So you have made the decision to start preparing your food supply in case of emergency. Congratulations! This is certainly an important step. Although it may seem overwhelming, it is actually surprisingly simple.
For me, it depends upon what type of event you are planning for. Are you more concerned about local events, or more global events. Obviously, the more you have reserved, the longer you can survive. So step
one is to decide if you need a few days worth, a few weeks worth, or enough to last a few months.
Whatever you decide is right for you, at a minimum, I would recommend at least a 3-day supply of food and water.
Begin with the non-perishable foods and foods with longer shelf lives. Also, you will want to focus on foods that are higher in calories and carbohydrates for energy. Depending on the “event” you will need a lot of energy.
Another thing to consider is storing some spices. Just because you are in survival mode doesn’t mean your food can’t taste good!
While it is a good idea and best practice to begin storing food slowly, what I found is that one of the quickest ways for beginners to start prepping is by starting with pre-packaged meals. By purchasing a 3-6 month supply of food right off the bat, you can gain a little piece of mind very quickly and with very little money. From there you can start building out your food supply.
What to Store
- Protein bars and protein drinks
- Canned or dehydrated meats (Tuna, Beef Jerky, etc.)
- Lard and Coconut Oil
- Cereals high in carbs such as shredded wheat, Cheerios, Grape Nuts
- Instant Oat Meal
- White rice
- Any kind of Pasta
- Canned Vegetables
- Canned Fruits
- Waxed Cheese (can last up to 25 years)
- Mixed Nuts
- Honey (Lasts forever, high in sugar and can be used as an antibiotic)
- MRE (My personal preference…Pre-packaged Meals Ready to Eat)
- Long shelf life
- Easy to store
- Tastes pretty darn good
- Freeze Dried Food (Expensive, but saves time and extremely long shelf life)
- Don’t forget about your pets
Meals Ready to Eat (MRE)
As I mentioned above, the MRE or pre-packaged food is my personal preference in prepping for beginners. Because there are so many options with dry or canned foods, to be honest, I kind of took the easy way out when I first started.
I felt guilty about not having anything at all for my family and, I wanted to fix that immediately. I wanted to feel a little sense of relief and accomplishment quickly. So, I hopped online and started doing some research. I read about all the different options and read the reviews on taste, etc.
Surprisingly, I found that I was able to get samples from many different suppliers before making my decision and landing on what I thought was the absolute best tasting option out there. So, I’ve kind of already done the work for you.
Remember, it is important to try and keep as much of a sense of normalcy as possible. You want to try to eat the foods that you normally eat and that you already know how to prepare. A lot sites out there talk about storing buckets of rice, beans, flower, etc., but unless you know how to use those items to make food that you will want to eat, they are useless to you.
Like I said, you want to maintain as much of a sense of normalcy as possible in order to maintain your composure and your sanity. Things are already going to be difficult and stressful enough without you trying to figure out how turn all of the dry food you have into a meal.
What’s in the Box?
First of all, don’t get turned off by the plain brown box. There are other options out there with pretty, colorful boxes with all kinds of pictures all over them. I can tell you…just because the box is pretty doesn’t mean the food tastes any better. Ultimately, once you open the box, the meals are in an individually prepared plastic kit anyway.
Depending upon which brand you choose, the options inside the box could vary greatly. For me, I prefer Sure-Pak. These meals come from one of the same companies that supply our US Military with MREs in the field of battle.
With Sure-Pak, each case comes with 12 individually packaged meal “kits.” There are usually six different meal types or “menus” and there are two of each per case. Each package will consist of an entree, side dish, dessert of some kind, crackers or bread, a powdered drink and a package with a napkin, wet napkin, spoon, salt/pepper, coffee, cream and sugar.
What’s on the Menu?
The menus can vary depending on what box is shipped (I have never seen the option to choose), and each meal contains between 900 and 1,25o calories. Here are some of the menu options:
- Cheese Tortellini
- Meatloaf with Gravy
- Sloppy Joes
- Vegetable Lasagna
- Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
- Chicken with Noodles
- Chili Macaroni
- Cheese Omelet with Vegetables
- Beef Ravioli
- Beef Stew
- Grilled Chicken Breast
- Penne Pasta with Veggie Sausage Crumbles
Yeah, But How Does It Taste?
Well, I would be lying to you if I told you that they taste like a home cooked meal like Mom used to make, but overall they are actually not bad! Like anything, I like some of the items more than others.
Remember, this is about survival and subsisting. You will be eating for fuel, not for taste. Having said that though, you will get both fuel and taste. You won’t hate them!
I prefer the package that comes with a heater, because I prefer my food hot. The heater works extremely well, but keep in mind that the meals are fully cooked so you can eat them straight out of the package….that’s just not my preference.
How Many Do I Need?
Each case comes with 12 meal kits. At a recommended 2 servings per day, a case will last one person for up to 6 days. The number of people in your family or household, and the length or type of event you are preparing for will determine how many cases you will need.
For a family of 4 seeking the minimum 72 hour survival duration, that would equal 8 meals per day times 3 days, so 24 meals. Given that there are 12 meals per case, I would recommend at least two cases.
The price works out to about $8.50 per meal, so the cost is extremely reasonable given the shelf life of the product being around 5 years.
By no means to I intend to tell you that MREs or pre-packaged foods are the only way to go. I am advocating that you start with these and then build out your own supply of other items that were discussed above. If you already have canned foods and the like, then consider supplementing your supply with some MREs. They are quick, easy and relatively inexpensive.
What are your thoughts? What are some of the food items you would recommend to this community or people who are just beginning to prepare?
Please leave a comment, question, feedback, or any of your best practices.
Thanks for reading!