled that information form the link below from webMD website’s and it has female and child recommendations based on age and physical activity level as well.
So for a 31 to 50 year old male that is moderately active and needs 2800 calories per day a week’s worth of food would be 19,600 calories, or 84,000 calories per month. Not only should the food you store contain calories but also you need to make sure you are storing carbohydrates and proteins. While it’s possible to buy and store all your caloric requirements with white rice and your choice of beans, (or lots of Reece’s chocolates), a week into your storage food use you would be bored with the lack of variety of tastes. You would survive but life is about thriving not just surviving.
We downloaded an excel spreadsheet off the web several years ago that allowed us to input our families details and then input quantity of each food item, number of calories per serving or container and it would do the calculations of total number calories per day we had on hand based our information. If you are comfortable with excel spreadsheets it would be easy to set up the calculations but if you are not then google food storage spread sheets. There are a number of them available from different sources, both simple and very complex so make the choice that suits you best. Once downloaded make sure you run a current virus program to make sure they are clean.