Having the right food, medical and other important supplies is crucial for survival in apocalyptic scenarios as well as other emergencies such as flooding, blizzards, earthquakes and other pandemics.
Stockpiling food can mean the difference between having to stand in line for essential items, and having the resources to take care of your family until the emergency blows over or you make it to a safe place in the case of total societal collapse. Even if total collapse may be years away, it pays to have a stockpile at hand well in advance to avoid having to scramble for scarce food supplies when manufacturing and the food supply chain shut down.
Minor emergencies such as winter storms have demonstrated just how easy it is for common food items to run out as evidenced by the empty shelves occasioned by panic runs on supermarkets and grocery stores. Statistics show that the average grocery store has only three to four days worth of food and should an emergency draw out for longer than this; many families will be in dire straits indeed. If you want to ensure that you and your family make it through emergencies and total collapse, you need to have adequate food and water to tide you over until things improve.
How to Get Started Stockpiling Food
Different emergency situations call for different prepping methods. However, the following rules apply across the board with regard to building a sizable food stockpile to ensure survival.
Determine your household’s food needs
Before you can begin listing the types of food you need to stock up on, find out what each individual member of your family’s calorific needs are and multiply this by the number of people in the family. Take into consideration individuals’ tastes, any special dietary requirements and the amount of time you will have to live off your emergency supply. This should give you a good idea of the amount of food you need to stockpile.
No one wants to be seen lugging out hundreds of gallons of water or hundreds of cans of beans from the grocery store. In addition, not everyone has the resources to purchase a year’s supply of food all at once. However, it is entirely possible to purchase a week or month’s supply and slowly build your stock up over several months.
Pick the right foods
Your stockpile should contain all the major food groups with an emphasis on high-quality protein, whole grains, healthy fats and supplements of essential foods that cannot be stored in their original state without spoiling. Ensure to select the right types and amounts of food for all your nutritional needs. Pick food items that are well packaged, in tightly sealed containers and concentrate on non-perishable items with a long shelf life.
Avoid foods that are high in salt, sugar, and preservatives. Add some extras to help ease the austerity of survival and make it feel less like a punishment. Items like coffee, chocolate, fruit juices, and spices will help to tide you over the hard times without feeling too deprived. Stock up on water for drinking and cooking purposes. Keep it in tightly sealed containers to avoid contamination.
The right storage
Locate or construct proper storage with the right temperature, lighting and humidity conditions. This storage can be an underground cellar in your home or offsite location that is safe and easily accessible in emergency situations. Secure your storage from vandals, thieves and wild animals where applicable. Learn how to seal food using mylar bags, 5-gallon buckets, oxygen absorbers, and food sealers to get the most life from your stored food.
Check on your stockpile consistently and take out any spoiled items as well as those that may have expired. Check for water and vermin damage.
Change or add to the items in your stockpile to reflect the changes in your household e.g. the addition of a family member, any new health conditions or a change in food preference.
Once you have taken these considerations into account, you can now begin to build up your stockpile with the right foods for your family. Below are the best food items to stockpile for both the health and survival of your family in emergency situations:
1. Whole grains: whole grains like wheat, spelt, rye and others are a great option for providing energy and the fiber needed for digestive health. If you have a flour mill, you can even make your own tasty and healthy bread from scratch.
2. Canned oily fish: oily fish like salmon and tuna are high in omega 3 fatty acids which are known to reduce inflammation in the body and lower your chances for stroke and heart disease.
3. Dried pulses: Beans, chickpeas, lentils, split peas, and others are high in protein, vitamins, minerals and healthy fiber. They are very easy to store and can last for years under the right conditions.
4. Bulk Nuts: Nuts are high in healthy fats and contain protein. They have the advantage of being sold in bulk at various warehouse clubs and discount stores and are thus an affordable item to have in any stockpile.
5. Jerky: Jerky from beef and poultry will provide you with a tasty protein option. Make sure you buy them from a store that produces them naturally and sells them in bulk.
6. Coffee: while not strictly an essential item, coffee can provide the occasional treat during emergencies and keep you from feeling too rundown by the events going on around you.
7. Dried fruits: Apricots, raisins, cranberries, and other dried fruits will provide you with much-needed vitamins and minerals in the absence of fresh fruits.
8. Canned soups: Soups make a great addition to many dishes providing both flavor and texture. Go for low sodium options made with actual vegetables and real ingredients.
9. Breakfast cereal: Cereal will provide additional alternatives to breakfast and keep temper tantrums at bay. Choose low sugar and sodium options with as little preservatives as possible.
10. Powdered milk: Powdered milk is great for that emergency cup of tea or coffee, for addition to stews and in the provision of calcium necessary for strong bones and teeth.
11. Cured meats: cured meats have been dried; smoked or treated with brine to make them last longer. They are valuable sources of protein and can be eaten on their own or added to soups and stews.
12. Cheese: Cheese is another great high protein and calcium option that will serve you for a long time without going bad.
13. Nut and fruit trail mixes: vacuum packed trail mix makes a great snack that does not spoil easily due to proper packaging methods.
14. Spices and herbs: these items are great for livening up a bland meal with individual spices like turmeric and ginger-containing numerous health benefits.
15. Dry bullion powder: Bullion powder is great for adding taste to flat meals and is ideal for soups, stews, and casseroles.
16. Sugar: while sugar receives a bad rap for causing weight gain and diabetes, it is useful for canning purposes and in the making of jellies. As long as it is consumed in moderation, you are unlikely to experience the harmful effects associated with it.
17. Coconut, canola and olive oil: These healthy oils will come in handy in cooking, the preparation of salads and even in the treatment of minor infections in both humans and animals.
18. Sea salt: in addition to seasoning food and preserving meats, sea salt contains the iodine necessary to prevent diseases like goiter.
19. Distilled and Seltzer water: Purified water is crucial to your survival especially if water sources become contaminated during an emergency. Seltzer water is great if you want a break from still water and also helps to calm upset stomachs and improve digestion.
20. Pasta: Different types of pasta will provide you with versatile options to whip up several meals. Due to its low moisture content, pasta has a very long shelf life and is an inexpensive food to stockpile.
21. Jam and jellies: include a variety of fruit jellies and jams to spread on your homemade whole-wheat bread and enjoy an unmatched treat.
22. Canned vegetables: canned vegetables will provide you with all the nourishment you need in the absence of fresh ones. Concentrate on high nutrient options like sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and olives and skip GMO option like corn.
23. Honey: not only is honey great for flavoring beverages, for use in baking and in sweetening breakfast cereals, but it is also a great antibiotic and topical treatment for minor cuts, burns, and bruises.
24. Condiments: mustards, relishes, and sauces are great for spicing up foods during emergency times.
25. Chocolate: chocolate makes a tasty addition to your stockpile and has additional health benefits such as fighting UTI’s, lifting your mood and boosting your heart health.
26. Apple cider vinegar: ACV is a key ingredient in homemade salad dressings and has numerous health benefits to boot.
27. Leavening agents: No stockpile is complete without the addition of baking powders and other rising agents necessary for making bread and other baked goods.
28. Protein powders: Whey, egg and other protein powders are great for addition to smoothies and boosting your protein intake when other options are limited.
29. Dried corn: corn is a wonderful staple that can be ground into cornmeal for making tortillas, popped to make popcorn and even used as a seed to plant fresh corn for consumption.
30. Ready to eat dried meals: Add water or milk pre-cooked meals offer a healthy alternative when you lack the ingredients or energy to make meals from scratch.
31. Rice: Like pasta, rice is an inexpensive and long-lasting food that makes a great accompaniment to stews, casseroles and vegetable dishes.
32. Canned fruits: in the absence of fresh fruit, canned options will suffice nicely, and provide you with hydration in the form of sweet and tangy liquids.
33. Supplements: Vitamins, minerals, soft-gels, and other supplements will provide you with concentrated nutrition when you do not have access to food sources of nutrition.
34. Spaghetti sauce: canned spaghetti sauce provides a great alternative when the fresh ingredients required to make it from scratch are unavailable.
35. Infant formula and canned baby food: any family with toddlers and young children will do well to stock these items to safeguard the health of the younger members of the family.
In an emergency, food items are among the first to disappear or go into shortage. By taking a few precautions and ensuring you have essential food items stockpiled, you can take care of yourself and your family until the particular emergency or other adverse situation blows over.