Most of us have heard that the average American has less than 3 days worth of food at home. That means we’re only 72 hours away from a food riot should supply lines be disrupted. Even if you don’t have the money on hand to invest in food storage, there are certain foods you should always keep on hand to form the basis of your survival meals.
1. Baby Formula
Really? Even if you don’t have babies? Yes!
Baby formula is designed to be everything a body needs to survive. Infants live exclusively on formula. No water. No solid food. Nothing else.
Powdered infant formula tastes a whole lot better than powdered milk, and it’s better for you. Dried and sealed, infant formula lasts for years.
Beyond that, if you’re planning to survive for the long haul, you never know when there may be an infant that needs tending. While breastfeeding is an obvious solution, there are many reasons why that might not be possible.
If you’re storing formula powder, make sure you use clean or sterilized water to reconstitute it.
If you’re adamantly against baby formula for whatever reason, consider protein powder. It wont help you feed infants, but it’s nearly as versatile when it comes to feeding adults and older children.
2. White Flour
White flour lasts for a year, and has a surprising amount of protein. While historically, people living on a mostly white flour diet had trouble with nutritional deficiencies, modern flour has vitamins and minerals added to it.
Related: How to Make Acorn Flour
With a little know how, all you need is white flour, water and salt to make good bread using wild yeast.
3. Coconut Oil
Along with white flour, a ready source of fat will go a long way to boost moods and fill stomachs. Coconut oil has a long shelf life, and manufacturers say it should be good as the day it was bought for 2 years. Practically speaking, it’s good much longer than that, and you likely wont notice a difference if you’re eating 5 year old coconut oil that’s been properly stored.
Unlike many other types of oil, coconut oil has the added benefit that it’s tasty even if you don’t have facilities for cooking. Mash in a bit of sugar and coco powder and you’ve got yourself coconut oil truffles for comfort food and a ready source of energy, no cooking required.
Salt is often touted as a survival food, but in reality you don’t actually need to eat much salt to survive. Very small amounts will keep you healthy, and you’ll need to learn to adjust from our modern salt heavy diet.
The real reason to keep salt is for food preservation. If you happen to be lucky enough to acquire fresh meat, salt is the only thing you need to keep it from spoiling. Charcuterie is the art of preserving every part of the animal with little more than salt and technique, and transforming it into something spectacular in the process.
Before you find yourself in a survival situation, learning the basics of preserving meat without refrigeration could mean the difference between surviving and thriving.
In a pinch, cover the meat in salt. A lot of salt. Cover it completely and keep it covered. It may not quite be the same as prosciutto, but it wont spoil.
5. Home-Canned Fruits, Vegetables & Meats
You’ll notice I say “home canned” rather than purchased. Why?
Beyond that, if you canned them yourself you also have the knowledge to do it again. Store bought canned food will get you through the short term emergency, but the knowledge and equipment to refill those jars will carry you through the long haul.
If you’re going to spend money buying food, my personal preference would be dried fruit and meat. Dried fruits and meats are light and portable, and keeping a store of water and dried fruits is much more versatile than a store of canned foods.
Beyond that, in a cold climate, canned foods may freeze and blow their seals unless keeping the storage room climate controlled. I’d rather focus on keeping my family warm than having to worry about keeping the food at a good temperature at the same time.
Canned food is handy in many situations, because it’s instant. You can open up a can and eat it as is with no preparation. That convenience alone is worth keeping canned food around. But for the best use of my dollar, if I’m going to store canned food, it’s canned food that I’ve put up myself at little cost. Also, here are 14 must-have canned foods you didn’t know existed.
6. Dried Fruits and Meat
As I’ve said, dried fruits and meats are versatile. They can be eaten out of hand or boiled along with other foods into a stew if you have cooking facilities. They’re light and travel well in an emergency.
Dried fruits in particular will help keep your digestive system healthy in a crisis. If your diet is otherwise nothing more than white flour and emergency survival foods, having raisins or prunes around to keep things moving along will make everyone a lot happier and healthier.
7. Peanut Butter
Not only is peanut butter a comfort food, it’s also full of protein and healthy fats that will keep you satisfied long after a meal. It can be eaten right out of the container for a quick energy boost, and fully sealed containers last for years on the shelf.
Nutritional deficiency can destroy your health. In lean times, our ancestors had to contend with not only feeding themselves, but ensuring a balanced enough diet to prevent debilitating deficiencies.
A single cheap bottle of multi-vitamins can balance out nutritional gaps, and allow you to focus on calories rather than vitamin content. Most vitamin brands have way more than the recommended daily amount of most key vitamins, so even a single vitamin per week per person can mean a dramatic improvement to their health.
There are a lot of shelf stable snack foods. Why go with granola?
It’s high calorie, with roughly 700 calories per cup, and at the same time it’s nutritionally balanced. The mix of whole grains, nuts and sugars mean that granola is a complete meal that you can eat while on the move.
Granola also has a long shelf life, and it’s light and portable.
10. Dry Beans & Rice
I’m calling this a single item, because you should always keep both beans AND rice. Together they form a complete protein and the contents of a 5 gallon food storage bucket can feed you for a month for about $20. Assuming you have the fuel to cook, there’s no better way to store calories and nutrition than a balance of beans and rice.
With a grocery store just around the corner, sugar is cheap and readily available. For now. In an emergency, sugar is a excellent source of energy and it’ll be scarce without global trade.
Sugar can also be used in food preservation, which will expand your foraging options.
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