33 Essential Foods to Stock Pile

Pat Bellew
By Pat Bellew March 21, 2016 14:16

33 Essential Foods to Stock Pile

There are many schools of thought on what should be stock piled in the event of a disaster or prolonged period of social disruption or societal collapse. It is hard to say with complete authority what “The best” foods are. This will depend on a number of factors, such as storage space, number of people to be fed, availability of water for preparation, availability of a means to cook foods or heat water, and the list goes on. There are however some standards that can guide pretty much anyone in the right direction. Just be certain that whatever you store, it provides enough calories, a dietary proper balance, vitamins, minerals, and fats. Remember, a crisis has a way of creating situations that will increase your caloric requirements, and that will tax your immune system and electrolyte balance.

When I am going through a grocery store gathering survival food, I get some strange looks from people close enough to hear me muttering under my breath as I discount items. Phrases like “not enough calories”, “needs more fat”, not enough carbs”, and the like roll off my tongue frequently. The truth of the matter is that what we consider to be a healthy diet in normal times is probably inadequate in a high stress, very active, crisis situation. There is a reason we like carbs, and fats, and sugars, and that reason is our body needs these things. The human palate developed in times when being physically active and dealing with life threatening events was the norm, and when a steady supply of food was not a guarantee. Hence the urge to get all we can when we can, which leads to rampant obesity in modern sedentary times but is adaptive to survival in harder times.

So, here is my list of indispensable foods to store in quantity for hard times. I have tried to take into account caloric as well as nutritional content, ease of storage, shelf life, and the intangible of enjoyable to eat. Let’s face it, it doesn’t have to taste good to keep you alive, but it does to keep you happy! Never underestimate the power of a good tasty meal to make things seem better, and never underestimate the power of a positive outlook to help survive in hard conditions!

1. Bulk Dry Goods

Bulk dry goods are a great way to put in a large supply of staples. They should be stored in oxygen purged, food grade buckets with a Mylar bucket liner and O2 absorber for best storage life.

Be aware that some of these, like whole grains, require some processing in order to make the best use of them. So, if you are going to stock things that require processing, be certain to have the tools and equipment required to do the work!

Oatmeal 5 gallon bucketOatmeal is great stuff! Filling and nutritious, and economical! It is also pretty darn tasty, and if you have some add ons it is easy to dress up for variety.

I like to purchase it in sealed 5 gallon buckets, which yield about 222 servings per bucket. Even with 6 of us in the house each bucket provides a month’s worth of breakfasts. These buckets can be found on EBay, or you can repackage yourself.

Rice prepper foodRice. This is an old standby. It can form the base of many tasty and nutritious meals. Be aware that although it requires no processing, it does require quite a bit of water to cook. It is most economical to buy rice in 40 lb bags and repackage it into buckets yourself, a 5 gallon bucket will hold a 40lb bag. For a bit more you can find rice sold pre-sealed in buckets from a number of sources.

Beans Walmart Survival foodBeans. Another good staple, and when combined with your rice, some seasoning, and canned meats it makes a great meal! And don’t forget about a big pot of chili when you have meat from wild game or a butchered animal.

Beans can be bought in pre-sealed 5 gallon buckets as well, but it is more economical to buy in large bags and repackage it in buckets yourself. Get a variety of beans, Red, Black, pinto, kidney, according to your taste.

Related: 50 Days of ‘Survival’ Calories with Rice and Beans

pasta survival food

Pastas. Good source of carbs, and a firm foundation for a variety of meals. Even more so than with rice though, be aware of the water required to cook pastas.

They can be stored in buckets, or sealed in vacuum seal food saver bags with an O2 absorber.

grains survival food storage

Grains. Grains are good for making flour or meal. Wheat and corn are the most common. Bear in mind that you will need a grain mill to process these, and I recommend a good hand mill in case power is an issue. By storing whole grains instead of flour or meal you drastically increase storage life. Again you can buy these in ore-sealed buckets, or repackage bulk purchases yourself to save money. If you want to increase the shelf life even more, you can turn them into flour and then into Hardtacks.

Related: Turning Flour into Hardtack Biscuits With Over 100 Year Shelf Life

dried fruits prepperDried fruits. These are a great addition to your oatmeal or other dishes or just for snacking on.

They can be purchased by the bucket, or in number 10 cans form a variety of online sources. At Costco they have the #10 cans of fruit like pears or apple slices and each of these has 25 servings. 5 of these will cost about $25 and give your family their daily dose of fruit.

Related: How to Make Your Own Apple Sugar

sugar prepperSugar. An infinite variety of uses, a good source of carbs and very cheap. Stock lots stored in 5 gallon buckets.

No matter if white, brown or powdered, sugar it won’t spoil (sugar inhibits microbial growth) as long as it’s stored in an airtight recipient, away from humidity and sunlight.

honey stock pilleHoney. Honey is a great natural sweetener. If you store local honey it is also good to help combat allergies and boost the immune system. It also has first aid uses, it is a natural antibiotic salve.

Honey is one food that never spoils! Although the look of your product will change somewhat over time, it will never actually spoil. It will begin to look yellow and cloudy instead of golden and clear and will get thicker and grainy over time, eventually looking white and hard. But, it is still good. In this form, the honey may have started the process of crystallizing.

To decrystallize honey, place the sealed jar in a warm, non-boiling pot of water and heat the honey. The crystals will dissolve as the honey heats. Do not add water to the honey. This will raise the moisture content and the honey will ferment.

You can also find it in 5 gallon buckets on Amazon for $189, but my guess is that you’ll never need

2. Canned Foods

Canned foods are quick and handy. They also have a fairly substantial storage life. Do keep an eye on expiration dates, and rotate your stock.

ham prepper foodCanned Ham. I like the ones by DAK the best, but there are other options. DAK brand makes a very good quality canned ham with a shelf life of more than 5 years (most of these canned hams have a “stated” shelf life of greater than 3 years).

Great chopped up in your beans and rice, fried with scrambled eggs, or cooked on a grill as a main course.

prepper-stock-pilecanned-whole-chickenCanned chicken. Add variety to your protein sources. Canned chicken is great in rice dishes. In the picture you can see the Sweet Sue Canned Whole Chicken. Looks a little strange but the flavor is okay.

Related: Raise Chickens For Meat And Eggs

tuna canned prepper stockCanned tuna. Fish is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for many functions of your body. Oil packed tuna is also a good source of other fats and oils, which your body needs to function properly. My favorite brand is “Whatever is on sale!

Keystone canned meats

Keystone canned meats. Pick your meat, they have it.

Beef, turkey, pork.

These are great tasting meats with a good storage like, they add to any meal and are an important source of protein.

Related: How To Preserve Beef in Glass Jars

Vienna SausagesVienna Sausages. A great quick high protein snack! Also great in pasta dishes like Mac and Cheese.

These have a pull ring pop top. The ones I bought have a 3 year expiration date. I have eaten lots of things that were expired. These will still be good years after that. The Wal-Mart Great Value brand costs a little less but the Libby’s tastes better. I eat these right out of the can. I have also added them to soup and pasta. Cost: $0.50. (11 cents per oz). 40 cans for 20 dollars

Related: WalMart Prepper Food Run

Prepper stockpile Dole-CannedCanned fruits. Tasty and full of needed vitamins. Stock a variety, your kids will thank you. Go with syrup packed products to maximize calories and carbs.

Canned vegetablesCanned vegetables. Again, a vital source of vitamins.

Unfortunately, green beans do not pack many calories. If you’re looking for the ideal veggies to stash, then think about canned root vegetables, like sweet potatoes and yams. Sweet potatoes are high in Vitamin A, plus they’re filling.

Stock a wide variety to add diversity of flavor and nutritional content. Excellent source of vitamins. Again, I prefer the “On sale” brand!

Dinty Moore canned stewDinty Moore canned stew. Very good stuff and a quick meal that every one is sure to enjoy.

There will be times when the rigors of the day don’t allow time for preparing a scratch meal, and the freezer and microwave won’t be options!

Related: 10 Things to Have Ready before the Huge EMP !!!

Spaghetti Os. RavioliOther “Meals in a can”. Spaghetti Os. Ravioli, canned tamales, and the like are all good choices.

This has to easily be one of my favorite junk foods. It requires a can opener (non- electric for blackouts).

Stock a variety of these that appeal to your family’s tastes.

Shelf-life: 1-3 years

Related: Survival Lessons from the Old Army C-Rations

canned soups for preppers stock pileCanned Soups. Good for winter day warm ups, also good in rice and pasta dishes. Shelf-life: up to 4 years.

You’ll enjoy a bowl of Campbell’s tomato soup with lots of black pepper, accompanied by a grilled cheese sandwich.

peanut-butter for prepper stock pilePeanut Butter. This is a staple in my house at all times! Peanut butter is a great source of protein, and a very compact source of calories. It also provides essential fat and oil content.

It’s packed with protein and essential fatty acids, as well as contains many essential vitamins and minerals (such as copper and iron). Just a couple tablespoons a day of peanut butter can help a person survive a period of limited food intake.

3. Beverages

While drinking plain water all the time won’t harm you in the least (Its actually good for you!), variety is good for morale!  There are other benefits to some beverages as well.

sports-drinks-prepper stockSports Drink Mixes. These mixes turn ordinary water into a rapid recharge system for electrolyes lost through perspiration. Gatorade mix is great for this, and it tastes great too. Remember, in a crisis you will probably be working up a good sweat a lot more often than you do now.

kool Aide MixCool Aide Mix. Kids love Cool Aide! OK, who doesn’t? I like the pre-sweetened packets that make a quart each. You can store these packets in Vacuum sealed food saver bags virtually forever. A cold glass of Cool Aide in your favorite flavor provides a smile and a quick burst of sugar energy.

Coffee and Tea

Coffee and Tea. I am a dedicated coffee drinker and hate the thought of a coffeeless existence! One pound vacuum sealed bricks are the most convenient way to store coffee, they stack well or can be kept in plastic totes efficiently. Tea is another good source of caffeine, and I love a cold glass of iced tea on a hot day. Remember that in a true crisis, you may have to maintain 24 hour watch, and caffeine is a big help in this.

Hot Coco MixHot Coco Mix. A great treat for adults and kids alike, and a great way to warm up on a cold evening. Also a good sugar boost for some extra energy. Pick your favorite brand, they all have a very long storage life if you leave the packaging sealed so don’t skimp! This is another one where your kids will thank you!

Dry MilkDry Milk. A good supply of powdered milk is great for cooking and baking needs, as well as for drinking.

You are going to want to have plenty on hand if you have kids. And, to go with this, have some chocolate milk mix stored up because chocolate milk is really good (you can even share it with the kids if you are a generous soul!

4. Freeze Dried Foods

Freeze dried foods can be cost prohibitive, but their long shelf life is very beneficial. I would not try to build a survival larder based solely on freeze dried foods simply due to the expense, but they do have a place.

thrieve life fruits for preppersThrive Life Foods. This is my favorite of the freeze dried foods for one simple reason- They sell ingredients, not dishes. With this brand, you can stock up on nimber ten cans of ingredients that you use in favorite dishes. You are not constrained and can prepare the meals that your family is used too eating, cooked from your standard recipes. Unopened cans have at least a 25 year shelf life, and some items are available in 5 gallon buckets. Thrive Life foods can be found online.

5. Spices, herbs and salt

These are going to go a long way to adding a variety of flavor to your storage food meals. They have other benefits as well. There are many medicinal herbs, and they can provide an additional source of Vitamins in the diet.

  1. Spices, herbs and saltOf all the things you should stock, salt should be high on the list and stored in large quantity. In addition to its flavor enhancing properties, salt is useful in preserving meats and fishes, for home canning, to attract wild game, for the health of livestock, and more. Salt is incredibly inexpensive, and has a shelf life of “Forever”.
  2. Oil of oregano. This is my favorite pick for a medicinal herb. This stuff has amazing immune system benefits and antibiotic properties. We use it constantly in my house to wipe out colds and flues, it does the job every time! Capsules are the most convenient form, although you can purchase the oil and add it to beverages (Don’t expect it to taste good!)
  3. Stock a wide variety of spices to add flavor. Here again, I watch for sales. We like cinnamon for our oatmeal, especially in apple season. Get a lot of everything you like to use in cooking, spices have a very long shelf life if properly sealed.

6. Cooking Oil

It is important to maintain fats and oils in the diet for proper function of all body systems. This is one area where freeze dried foods fall short, so if the bulk of your food storage is mountain house or one of the other brands be sure to supplement with oils.

coconut oil for preppersCoconut Oil. This is great stuff. It provides essential fat content without many of the long term health risks of other oils. Over 90% of the fatty acids in coconut oil are saturated, which makes it your best choice.

It has a long storage life, and can be purchased in sealed 5 gallon buckets. There are many non-food uses of coconut oil as well, such as lip balm, and as an ingredient in sun screen.

Related: 9 Reasons to Use Coconut Oil Daily

Deep Fryer OilDeep Fryer Oil. In 5 gallon jugs, available in many formulations. You will need this for your outdoor propane fryer, for fish fries, chicken fries and the like.

Animal fats are also excellent choices for deep frying. This includes fats like lard, tallow, ghee and fat drippings. Only animal fats from naturally fed animals should be considered good choices.

7. Shelf Stable Prepared Meals

Shelf Stable Prepared MealsThere are a wide range of these available. This is essentially the MRE category. I like the first strike Meals, these are a full day of rations in a single package, the non essentials have been stripped away and they are a pretty compact package for the content. There are a lot of options available, however, so you can pick what works for you. I don’t recommend MREs as a staple of your food storage program. Shelf life is marginal and fluctuates with temperature, they are bulky on a per calorie basis, and they are cost prohibitive. However, they are very convenient and have a place as a supplemental portion of your food storage program.

8. Seeds

SeedsIf a crisis persists for a long enough period of time, it is very difficult to have an extended comprehensive food stock pile. Having the ability to grow vegetables is a great supplement to your stored foods. Be sure to have varieties that do well in your area, in your soil, and that you know how to grow. Have seeds for medicinal herbs and flavorful spices as well.

Related: The 5 Seeds That You Need to Stockpile in Your Pantry

Edible Landscaping

Edible landscaping provides another potentially important supplement to your storage foods. Instead of planting ornamental trees, plant fruit trees. Instead of ordinary shrubs, plant blueberry bushes. Fruiting vines, blackberries, and things of this nature are great to have around in the best of times, they can be life savers in the worst of times.

This is by no means an exhaustive or comprehensive list of the items available for your long term food storage program. You can tailor your program to your tastes and your budget. Remember the key elements are calories (LOTS), nutritional value (Vitamins and Minerals), storage life, storage space, and flavor. By consulting this list however, you can get a pretty good idea of how to get going on your program.

Water-drought-2You may also like:

An insanely effective way to build a 5 year food stockpile (Video)

How to Prepare For the Coming Food Crisis

12 Potentially Life-Threatening Errors You’re Making in Food Preparedness and Survival Strategies

7 Actions To Take Immediately After An EMP Strike

Pat Bellew
By Pat Bellew March 21, 2016 14:16
Write a comment


  1. Arested1 March 21, 20:16

    You have a good spread on the foods. Some of that pre-prepared stuff is like eating cardboard. Takes a lot of tomato catsup to make it near edible!

    Reply to this comment
    • Mike March 22, 03:59

      If it’s food and you are in an emergency situation who cares what it tastes like!! Besides…..My humble opinion I think all the stuff they suggested while most of the prepackaged stuff is not currently part of my diet..I’d ADAPT! lol

      Reply to this comment
      • Greg June 15, 21:04

        My only problem is most if not all of the meat/chili, spaghetti,Vienna sausages,ham etc.Have for many people in general,way to much(Sodium)per serving.

        Reply to this comment
    • City Chick April 26, 01:00

      It’s all a lot more tasty if you include culinary herbs, especially perennials, in your edible landscaping. Also, some little touches here and there like alpine strawberries in your window box will fruit in spring and again in the fall and can take that oatmeal up a notch!

      Reply to this comment
  2. Liz March 21, 22:09

    Just an FYI, People don’t need carbs, they like carbs. I have been on a zero carb diet for over a year. I only eat meat and drink water. No Veggies, fruit or grains. I’m healthier than I’ve been since I was a teen.

    Reply to this comment
    • Paramour208 March 22, 02:27

      Liz – I’m not normally one to call someone out… But… You’re WRONG! The body ABSOLUTELY cannot survive without carbohydrates. Scientifically impossible! You might want to have a full blood workup done and an exhaustive vitamin panel. No way, no how, you’ve been on a meet and water diet for a year! After a couple of weeks your body would go into ketosis. Not long after that, absence of Carbs would start to affect brain function. Not sure what you’re trying to accomplish with your comment, but you’re “advice” will be sending people to the hospital!

      Reply to this comment
      • Paramour208 March 22, 02:29

        Sorry… “meat” not “meet”. Darned auto correct!

        Reply to this comment
      • mel May 2, 03:44

        Ive been on meat, lettuce and water only for 7 months. Im off ALL my meds now! Never had better blood labs. Never felt better. You dont have to have carbs. Cavemen didnt!

        Reply to this comment
        • sygh August 16, 18:42

          Mel, No offense but you actually do have to have carbs; there are essential vitamins (B-12 for one) that you must have. You can lose weight on a no carb then low carb diet but if you start exerting yourself without carbs, you will perish. Look up the rabbit diet and reference Alaska.

          I do like a low carb diet, it really does keep the weight off. You can exist a lot longer than you ever would eating nothing but white bread. And because white bread is basically nothing but carbs (yeah, they add vitamins but you know what I mean) you feel like you’ve eaten nothing but one slice has 20 carbs in it. The weight piles on.

          Reply to this comment
          • Lucy December 2, 21:42

            The comment about vitamin B12 caught my attention, so I just read the National Institutes for Health Dietary Guidelines.

            It turns out that vitamin B12, which is used in most, if not all, of the body’s systems (like neurological, cardiac, etc.) is only found in animal products. All vegans should therefore take supplements, according to the guidelines. If we are in an emergency situation where we can’t get meat, fish, cheese, yogurt, etc., we probably all would need supplementation! It’s critical to have enough, and the effects of not having it are irreversible. (Try dementia, tardive dyskinesia, and on and on.) Yikes! Add it to the list. Oh, well. B12 is small and really cheap.

            Reply to this comment
        • Nonie February 1, 16:57

          Cavemen were gathers before they began hunting. After that they were hunter-gatherers. They ate fruits, wild greens, roots, nuts and seeds. There are most definitely carbs in those. If you are not eating some carbs you are not healthy. You don’t need a lot unless you are very active and definitely do not need manufactured carbs but you do need some carbs in your diet to survive.

          Reply to this comment
        • Badbul March 8, 02:52

          That’s why Cavemen are no longer around…

          Reply to this comment
        • Living Long February 26, 03:19

          And what was the life span of a caveman?

          Reply to this comment
      • Buff53 December 23, 15:44

        Sorry Para but you are mistaken, I have been on a low carb High fat (LCHF or KETO) diet for a year. Have lost alot of weight and off all the meds I was taking for high blood pressure and diabetes. Being in ketosis is a GOOD thing you are confusing it with Ketoacidosis.
        Do some more research on the KETO diet

        Reply to this comment
      • DMW December 26, 17:16

        You are absolutely right, the body need Carbs, plus when you get low on carbs it’s hard to think… lol… maybe that is Liz’s problem? Just saying!

        Reply to this comment
      • Uncle Mike February 13, 23:23

        What happens if you don t eat carbs at all?
        Hypoglycemia – Not enough carbs can mean low blood sugar, which can lead to hypoglycemia. … If you don’t have enough glucose (energy) from carbs to burn, your body will start burning fat, which is called ketosis. During this process, your body makes ketones for a fuel source

        Reply to this comment
      • Andy May 26, 08:16

        Your absolutely wrong, anyone that has had gastric sleeve or gastric bypass is on a 0 carb , high protein diet. Yes we do have to take a plethora of vitamins but your body does not need carbs to survive.

        Reply to this comment
      • Mertz June 3, 16:44

        As a PhD biochemist, Pamour208 is 100%, irreducibly incorrect on all points stated, and further, the stridency of the reply is irresponsible in the extreme.

        No human body “requires,” carbohydrates. Period. End. Of. Story.

        The vitamins entrained within SOME carbohydrates – yes, and tablets are an excellent source for B complex, D, and C – and have the advantage they are cheap, do NOT spoil, and occupy little volume. That said, if one protects ONLY against scurvy by supplementing vitamin C, one can live an entire lifetime on meat and other protein equivalents alone.

        Reply to this comment
      • franco March 13, 16:47

        No you are wrong. I have lived it. Carbs are greatly overrated and I went on a less than 40 carb a day diet and after a 2 weeks for my body to adjust, I have more energy than ever and my blood work was better than ever.
        To the comments about lifestyle change, that is true of anything good or bad that you want to maintain, it has to be part of your lifestyle.
        Diabetics and I also know of a person that had seizures and another that had a bowel inflammation disease and they were put on heavily reduced carb diets, they had to work at it to keep those carbs low….guess what….their conditions improved.
        Google it yourself and dont go to a dietician because they are robots programmed out of an outdated book and classroom that they were taught. Look for responses from participants and look for real research.
        Carbs are not needed. You will get some just by accident when you eat fiber in your diet if you choose and also, your body converts what it needs. To the person of B12 worries, its not carbs that produce those naturally, it is the protein sources. This nutrient is not part of vegetable or grains unless its put their artificially.

        Also, I would tell you to check out the glycemic index for food because that matters too
        Now in survival mode in a crisis, I will eat carbs if that is all I have.

        Reply to this comment
    • JeremyV June 16, 14:06

      Carbs are significantly less expensive on a per calorie basis than proteins and fats. They are also much easier to store, and can last much longer when stored correctly

      Reply to this comment
      • Texane July 17, 10:56

        We don’t need carbs … not even a little… or I would be dead by now. Our brain can fuel on ketones. One gram of fat is 9 calories. One gram of carbs or protein = 4calories. You body can also burn the fat you already have for fuel and most people have a lot!

        Reply to this comment
        • Halloween Barbie December 9, 10:32

          What people don’t realise is that when we need to use these foods meat will be quite scarce.

          I don’t do carbs because I am allergic to gluten and get really sick but a lot of people don’t understand that sweet potatoes, which is a good carb is excellent for you. In an emergency scenario, unless you hunt or have a lot of meat you will have to do carbs, veg and fruit with canned protein to survive.

          This is not just for natural disasters but civil war, riots etc. You will have no choice but to not eat only meat but include a range of foods because cortisol, adrenaline etc. changes in fight or flight mode.

          Reply to this comment
    • Krysium April 12, 15:03

      Carbs are overated and overused, but yes the body is built to metabolize then in the krebs/tca cycle. Too few carbs can lead to energy loss. In a normal sedentary lfiestyle they can be switched out. But a friend in SWAT tried a carbless diet and lost his energy for intense workouts. So in the assumption one is hiking home, doing heavier than normal gardening and not having a car etc… carbs are needed. Avoid processed simple sugars like glucose and sucrose. But longer chains of carbs like amylose (starch) are still vital. You dont see many athletes on 0 carb diets (though carb loading is controversial in its effect). So yes, in a safe nation where 5% of the budget is spent on food and people drive everywhere and even have machines that will remove the need to walk for them.. 0 carb is fine. Hiking 25 miles home from the car if an EMP or solar flare takes out the car, or if the power and water is out due to utilities failure etc… some carbs are needed.

      Reply to this comment
      • Bob July 11, 20:14

        A lot of you people’s ridiculous diet plans will be thrown off course or impossible to keep up in the situations this site is about. This is about prepping, not your diet of choice during a time where plenty is available. Stock a variety. Don’t be stupid because of arrogance.

        Reply to this comment
    • Me May 4, 19:09


      Your body requires a certain amount of carbs for neurological functions. It’s impossible to function with carbs for a sustained period of time.

      Reply to this comment
    • Mojo December 31, 21:17

      That’s awesome! Good luck stockpiling enough “just meat” for an emergency though. What happens if you don’t have electricity for an extended amount of time? At the very least, stockpile canned meats & veggies low in carbs. We eat low carb so I get it but I’m not gonna starve to death in a bad situation either. I stock lots of foods that my kids & grandkids might need as well. I’m not gonna be picky About carbs when the time comes Good luck! Stay safe & healthy!

      Reply to this comment
  3. Ron March 21, 22:52

    When talking about cooking oils to store why is peanut oil rarely mentioned. I was under the impression that peanut oil never goes rancid.. Am I wrong

    Reply to this comment
    • Chicken Lady September 24, 18:15

      Peanut oil AND peanuts go rancid fairly quickly. I found out the hard way one year trying to store it in bulk. I had to throw all I stored (in white buckets with oxygen absorbers) out. The only way I found it keeps is if I buy peanut butter in jars – and then the shelf life is still limited. Even among freeze dried companies they recommend using up the PB powder within five years while everything else is rated at 20. If you want an oil with a proven shelf life get either coconut oil or olive oil. All the rest will go bad and ultimately make you sick.

      Reply to this comment
      • Kat February 23, 04:58

        Also peanuts and peanut products can grow a type of toxic mold that will kill you if you eat even the tiniest amount. Read up on this asap if you plan on making peanut products part of your shtf kit. It could save your life.

        Reply to this comment
  4. Farmer March 22, 00:37

    Just because we are all gonna die does not mean we need to eat junk …. ditch that high carb and super processed junk food. There are many choices of decent food out there … particularly the foods packed by Mormon canneries. Do a google search for where to find the best deals. Really, get rid of the raman noodles, progresso soups, spagetti-o and other junk … you’ll have enough problems living through SHTF without killing you gut microbio ….

    Reply to this comment
    • poorman March 23, 14:48

      I think the author adds in the high processed food for variety. He clearly states that the stew would be for a time when you couldn’t cook a real meal. some of the others could be eaten in an emergency when there was no way to cook such as the ravioli ect. Not all SHTF situations are world ending, You could simply have a power outage and no alternative cooking method

      Reply to this comment
      • Kris March 23, 16:50

        I think so too………you have to have a variety or depression can set in, especially in a SHTF situation.

        Reply to this comment
      • Kitty July 27, 16:44

        I think the point of the quicky foods like the ravioli is actually good thinking. You may not have access to water right away, or run out. The other foods require water to cook. I have thought about that issue myself. what if you don’t want the whole neighborhood coming to your house when they smell the food. Precooked canned food can be eaten cold. No smells in the air to give you away. Think about that one. Please.

        Reply to this comment
        • PUNISHER February 1, 22:56

          you need amino fatty acids carbs and meat gives you that. without, you’ll get sick when a shtf senario . get a 55 gal. water drum. kits on amazon. then stock up on food for partriots 25 year shelf life foods. taste great. not like frezze dried. mre’s will kill you, make you sick. buy organic protien/supplement powder shakes. mix them up with fruit jucie. then you will have the protien you need .30grm. in the morning. Ready Store.com. go there and get your food also.

          Reply to this comment
    • LikeNoah November 7, 17:09

      Search Augason or Food For Health, both out of Salt Lake City. You might disagree with Jim Bakker, but he has better prices on long shelf life food than Costco or other areas. Don’t forget water filtration. Lake water still needs to be filtered, as does stored rain water. Go to JimBakkerShow.com and look under store.

      Reply to this comment
    • Lifelong cook May 29, 05:03

      You don’t need to get rid of the ramen just the seasoning pack and instead use some herbs and seasonings instead of all the salt

      Reply to this comment
    • Krysium April 12, 15:08

      1. morale is important and there is a reason we call junk food “comfort food”.
      2. in certain emergencies our udnerstanding of a healthy diet flip flops, as stated by the author. So HDL is “good cholesterol” as it clears high energy fats from our circulatory system quickly, LDL recycles it back to the body. If a sedentary society that means arterial plaque buildups. HOWEVER, in a food starvation environment HDL would start to be bad I suppose. Calories leaving the body. So those salty high calorie foods I would NEVER let my kids eat, are now what you want. I personally do not believe any kid should have gatorade until they workout hard enough for their whole shirt to be coated in sweat, high school usually. That stuff is like salty pop. It was designed by the university for the Florida gators. Yet I have it in my get home bag in the cars. In 95 degree weather, hiking home in khakis from work on a sunny day 15 miles that stuff would suddenly be life saving. Also if one has diarhea for a variety of reasons. A UK newspaper once postulated that society is 5 meals from collapsing. I am a bit of an optimist and think even the cities would hold out for 4 days of darkness before absolute anarchy hit. But our dietary needs would drastically change in the course of just a couple of meals.

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  5. The Wiseman March 22, 11:20

    Many of your choices have a very high salt content. For anyone with high blood pressure, that’s a death sentence when added to the stress of SHTF. Dinty Moore beef stew has a salt content of 1,450! Ditto DAK ham. Canned fruit in most cases is loaded with extra sugar. Start reading labels, please!

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    • Kitty July 27, 16:48

      salt will be needed to keep you hydrated when there is little water supply, and you probably won’t eat it every day. When the shtf I can tell you, you will eat grass to not starve. Do you know what kind is not poisonous. I do. Your better off with the Dinty Moore.

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    • BillH August 17, 23:05

      Only a small percentage of those with high blood pressure are salt sensitive and need to limit their intake. For those without high blood pressure or without that sensitivity, salt is not an issue. This is one of those media maintained myths, such as “eating eggs causes clogged arteries” and “low calorie low protein high sugar diet is great for you”.

      Sugar, on the other hand, is empty carbs and should be avoided.

      Reply to this comment
      • Nonie February 1, 17:09

        Sugar in an emergency situation is a great source of energy. There are times when even extra sugar and extra carbs are important. That being said…high sugar, salt or carbs content is not a good thing all of the time. Just like in non emergency times…plan your meals.

        Reply to this comment
    • Scott Pi November 6, 01:33

      The myth that salt is bad for you, and raises your blood pressure, has been well debunked. Enjoy.

      Reply to this comment
      • Lucy December 2, 20:06

        I appreciate where everybody is coming from about the salt issue. How about, We are all snowflakes? (As in biochemical individuality.)

        I don’t have high blood pressure, but am extremely salt sensitive. If I eat a Chinese meal (which I love!), I have to remember to take a couple of potassium tablets afterward, or I will puff up and look like I’ve been on a bender for the last two days! Swollen eyelids, fingers and even toes. Something not working well with my kidneys? Maybe. Hasn’t shown up in any blood work, and the potassium does the trick. So, we have to figure our own bodies out. Let’s be glad we all don’t have to fool around to do that! Good health is a blessing.

        Reply to this comment
        • Kat February 23, 05:07

          Lucy, that sounds like an MSG reaction. Ask your doctor to test you. And read labels – many prepared foods use MSG. Its not as bad as it used to be about 20-30 yrs ago, but worth your time to check.

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  6. what ever March 22, 11:34

    did not read all but you r wrong on most of the food items-for every day use the contents r not good for y–2 many additives will make y sick–when shift hits the fan even then your food groups will even make y sicker–with food cost going up it is hard for most people 2 afford the increasing cost–stock up on a good multi vitamin

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  7. Ever Vigilant March 22, 13:29

    If you cant scratch cook, you’re screwed……

    Reply to this comment
  8. Anna March 22, 19:21

    I’m confused by your math in the oatmeal section. It is specifically stated that each 5 gallon bucket has 22 servings. Then, you claim a family of six can eat this for breakfast for a month. Huh?

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  9. Jonnie March 23, 15:02

    Keep lots of dry goods, and plenty water. Plus seasonings. Cook from scratch, it will keep you fed, and healthier, because then you control how much of what goes into you body. Restricting your sodium intake, or your carbs if you need to. Your health, is your responsibility, not manufacturers.

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  10. left coast chuck April 14, 04:34

    In an end of the world situation, we won’t have to worry about too much salt or too much sugar. Our main concerns will be keeping warm, getting potable water and enough to eat. A steady diet of tuna fish, canned meats, pasta, bean and rice will quickly get old. You will be happy to have the sugary canned fruit which will add very necessary calories to your diet and provide energy. The high salt which is dangerous now will provide necessary salts when you have otherwise run out of salt for cooking. In addition, most of the prepared foods are prepared to appeal to our taste buds. Food companies spend big money on making “convenience”
    foods tasty. Having a tasty comfort food will relieve the monotony of “beans again?” When food gets really scarce you will be happy to have anything at all to eat

    I think this article is a “must keep”. Thanks for writing it.

    Reply to this comment
  11. KWalk May 8, 12:27

    Variety is the key while storing and eating. During a crisis, you won’t care what your blood work tests shows. But, you don’t want to eat just Ravioli.

    Reply to this comment
  12. Marilyn May 13, 08:05

    I’ve gotten a lot of flour sugar, stuff for scratch cooking, something like bullion cubes, evaporated milk, yeast, can veggies you can throw together all kinds of soups. I ordered powdered eggs and butter, biscuits and gravy, homemade beans, I have done some canning, of meats and made some spatgetti sauce for canning. Think camping, I got a dutch oven-good for cakes and breads.

    Reply to this comment
    • BillH August 17, 23:28

      Sounds good. Except for the flour, which goes bad in months. Even stored without oxygen, it still goes bad in a few years.

      Reply to this comment
      • Kat February 23, 05:12

        I’m having issues with flour weavels. They’re also getting into raisins and rice. Anyone know of a good way to permanently eliminate them?

        Reply to this comment
  13. BillH August 17, 23:24

    Excellent article, very well rounded.

    I believe that the only real weakness in this article is the insistence that needing to add a lot of water is a downside to a particular food. Water is life. If you do not have an essentially unlimited supply of water, you will die when it runs out, and food is entirely irrelevant. If there isn’t an essentially unlimited supply on your property (well, stream, lake, etc), nor a nearby supply you can lug to your property, then you need to abandon your place and go somewhere that has water.

    So given an essentially unlimited supply of water, items that require more water to prepare typically are the least expensive, lightest, most dense alternatives with long shelf lives. They are the ones that should be the core of your plan, not the ones to avoid because they need water added.

    Yes, you also need some items that require no prep and no water for use in the first few days, as the author suggests. But for long term storage, the more water you need to add, the more filling the food you get from a particular weight or volume of storage.

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  14. BelovedLeah August 19, 13:29

    When I first started prepping, I was making meals in jars, or called “just add water”. They are quick and convenient, but will use up water, fast! So now have home canned meats, fruits, veggies, soups, etc. These will compliment my jar meals because they already have liquid in them. Just use a little common sense and think food prep in everyday life, then think of ways to prep with little to nothing….prep conveniences.

    Reply to this comment
    • Lucy December 2, 19:55

      That’s an intriguing idea, BelovedLeah. What are some examples of “just add water” meals in a jar?” Sounds good!

      Reply to this comment
  15. TERRY October 24, 13:41

    ALRIGHT PEOPLE. Should he have written a disclaimer for this article?
    Thanks for the article. As a seasoned prepper, I still learned something.

    Reply to this comment
  16. Scott Pi November 6, 01:39

    Self-sufficiency after TSHTF is very challenging , and unnecessary. Before things fall apart, stock up. What you’ll need is CALORIES. Which is difficult and expense if you do it one can at a time. You can afford to store enough calories, if you know what you’re doing.
    You can figure 25-30 years storage life for hard red wheat, stored at 60 degrees in a 55 gallon drum, using 1 pound of dry ice to drive out the oxygen (wait 24hrs for the dry ice to “melt” before sealing the drum). 400 pounds of wheat per drum equals 400 man-days of calories, and costs you about $100. Fill 3-4 barrels. It’s Cheap insurance. Add a barrel of Winter Rye for variety. Add a barrel of oats. Then a couple barrels of WHITE rice, and 2-3 barrels of pinto beans. (You need the beans to balance what’s missing from the grains. The beans may be harder to rehydrate after 10-12 years without a pressure cooker, but then you just grind up the dried beans, and bake them in your bread.) For around $1000, you can be prepared to feed your family for close to a decade, if you also garden, keep chickens, and have fruit trees and bushes. Honey is way too expensive to store on a dollar/calorie basis, but consider bee keeping. A drum takes up LESS than 2’X2’. And they stack nicely, at 33” tall. In a 2’X10′ strip along a basement wall, you can have 10 barrels with 4000 pounds of food. Hang a peg board in front of it, and you’ve got very useful space. If you can’t spare that much space in your basement, to protect the lives of your family, think Venezuela .

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  17. Lucy December 2, 20:54

    This is a really comprehensive article on food prepping! I was very taken by your last item on “Edible Landscaping.” There is a natural antibacterial, antiviral product called “Sambucol,” that is a syrup (patented) made from black elderberries. There is another syrup similar called “Sambucus,” which is the botanical name for black elderberries. Not only do they taste delicious — like something to top your ice cream sundae with! — they are pretty amazing for coughs, colds, and flu. I am thinking that that might be a good thing to have growing in our yards when SHTF.

    Has anybody ever made black elderberry syrup?

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  18. Adrianna January 8, 16:20

    Hello There. I discovered your blog using msn. That is a really well written article.
    I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to learn more of your useful information. Thank you for the
    post. I will definitely comeback.

    Reply to this comment
  19. Mike2 March 6, 20:54

    Water is the key..if not near lake, river, stream etc., consider having a well dug and attaching an old fashion hand pump.

    Reply to this comment
  20. BABE October 11, 03:11

    I have read the article and there is such good advise. It’s given me a lot to think a out.
    I am not a survivalist but things are going to hell in a handbasket and getting worse every day. Guess we all need to start preparing.

    Reply to this comment
    • Kat February 23, 05:23

      Prepping isn’t just for the zombie apocalypse. I live in costal New England and you can bet that there will be at least two or three situations where you won’t have power or won’t be able to get to the store for a while. Blizzards, hurricanes, etc. Also personal crises like losing a job or unexpected car repairs can leave you looking at zero food budget. Always good to have emergency rations to live off of until things return to normal.

      Reply to this comment
      • Miss Kitty March 29, 02:15

        This is true, Kat. Babe, it doesn’t even need to be a true crisis… There are lots of times your stash will come in handy. Unexpected company. Your kid telling you the night before the bake sale that he needs 3 dozen brownies to take to school the next morning. You get out of work late and are too tired to make a grocery run. Everyone in the family gets the flu and you can’t get to the store. The list goes on but the point is that you should be rotating, using and enjoying your stash as part of normal living. A cookbook you might find useful is “The Prepper’s Cookbook” by Tess Pennington. Lots of ideas for setting up your base stash and great recipes too.

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  21. DeeDee April 30, 14:15

    read the lost ways and want to make pemican, but can’ find enough beef fat. The butchers don’t seem to have 10 lbs. Got any ideas on where I can get that much at once?

    Reply to this comment
    • Miss Kitty July 17, 11:57

      Call ahead to the meat dept.of your store and ask them if they can hold suet or fat for you, what days they ate most likely to have it in inventory, and whether or not it has to be special ordered in the quantity you need. You can also ask for meat trimmings as that is the extra fat that gets cut off the cuts being packaged for the sales floor. There’s often a lot of meat attached to these, and you can get them cheap.

      Reply to this comment
  22. Joe July 14, 23:22

    Buy dry foods, canned goods and peanut butter, then use the oldest on a regular basis and rotate new stock into the pantry. Too many people buy foods that they will only eat when the SHTF and then since you’re not using it on a regular basis, it’s gone or going bad. If however you buy many of the foods you currently eat for SHTF planning then you can eat the oldest food and rotate new stock into your holdings as a routine part of your meals.

    Reply to this comment
    • Elisabeth August 5, 09:08

      Couple of comments here. Beanut butter… AND
      Raw peanuts… Both in bulk. Shelled to save storage space.
      Use a “gravity dead” (like caned soups in the store) take the old stock from the bottom… Feed new stock in at the top

      Reply to this comment
  23. Bill April 5, 02:00

    A good source of bulk spices is Indian food stores. The prices are usually quite reasonable.

    Reply to this comment
  24. Guy July 31, 11:35

    There is so much back and forth about strict line definitions of what is and isnt such and such diet good and bad for the body. I think what the key that people should focus on is individual experimentation. Some people eat high sugars dont put on weight have bad teeth, others on the same diet put on weight but have bad teeth. Some people are naturally really really skinny, others are grandly endowed with big solid bone structure that could withstand heavy impact. Im just saying that, as much as every person in the world has a unique identity (Self and Body) along with their diet might also be unique. Pardon the sugar example that was only as much an example, I am totally about natural foods and the processed packaged foods should be somewhere that these disputes between what is and is not ‘right’ for the body could be declared as mutual common ground, and then go from there.

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