Preppers Guide to Stockpiling Food
What You’ll Need when stockpiling food, How Much You Should Store, and How You’ll Afford It. One of the first things that people think of when they hear the word “prepping” is a massive stockpile of food storage. TV shows that highlight “doomsday” preppers and even extreme couponers have really brought this aspect of our way of life to the forefront, but if you think about it, stockpiling food, especially non-perishable food, is ages-old common sense and good practice. It goes back to the discussion that we had in our article introducing prepping.
If you’re like most people, you probably have a week or so of everyday eating in your fridge and cabinets before you’d have to start getting creative for meal time. Remember that if you don’t have alternate ways of cooling, you’ll probably lose most of your meat after 3 days or so but you’ll still have protein sources such as peanut butter, canned meats and legumes. But what if something happens and you’re out of power for more than that week?
You don’t necessarily have to be thinking about doomsday-type incidents here. When natural disasters such as hurricanes, blizzards, and other foreseeable events are about to happen, people react with fear by rushing out to the stores and stripping the shelves of non-perishable foods, generators, wood, and anything else that they may think that they need. Even if the disaster doesn’t come to pass, there’s still not going to be any food for a few days until the stores can get fresh shipments after the storm clears.
If you’re already stocked, you can just skip all that rushing around nonsense and concentrate on last-minute duties such as getting your house and family ready for whatever’s coming.
Stockpiling Food – How Much Food Will You Need?
For the sake of this discussion, we’re only going to discuss stockpiling food you need on a daily basis to survive. The length of time that you’d like to store it for is entirely up to you and you can base that list off of your daily needs. However, as a rule to stockpiling food, you will want to have, at the minimum, a three day supply for each person in your household.
You want to pre-plan their calorie intake to be around 2000 calories per day. This is extremely important because during disaster situations you and your family will most likely be burning more calories than usual. Fortunately it’s easy math. Three people multiplied by 2000 calories is 6000 calories per day. Multiply that by the amount of days that you want your preps to last. Remember, when stockpiling food, who will eat what. If you are in a short term disaster situation with canned food that nobody likes, this will add misery to the disaster.
Stockpiling Food – Macro-nutrients
Your body needs proper percentages of the 3 primary macro-nutrients: fat, carbs and protein in order to function properly. According to the USDA, the correct range is as follows:
- Protein – 5-20% for babies and toddlers, 10-30% for kids and teenagers, 10-35% for adults
- Carbs – 45-65% for everyone
- Fat – 30-40% for babies and toddlers, 25-35% for kids and teenagers, 20-35% for adults
Remember that not all macro-nutrients are created equally. For example, fat sources such as olive oil, tuna and coconut oil provide necessary omega 3’s and 6’s and mono-unsaturated fats, while foods that are packed with saturated fats are, in general, extremely nutrient-poor. Skip the chips and grab some canned salmon instead.
Stockpiling Food – Calories
Determining caloric needs is tough because how many calories you need depends upon your age, body type, and level of activity. External factors such as temperature also affect how many calories you need but a good rule of thumb is to shoot for at least 1200 calories per day for adults. 1500-2000 is closer to ideal but you won’t starve to death at 1200 as long as you’re getting the nutrients that you need.
That brings me to my final point for today: Stockpiling food that is dense in nutrients and low in garbage is your best bet. You only have so much space and 50 cans of tuna will serve you much better than 5 bags of chips, which take up about the same amount of space. When shopping, think need not want. If you absolutely can’t resist stocking sweets or munchies, go for dark chocolate bars, protein bars, or nuts. These are great sources of nutrients and they’re portable, too.
How Do You Build a Stockpile?
This is the part that intimidates most people; getting started. Relax though; you don’t need to rush out right now and buy that 50 cans of tuna unless you want to. And just so you know, 50 cans of tuna is a lot even by my standards if you’re only prepping for yourself. Be realistic and buy a variety of foods that are both enjoyable and nutritious.
Stockpiling Food – Plan
Based upon the nutritional information above, plan meals. The way that I did it was to plan 3 meals per day at 500-700 calories each.
Shop Normally but Buy Extra
When you go grocery shopping, buy double what you normally would of some of your non-perishables. If you’re buying 2 cans of baked beans, buy 4. Your stockpile will build quickly when you do this, plus you’ll have extra beans around if you decide that you want to barbecue or something.
Oh goodness, did I just suggest eating something from the stockpile? Yes, I sure did. As a matter of fact, this is the best way to ensure that your food doesn’t pass its expiration date. Rotate your stock by using it. Always put the newest stuff in the back and pull what you use from the front. Trust me; your pile will still build as long as you keep buying a little extra each time. Do what you can afford and only buy food that your family eats.
Use Coupons and Sales to Build Your Stockpile
We’re huge fans of coupons and Buy-One-Get-One sales in my house. We’re not quite as good as the extreme couponers that you see on TV but we generally manage to save at least half of our typical bill by using coupons and taking advantage of sales for both our daily needs and stockpiling food. After we got the hang of it, our stockpile went from about a week to more than 90 days per person of food stored, which is enough to feed the 3 of us for 30 days. For more information on budget prepping, see our tutorial here.
Beware of Food Fatigue When Shopping
Food fatigue is a real occurrence that happens when you’re forced to eat the same food or an extremely limited range of foods day in and day out. Even though there may be an entire pantry full of this food, you’ll stop eating it and starve to death. Rice is a great example. When stockpiling food, people tend to store rice because it keeps well and is cheap but there are 2 fundamental things wrong with this concept.
It has limited nutritional value and you’re not getting what you need to survive if you’re only eating one type of food.
You’re going to get so sick of it that you physically won’t be able to eat it.
To avoid foot fatigue, stock a wide range of foods that meet all of your nutritional needs without literally boring you to death.
Now that you know a bit about what you’re going to need in terms of nutrition and quantity, check out our article about the different types of commercially preserved foods in our article, The Advantages of Freeze Dried Survival Food.
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