Best Economical Survival Foods You Can Stockpile
What is the best storable food for the money? This is the question we get often. Storing emergency supplies at home for all inhabitants is an essential part of keeping you and your family safe in a crises situation. Following a catastrophic disaster in your area, you could find yourself without many of the modern-day luxuries you likely take for granted every day. Electricity may be out for weeks, leaving you in the dark and causing water treatment plants to stop working. Your home may suffer structural damage and be unsafe to occupy. You may need to take up shelter outdoors while possibly enduring extreme weather conditions. You or your loved ones may suffer injuries and need immediate medical treatment at a time when there might not be medical attention available. You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist or doomsday believer to know that food storage is a smart idea. After all, food is the second most basic human need after potable water. And since most of us aren't farmers anymore — that is, we don't have the tools, knowledge, or the space to grow food — we need to make sure we have a sure source of food in case of an emergency. Store foods that your family likes - variety is important. Learn to store food properly. Rotate and eat it. Storing food is your insurance that these events will not cause you or your family and friends to go hungry.

Why Store Food?

To be best prepared to use your food storage when you need it, you must think about the types of emergencies you are planning. By yourself or with your family, brainstorm some possible scenarios where it would be necessary or useful to have stored foods on hand. Your list will vary depending on your climate and other factors. Here are a few reasons to keep in mind why you might want to keep a food supply.
  • Food storage is a form of insurance. You buy it now in case you need it in the future.
  • Depending on where you live, different natural disasters are threatening to impose destruction at any time. Floods, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, wildfires, blizzards — you name it. You don't want to wait until one of these is at your door to make sure you have food available.
  • Food prices may never be lower than they are right now.
  • Many foods have super-long shelf lives of ten years or more. You are grocery shopping for the future at today's prices.
  • It's simply common sense. We save money for a rainy day. Why not something more tangible?

The Amount Food To Stockpile Per Person

Store sufficient food to supply at least 2000 calories and 1 gallon of water each day per person for an emergency or catastrophic event. The minimum stockpiling requirement for the 72-hour emergency kit, recommended by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is 6000 calories and 3 gallons of water for every individual.

10 Things to Consider When Stockpiling Emergency Food

Even though there's a detailed food list below— and you'll be okay if you purchase from that list— it merits understanding the basics and essential considerations on what food to stockpile in an emergency. The more you know, the simpler it is to modify or improvise.
  1. How many people are you feeding?
  2. How long will the emergency last?
  3. Foods are practically needed for likely emergency scenarios.
  4. Calories needed per day for each person based on; age, sex, and physical activity (see charts below)
  5. Carbohydrate, protein, and fat requirements (see chart below)
  6. Store foods with long shelf life or foods with a shorter shelf life that you turn into your regular diet, so you always have stock on hand.
  7. Plan Minimum water requirements of 1 gallon per person per day
  8. How will you prepare the food? Do you need extra water?
  9. Cooking Method(s) How will you cook your food under different emergency scenarios
  10. What season is it? If you lose power in the winter, you don't want to be cooking outside in a blizzard.

What to Always Keep in Your Pantry

As you stock food, take into account your family's unique needs and tastes. Try to include foods that they will enjoy and that are also high in calories and nutrition. Foods that require no refrigeration, preparation, or cooking are best. These items have lengthy expiration dates so that you can stash them away for long periods. Make a list of everything in your stockpile and check expiration dates every 6 to 12 months to keep things fresh. And don't forget to have a can opener on hand at all times—all that food won't be of any use if you can't open it. Peanut Butter A great source of energy, peanut butter is chock-full of healthful fats and protein. It's packed with calories from fat, and it carries some protein and carbs along for the ride. You can eat it right out of the jar with a spoon, your fingers, or a chip of bark. Eating peanuts and peanut butter helps control hunger without leading to weight gain. On top of everything, it has an incredibly long shelf life, even when opened. Rice You can find rice in any store, and it is a cheap and healthy addition to your emergency survival foods stockpile. It will provide you with the carbohydrates that will fuel you through a disaster. Half a cup of dried rice makes 1 cup of cooked rice. Rice will help you stretch your food supply without breaking the bank when it comes to survival foods. Every time you go to the grocery store, you should pick up a large bag of rice to add to your emergency food supply. Beans Beans are known to be one of the best all-around survival foods. They're rich in protein and contain other minerals, and if sealed in food-grade buckets with a small amount of dried ice, they'll stay for up to ten years. You can buy a variety of beans (legumes) at the grocery store in their 1-pound packages. Make sure to store them in a cool, dry, dark location. Canned Fruit & Vegetables When the real deal isn't an option, canned varieties can provide you with essential nutrients. These are another obvious survival food, but not as practical as many would think. They're heavy and somewhat costly for the calories they deliver. Additionally, acidic fruits and any cans of tomatoes will not keep as long as most people think. But most canned food is good for 5+ years. On your last trip to the grocery store before the blizzard sets in, make sure you get some cans of green vegetables and low acidic fruits like pears because those canned foods have a longer shelf life. If you have kids, pick something they like because it will help you deal with these picky eaters when the crisis is in full effect. Canned Meat This is a loose category of loose-meat products, which could be anything from beef, pork, chicken, or fish…to cardboard, cornmeal, and old boots, carefully ground up and spiced to be pleasing to the palate. No, this crap in a can isn't healthy for you. It's loaded with sodium, and God only knows what else. But it's also tasty, high in calories, long-lasting, rodent-proof, and ready to eat. Just figure out the calories per ounce from a few contenders, and the highest one should be your champion. SPAM, sardines in oil, potted meat, deviled ham—you pick. Any way you slice it, you're in survival nirvana. Lard You will be doing some home cooking in an emergency, and you will need oil to get the job done. Lard is long-lasting and high in calories. You can use it to add a bit of flavor to your food, and you probably remember how good your grandmother's food used to taste. The great thing about lard is that it is so calorie-dense. Just a little bit of it can sustain a full-grown man all day long. This makes it a great food to have in emergencies, especially if you're on the move. Pasta Shelf-stable and available in a variety of flavors, noodle dishes are a mainstay in survival pantries. Pasta is the ideal long-term food storage solution, thanks to its low moisture content. Stop feeling guilty about pasta because it's good for you, it stores well, and it's inexpensive. Different types of pasta will provide you with versatile options to whip up several meals. Cornmeal Corns have staple foods for thousands of years. While cornmeal and flour will keep with the right preparations, cornmeal generally has a better shelf life (up to 2 years), is packed with carbs, and is generally more flexible than flour. Making tortillas and cornbread will ensure you have bread on hand to use with other foods. Energy Bars and Chocolate Bars Food bars are ready-to-eat bars that are non-thirst-provoking and provide high calories. Choose bars that exceed the recommended daily vitamin and mineral requirements - read the labels! These bars usually have a 5-year shelf life and provide about 1200 calories/day. A 3-day supply costs around $5.00, but you would want to supplement them with some other type of food because they are 'survival' food. Chocolate can be a quick energy source and a great morale booster while also being generous in calories. Honey Honey is one of mother nature's greatest gifts and an essential item to add to your urban survival cache. But it is more urgent that you start stocking up on honey now before many other food items. Honey will store for many years and is bound to outlast you. Besides working as sweeteners for your food, they can also be used as antiseptics or food preservatives. You can even preserve meat using honey. And the great things about it? It increases energy, builds up the immune system, soothes sore throats and coughs, can reduce allergies, and some other benefits. And remember, it lasts forever, so get all you can while it's still affordable.

How to Store them?

Locate your long-term emergency pantry in a cool, dry, dark area. Basements are great choices, as are large closets and garages. Measure and note the exact size of your storage space. Before deciding on what to store, you need to be realistic and determine exactly how much physical room you have to dedicate to food storage. Store water first. The human body can survive weeks without food but can only go a few days without water. FEMA recommends setting aside a gallon per person per day. This can take up a lot of space if you're creating a long-term stockpile. Limit the amount of water you need to set aside by stockpiling water purification tablets, a gallon of bleach, or a portable water purifier such as backpackers use. Place water in a large plastic drum with a pump, in 5-gallon buckets, in gallon jugs, or individual bottles, whichever fits best into the space you have available. Containerize loose bags of rice, dried beans, or packets of dried or vacuum-sealed foods. Keep them safe from vermin and insects by putting them in plastic or metal bins with sealable lids. Organize cans and jars on shelves, lined up by type with labels facing forward for easy rotation. Rotate out the foods in long-term storage regularly as you buy new food. This will keep your long-term stores from spoiling. As you can see, food storage will always be a smart idea. Even if you start small, like with a simple 1-Month kit or DIY survival kit, you're making a big difference for a time of emergency, which will inevitably bring you peace of mind. Be a hero to yourself and your family!

Daily Calorie Requirements For Males By Age And Activity Level

Before storing emergency food, sort out the number of calories every person needs daily. Knowing calorie needs will make it simpler to plan meals for short or long-term food stockpiling. In a long-term emergency situation, your activity levels will likely be far up, so focus on giving enough calories to a functioning way of life. The following chart provides calorie counts for males by age and activity level. The information is provided by the Food and Drug Administration
Males By Age In Years Sedentary* Lifestyle Moderate** Lifestyle Active*** Lifestyle
2 1000 1000 1000
3 1000 1400 1400
4 1200 1400 1600
5 1200 1400 1600
6 1400 1600 1800
7 1400 1600 1800
8 1400 1600 2000
9 1600 1800 2000
10 1600 1800 2200
11 1800 2000 2200
12 1800 2200 2400
13 2000 2200 2600
14 2000 2400 2800
15 2200 2600 3000
16-18 2400 2800 3200
19-20 2600 2800 3000
21-25 2400 2800 3000
31-35 2400 2600 3000
36-40 2400 2600 3000
41-45 2200 2600 2800
46-50 2200 2400 2800
51-55 2200 2400 2800
56-60 2200 2400 2600
61-65 2000 2400 2600
66-75 2000 2200 2600
76 and Up 2000 2200 2400

Daily Calorie Requirements For Females By Age And Activity Level

Females require fewer calories yet just barely. You can strategically plan your calories as though everybody in your group is male, to add some additional calories to your stockpile. The following chart provides calorie counts for females by age and activity level. The information is supplied by the Food and Drug Administration
Females By Age In Years Sedentary* Lifestyle Moderate** Lifestyle Active*** Lifestyle
2 1000 1000 1000
3 1000 1200 1400
4 1200 1400 1400
5 1200 1400 1600
6 1200 1400 1600
7 1200 1600 1800
8 1400 1600 1800
9 1400 1600 1800
10 1400 1800 2000
11 1600 1800 2000
12 1600 2000 2200
13 1600 2000 2200
14 1800 2000 2400
15 1800 2000 2400
16-18 1800 2000 2400
19-20 2000 2200 2400
21-25 2000 2200 2400
31-35 1800 2000 2200
36-40 1800 2000 2200
41-45 1800 2000 2200
46-50 1800 2000 2200
51-55 1600 1800 2200
56-60 1600 1800 2200
61-65 1600 1800 2000
66-75 1600 1800 2000
76 and Up 1600 1800 2000
*Sedentary: Just the physical activity of independent living **Moderate: Active lifestyle activity plus 1.5 to 3-mile walk per day ***Active: physical activity of daily life plus walking more than 3 miles per day at 4 mph

More Food Suggestion for an Emergency

  • How would you realize what is and isn't safe to eat from the fridge if the power goes out? Once your food has gone through over four hours over 40º Fahrenheit, please don't eat it. So long as frozen food sources have ice crystals or are cool to the touch, they're as safe to eat. Once it gets to room temperature, bacteria grows fast, and you need to be exceptionally cautious about what you're eating. Keep the doors shut on your fridge and freezer to slow down the defrosting process.
  • If you don't have power, you still have the option to cook or heat your food. A charcoal grill or propane stove is possible (these can't be done inside as proper ventilation is essential). In case you're stuck inside, keep a jar of Sterno handy: Essentially, heat in a can. It requires no power and can heat limited quantities of food in cookware.
  • If your family has special necessities—for instance, you take prescriptions consistently, or you have a little kid—make sure to load up on those essential things, as well. Keep an additional reserve of baby formula and jars of child food or a backup supply of your meds.
  • If you live in a place at great danger for flooding, consider purchasing all your storage room items in cans, as they are less inclined to be contaminated by rising waters than jars. It's best not to eat home-canned food sources or jarred food varieties that have been exposed to floods because those seals are not precisely as intact.
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