Consider the most common scenarios that may put you into a situation where you'll need survival food.
Natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, flooding, and severe snowstorms are common worldwide, and a little simple planning can easily help you and your family prepare for such events.
Grocery stores will likely be closed or unreachable, and will quickly be picked clean by legitimate shoppers and looters anyhow.
Clearly we all need to stock up on some food so we're not caught short.
It's common to hear FEMA and ready.gov officials touting a 72 hour survival kit, but clearly three days worth of food wasn't enough for these Katrina victims. We firmly believe that the absolute minimum requirement for short term disasters is two weeks worth of food. A month's worth of food is better, and once you've gotten used to rotating through your stock of commonly eaten pantry items this sort of prepping will be second nature.
Sure, some of it should be the standard MREs and camp meals that you'd find in your Bug Out Bag. But after weathering the storm (or earthquake, or flood) at the very beginning you'll need to provide your family with some semblance of regular meals for a while.
Short term survival food: This is not a long term food stockpile.
What's not discussed here are longer term food storage essentials such as flour, whole grains which require grinding, or dried beans which require soaking and a longer cooking time. You won't be planting a garden or raising chickens in order to deal with the two week to 30 day aftermath of a natural disaster. Perhaps you should be doing those things anyway for the sake of self sufficiency and long term planning, but that's a different story to be covered in a upcoming post.
Our assumption her is that you're "bugging in" at your home or at a commonly visited bug out spot like a private cabin.
First, stockpile a decent selection of convenience foods like the aforementioned MREs, camp meals, energy or protein bars, peanut butter (or almond butter if allergic), chips, crackers, and snacks. Stock up on food that you actually eat every day. If you don't like deviled ham now, you probably won't like it when the air conditioning or heat is off and you have no running water.
Next, make a list of foods you already like with a decent shelf life. This is a good place to talk about your pantry and pantry rotation. Once you've selected the items that a) you already know your family likes and b) keep well, merely buy a lot of extras of those things and start rotating food from the back of the pantry to the front as you use it.
For example, if you commonly keep half a dozen cans of tuna on hand just for daily use, maybe you plan to never let the inventory get below 24 cans. As you visit the grocery store and buy tuna, the new tuna goes to the back of the stack and the rest of the cans move forward. Ditto with your cereal, minute rice, pasta sauce, and canned beans.
Calories and Nutrition in Your Survival Food
Since we're talking about a two week time frame here it's not critical to stockpile items to ward off scurvy, rickets, or beriberi. If you're eating healthy now then your stockpile will contain healthy foods. If you're not then it won't. No harm done. You should be taking a good multi-vitamin every day anyhow.
Stockpiling carbs is easy and will happen without any extra effort on your part. The energy bars, minute rice, mac and cheese, crackers, chips, and cookies on your pantry shelves ensure that you'll have plenty of energy from sugar and starches.
Spend some time focusing on items with a decent amount of protein and fat. You will certainly notice the lack of these important building blocks after a day on nothing but crackers or rice. You'll get edgy and dizzy and have trouble thinking straight. This takes just a little more planning than an extra box of mac and cheese here and there, and this is where the canned meats and high fat items like peanut butter, protein bars, beef jerky, and nuts come in. Most guys and many families eat tons of peanut butter, jerky, and nuts anyway. Just add extras to the rotation.
Here at Survivalist HQ most of us do weight training at least a few times a week. Pretty much every day breakfast is a shake made with milk and protein powder. Since we already use protein powder it's easy to keep a few extra tubs in our rotation system. Milk adds even more protein, some healthy fat, and a little sugar. We also have a bit of powdered milk stockpiled and use it occasionally when we run out of fresh.
Don't forget about the immense value of the spices and sauces in your pantry. White rice is boring. White rice with a little canned chicken, some canned mixed vegetables, and some teriyaki sauce and hot sauce is pretty good. Contrary to popular myth, salt isn't bad for you at all unless you have hypertension. It's also a critical part of keeping your electrolytes up when doing hard work or sweating a lot. No one at Survivalist HQ worries about salt and we all have low blood pressure.
Our selection of 2-4 week survival food is designed to be cooked quickly and with minimum fuss. During trial runs, we use the same dual fuel stove that we use when we go camping. (An added bonus to this stove is that it can run off of unleaded gasoline when SHTF.)
Our practice "Bug In" meals are cooked in simple pots and eaten off of paper plates. The camp stoves with ample fuel are a great place to start, and these common propane camp stoves can run for quite a long time off of a standard full sized 20 lb propane tank with an adapter.
The Two to Four Week Survival Food List
For The Immediate Aftermath
- Dehydrated Camp Meals
- Peanut Butter
- Instant Coffee
- Canned Milk
- Powdered Milk
- Powdered drink mix such as Kool-Aid Tang or Gatorade (for sugars, electrolytes, and to make everyone feel better)
- Iced Tea Mix
- Hot Cocoa Mix
- Boullion Cubes for a little salt replacing pick-me-up, or to flavor rice dishes
Boxed and Bagged Food
- Minute Rice
- Angel Hair Pasta (cooks more quickly than spaghetti or linguine)
- Ramen Noodles (cheap and they cook very fast)
- Mac & Cheese
- Boxed Dried Potatoes
- Instant Oatmeal
- Raisins & Other Dried Fruit
Jarred & Canned Food
- Beans (we like black beans and kidney beans)
- Spam (Okay, we admit it. This stuff is delicious!)
- Beef Stew
- Coconut Oil (longest shelf life of any oils, and it's incredibly healthy)
- Jams & Jellies
- Spaghetti Sauce
- Wet Wipes (keep yourself clean)
- Antibacterial Wipes (keep the house clean)
- Toilet Paper
- Paper Plates (no running water, remember?)
- Plastic Cutlery
- Trash Bags
Other Important Items
- A 30 day supply of prescription medication and vitamins
- Water, a minimum of 1 gallon per day per person in your household. More is better.
- Pet food as appropriate
- A Camp Stove & Fuel
- Lighter & matches
Get Your Survival Food List in Order Soon
If you don't start stockpiling AT LEAST two weeks worth of food now you'll probably forget and get caught short later. We get it. Make a list, or print ours, and get started.