Eating is essential in everyday life, let alone a survival situation. To be well-prepared to sustain terrible conditions, you need to ensure proper nutrition and means of cooking it. You may also need a stove and some other tools to make your meals in the wilderness and fuel your body with energy. Don’t forget about the shelf life of some products while packing them in your survival bag, and consider taking canned food that will last longer. These and other insights are described in detail in our article. Read and be prepared for anything!
We all do remember that magnificent childhood time where we never had to stockpile food in advance, take care of the household, and prepare ourselves for the vicissitudes of life.
Just recall on the day where the whole family was having breakfast together when you spoon out the latest bit of peanut butter – the clinging sound of the spoon going against the glass of an empty jar. Your grandmother says to go into the pantry and get another one from a shelf with a few other full jars of peanut butter.
Even if you asked your relatives, “why do we have so much?” the answer would be as simple as “just in case.” And you just lived with this answer, considering the whole situation normal. Though you, just like me, probably did not care about stocking up your fridge and pantry when being a young adult. In fact, you might not even have it at that time in your life. But growing up takes its toll, and the closer I am to being middle-aged, the more I understand my relatives and their “just in case.” I suppose the same goes for you.
Now I fully get the people who witnessed the Great Depression and losses of World War II and the economic collapse in 1929, banks folding, and in general, lived under life-threatening conditions. With its lack of consumer goods, gasoline, and rationing of sugar, World War II forced people to sacrifice everything they had for the hope of winning the war. People got used to such a way of life and just continued further stockpiling of prepper food.
DIY Emergency Food
The nutritional value of emergency food is what you should pay extra heed to. All those fats, proteins, and carbohydrates are the things that keep fueling your body. They will give enough calories to support your vitals in the short term, but if we talk about longer periods of time, the body may also start lacking vitamins and minerals that also play a major role in its functions. To ensure this will not happen, we advise keeping a few multivitamin bottles for a daily intake just if your food supply does not satisfy the vitamin and mineral requirements. In this case, freeze-dried meals are of special attention since with them, there is no vitamin C deficiency on the horizon, and their shelf-life is quite attractive. DIY food recipes cover a lot of interesting points, making vinegar at home or making sugar at home is an easy task.
Foods like rice and dried beans are full of carbohydrates and protein. Such dry goods must exhibit an almost infinite shelf life provided storing in a dry place. All the products are prone to go bad due to the spreading of such microorganisms as mold, bacteria, and fungi. So make sure that you store your rice and dried beans inside mylar bags, at best with a vacuum Mylar bag’s ziplock. Mylar bags, by the way, allow achieving almost zero percent moisture. Following these rules will ensure that no moisture can spoil the rice you decided to keep as an emergency food supply. Basically, the natural preservation of your food supply depends not on the chemical nature of added preservatives but on how well their packaging keeps the moisture level as low as possible.
Moreover, dry food is almost ready to eat emergency food. With just a bit of boiling in water and a pinch of salt, your hungry stomach will be full in no time.
One of the well-known shelf-stable items is jarred peanut butter I mentioned before. Due to its packaging, it almost has no moisture preventing it from going bad in no time and, thus, putting its expiration day on hold. Moreover, peanut butter contains many fats and proteins essential for an item to be a good survival food option.
If you want to get a carbohydrate-dense food whose expiration date will never come, you should look up the recipe for hardtack and a Swedish biscuit meant to end up in emergency food supplies of any prepper.
You should also give a glance to dried meat that for sure will last a long time depending on the packaging and salt content. I would recommend to store beef, chicken breast, or turkey and leave the jerky aside since not only does it cost a fortune, but also it is not that calorie-dense as the other meats. If you ask what is, in my opinion, the best survival food, I will name the good old pemmican, dried meat with tallow with and an easy recipe. And I am also quite certain it has a year shelf life, or even more, depending on the storage conditions.
For sure, foods like meat and fish can be preserved in different ways: drying, smoking, and salt-curing… and it basically has no impact on the storage conditions. Just keep it dry and cool. Whereas if we are talking about canned fruits, then here you may face a problem. Many fruits are acidic foods, meaning that the cans are prone to corrosion even from the inside of plastic coating due to their acidity. If this what happened to you, the fruits are fine but with a rusty after-taste, and in case of starvation, you will not even notice this metallic taste.
Remember that food storage conditions are the key to your emergency food supplies’ prolonged or a year shelf life. Try to keep such foods in cool and dry places, since if you add water, the whole food supply will go bad.
At this point, your mind might have already been crossed by the thought of other supplies you may add to your list for emergency preparedness except for food. I would only mention a few things, such as a first aid kit that includes prescription pills, cold medicines, and antibiotics in case of infections, stainless steel survival knives, tools, waterproof matches, and ammo steel. Even if you are a newbie to survival, you may already have these items in your preppers or medical survival kits.
Yes, you might say that now we live in peaceful times where we can drop into the local grocery store for the thing we need at the exact moment, or we do not have to have our car’s tank always on full since we can get gasoline anywhere. Providing electricity and gas are also the things that we depute to the utility companies. These are the assumptions we live on in modern times with complete reliance on others, whereas, in fact, everyone should stand on their own two feet. We believe that with money, the goods and services just come in a flash. We take as gospel truth that the ATM is always somewhere behind the corner or a PayPass on your mobile phone, same as the value stability of the money we withdraw. The assumptions that could cost you more than just the green papers.
While September 11th shattered the New Yorkers and the essentials workers, the people were brought up together and fought for the common good. Some companies used it as a chance to capitalize on people’s fears by price gouging. Luckily it was just on gasoline. But what if a life-threatening situation followed the next day again? Would we have price gouging spreading to other essential goods in life, like food or consumer goods? And what if the banks’ security systems were suddenly under attack? How would we survive with all ATMs being out of order?
Well, now you are probably thinking something like, “Hey, this could not happen” or “we will act as civilized creatures.” But give me a chance to provide an unsettling example.
According to a 2019 study, around 78% of workers live paycheck to paycheck. Just imagine that one day one of such man comes into the grocery store with just a five-dollar bill and we sees that the more food disappears from the shelves, the higher the price. For sure, he would smack the money on the counter, fill up his cart with whatever he can reach his hands to, and run away from the store setting the chain reaction off… Mass looting empties the store that the owner is not going to restock…
Learn From History
Our ancestors had to provide for themselves; there was no government to promise them safety, protection, and prosperity. Their axes chopped wood, horses drove the wagons filled with food and containers for water storage, rifles helped them hunt and protect themselves. Let’s learn from our ancestors and bring some of the pioneer spirits over in our times.
What I mean is that we should not pass the buck for our safety to the government or utility companies. When the crisis is at the door, humans rarely keep their heads cold and act as unruly animals destroying everything around them worse than a bomb. Being a prepared citizen is a serious matter that can help you avoiding life-threatening situations or diminishing their effect on your mental and physical state.
There will always be power shortages, hurricanes and other disasters, armed assaults… so get the early-bird chance to be ready for anything there is to come and ensure your family s safety. And I am sure that a few extra jam jars or an EDC flashlight would do just fine as the first brick in your food plan.
New Orleans… the city that vanished in no time and took power, food, and hopes with its disappearance. The City Officials learned the hard way that words on paper mean nothing to the people who want to eat, see their way in the darkness, and have drinkable water. The emergency plan is no doubts a good thing to have for a city though as a person, you would be a fool just relying on some faceless power that would save you right away in time of disaster. The laws and public institutions are meant to bind the nation together, although when the disaster comes, no power, food, and freshwater are left, then self-reliance comes in handy.
Best Preppers Food for Stockpiling
So since you are reading further, I guess you have made a very rational decision of maintaining a food stockpile. There are a few questions that you have to answer before settling on a specific food plan:
- What food do preppers usually stock?
- Do I need some other supplies?
- What size should my stockpile be not to run out in a few hours in an emergency?
- Should it occupy half of my basement, or a few shelves are enough?
- Should it be healthy food that requires constant rotation?
Yeah, I know, a lot of tough questions, especially for a newbie at food prepping.
Food Planning Guide
Our day-to-day life runs on technology: we drive cars on gasoline or electricity, we use an immense amount of electrical power, in general, to keep our gadgets up and running. And when these technologies do not work or work inconsistently, then many problems arise, starting with angriness and yelling at other people and ending up with a power plant station’s power shortage.
We expect Big Brother to do everything for us when the emergency comes in. The utility companies should keep everything in order, and if something happens, the City officials have to notify us. The State should immediately react to the issue and send the rescue parties, firefighters, and medical workers for help.
Probably the first issue you will encounter on your way to having a proper food emergency plan is the shelf life of your stockpile. Some might argue that a month of food supply or even a week is enough. We recommend you to opt for long term food storage. A year’s food supply is definitely the best thing to have in case of an apocalyptic event (i.e., TEOTWAWKI). Whatever keeps you asleep at night since nowadays a good night’s sleep is a rare bird to catch.
According to the 2012 poll of U.S. adults, 53% of U.S. families do not have a minimum supply of nonperishable food and water at home for a mere three days. That’s devastating news.
Below is a summary of some of the striking findings from our 2012 poll of U.S. adults:
- 44 percent don’t have first-aid kits
- 48 percent lack emergency supplies
- 53 percent do not have a minimum three-day supply of nonperishable food and water’ at home
- 55 percent believe local authorities will come to their rescue if disaster strikes
- 52 percent have not designated a family meeting place if they are separated during an emergency
- 42 percent do not know the phone numbers of all of their immediate family members
- 21 percent don’t know if their workplace has an emergency preparedness plan
- 37 percent do not have a list of the drugs they are taking
- 52 percent do not have copies of health insurance documents
This is what the 21st century has brought on a plate for us in America: overfilled grocery stores and pantries and underground cellars the emptiest they have ever been.
Certainly, most disasters will require just a few weeks of food supply to ensure your family s survival. But when it comes to some political actions, like a military coup, revolution, or even war, a good idea may be to stockpile food for about half a year. If you think that society is prone to collapse when faced with such difficulties, then the best option is to get a year or longer food supply. But remember that humans are social. They will form some society again… And if you are worried your long stockpile is just too big, these people will make sure you have just enough.
Our recommendation is to have a stockpile of prepper food sufficient to keep your family alive for about six months. And to help you with the food choice, we will look into these questions:
- What prepper should food items be in your pantry?
- What is the shelf life of such food?
- Are there any nutritional requirements?
Freeze-dried prepper food
The first option I would like to mention is freeze-dried foods. I like them since companies usually prepackaged them, so there is no need to think about the number of nutrients I intake. Look out for reputable food companies of such freeze-dried foods. Your steps are the following: you figure out the number of foods that suit you, order the Valley products online and store it in an appropriate place, cold and possibly spacious. You can get a food supply for a year or purchase in chunks over time until you obtain the required minimum.
In my opinion, freeze-dried foods belong to a food survival emergency kit that has to be present in your food storage plan to ensure your excellent night’s sleep. If you are an MRE meals fan, you can stockpile them, though. Personally, I would not choose it. Another way is to purchase a home freeze dryer and prepare your own meals.
Rules for stockpiling
The first rule of stockpiling is you do not talk about stockpiling. You put your family’s security at risk in times of trouble since people outside your family might use your Christianity against you.
Sure we have to help the community and others, but we will also have to accept the dire consequences in this case.
The first rule is also the only rule of stockpiling since your emergency food supply is only safe when no one knows about it.
Food Storage Plan
Your food storage plan starts here and will lead you to self-sufficiency even when disaster preparedness was not considered important, and food kits were frowned upon.
So, here is a quick guide to your food storage plan. Remember that getting with the right shelf-stable foods is a process of trial and error. Long term food storage never comes easy.
Step 1: set the time for how long your emergency food supply should last.
This is a choice you have to make on your own, but I am sure you would agree that the modern world is quite unstable and fragile. Literally, anything can put an end to it, like global financial meltdown, EMP (natural or coordinated), governmental issues, or natural disasters. No one can predict when a calamity arises, but the odds of experiencing at least one of them during your life are quite high. If that does not motivate you enough to get ready for anything, there is to come right away, and I do not know what would. Read our guide on how to use beacon grease to save up a bit.
Step 2: set a daily calorie survival threshold
For this, you will need a family food planning guide. But the average amount of calories any adult needs in their food rations is around 1,500-2,000 calories per day. The best source of calories is junk food, you may think, though it does not have even slightly the same nutritional value as even the simplest food kits have.
I will not mention the exact food products such as coconut milk, three bottles of olive oil, or a pack of powdered milk stored, of course, in mylar bags. Just be sure to include into your food emergency kit such foods as freeze-dried meals, canned goods (tomato sauce, green beans), dried meat, dried fruits (they are full of vitamin C), drink mixes, whey, a pack of white rice, and a 5 kg pack of brown sugar. Remember also to store water; 5-gallon bottles should be enough for a week. Check if you have a vegetarian in your family, they might need additional food supplies to restore their protein values.
Step 3: Order food at trustworthy food companies
One of my absolute favorite food companies that provide survival food is Valley Food Storage. You can look up my Valley Food Storage review for more details on their shipping policy, high quality, easily stackable food bucket containers and sealing methods, as well as the food range and quality itself. For comparison with other companies, you may check this chart and decide for yourself on pricing, quality, and long term storage possibilities these companies provide.
Still not sure if you are well-equipped for online shopping at Valley Food Storage? Then check this video of a guy ordering from them:
I would name stockpiling as a part of a disaster preparedness process the best endowment into your family s well-being. If the world goes down overnight, only survival gear kits and emergency food supplies can help you survive. So, get a domestic freeze dryer to get your own freeze-dried foods as long term food storage supplies. And no starvation is looming over you!
Step 4: Keep your mouth shut while your food supplies are stored
Remember to keep all your emergency food items in a cool, dry place to ensure long term storage. You can actually even throw a few oxygen absorbers in between food supplies. It will make them even more shelf-stable.
And be silent about your emergency food supplies. People are animals when it comes to survival. Even a vegetarian might have a bite of meat and pretend it be vegetable protein.
Let’s talk about money
I am certain that emergency food supplies are the best investment you will ever make. It aligns perfectly with all other survival kits you might have. Even if there never comes a time where you would need to spend a week on dried fruits, brown rice, and canned foods, you still lose nothing. Survival deals only with your family s well-being. And when it is alive and well, then the mission has been achieved.
Whereas with money, what can you lose? Just the dollar. Yes, it will be painful, but at least you will be alive. No money can buy you safety and save you from starvation when all the markets are down in survival circumstances.
Well, do not nib your food storage in a bud since it might pay off. No one ever knows. But if you start today, imagine the relief you will have in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ
What is the best survival food with a long shelf life?
For sure long-term storage is one of the first things we should strive for when choosing foods. Any dry foods will go just fine: dried fruit and meat, canned foods, freeze-dried meals, wheat berries, and textured vegetables. You can prolong the shelf life of your food items by placing oxygen absorbers in the storing location.
What is the best food for prepping?
Food storage is an art where you have to balance calories, space uptake, and storing conditions. In this case, freeze-dried meals might be the best solution since they come prepackaged, divided into meals with enough calories to live on.
What is the best survival food?
The best survival food is rich in main nutrients such as fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Also, it has some mineral and vitamin thresholds available as in foods themselves or as additional multivitamin supply. It may also be wise for a vegetarian to add textured vegetables as a protein and fiber source for proper body functioning.
What should be in a prepper pantry?
Food preppers choose what they should store as food supplies, be it freeze-dried meals or dried meat. Remember that these foods have to be calorie-dense and have a long shelf-life. And do not forget to store enough water.