Spring always has me thinking about my emergency supplies, especially the first 30-day supply. I live in a hurricane evacuation zone in Florida, so these emergency supplies are vitally important to my planning.
I have experienced what happens when an emergency approaches. The store shelves empty of all foods that don’t require refrigeration, bottled water is the first to go, then stores and restaurants close, lines for gasoline are extremely long until finally the tanks are empty, and no gas is to be had. Most of the emergencies I’ve faced have lasted for only a week or two. But I know that as storms get stronger and man’s evil prevails, it will get worse. I plan for these events so that my family will be protected and, hopefully, comfortable.
My Food Storage Levels of Protection
My first level of protection is my pantry. I usually have two to four weeks of food in the pantry and freezer. These must be used first, especially if power is not restored quickly.
When the pantry foods are finished, I have a short-term supply that requires no refrigeration and is packed to be portable. These are the foods I take with me if evacuation is required because of a hurricane, fire, or other disaster. These are the 30 day supply I am packing away today.
Finally, I have 5-gallon buckets of staples such as rice, beans, sugar, corn, etc. These are packed for 10 to 25 years storage. I prefer not to open them until they come near their expiration or until needed for a long-term emergency. There is no point in having several 5-gallon buckets opened, when I only need a week or two of food.
As I am now in the process of restocking and reviewing my 30-day supply, I thought I would share my thoughts and preparations with you.
Easy Ways to Plan and Build a 30-Day Supply
Over the years, I have used several different ways to plan a 30-day food supply. For several years, I planned 30 days of menus and purchased all the foods needed to complete those meals. This ensured that I had an adequate food supply, but when the day came, we didn’t always use the foods in the ways I had planned. Now I choose a variety of foods that fit our eating habits and leave the daily planning until the time comes to use them. Let’s discuss each category of food separately, starting with proteins.
Proteins: Canned Meat, Freeze Dried Meats, Beans, and TVP
You have choices when storing proteins. The cheapest solution is beans. If you do not know how to cook beans or if your family doesn’t eat beans, the next cheapest solution is textured vegetable protein (TVP made from soy). Beans store well, but require a lot of cooking, so choose canned beans for short-term when possible. I use them in long-term storage, but for the first 30 days, I prefer meat. Meat is the most expensive choice but is usually well received by family members.
I store commercially canned meats, but I also can and store home processed meats and freeze-dried meats. A one-pint jar of meat is usually equal to one-pound of meat and provides generous servings for four people. One case of home canned meats provides one serving of meat per day for four people or two servings for two people. If you are feeding one or two people, you probably should use one-cup canning jars or small cans of meat since refrigeration may not be available. For the purpose of this article, I will be using commercially canned meats in the planning section.
Starches are important for providing bulk, fiber, and appetite satisfaction. If you are gluten free, plan accordingly; there are many options available. For short-term starches, I store rice, pasta, potato flakes, dried hash browns, grits, oatmeal, and cornmeal. You can also store packages of cornbread mix, muffins, brownie mix, etc. Mixes are valuable because they are easily prepared and only need water and, possibly, oil to make (Read the labels.). Mixes will keep several years if packed correctly. If you choose baking mixes, think about how you will cook them. Making muffins or brownies requires an oven of some kind, but they could be made in pancake form when necessary.
Fats are one of the most overlooked categories for food storage. They provide the calories we need for hard work, and a small amount is required for lubricating our joints and other body functions.
Fats are easy for short-term storage, but they need to be rotated every year or two. I buy my oils and lard in quantity when they are cheap and use the oldest supply first. This keeps me stocked up with enough fats to supply the family while keeping them fresh. Virgin or extra-virgin coconut oil keeps indefinitely when properly stored. Olive oil needs to be rotated every 6 months to a year.
Vegetables and Fruits
I prefer fresh vegetables straight from the garden, but I keep canned or dehydrated vegetables in my 30-day storage.
If a hurricane wipes out my garden or if I evacuate, I need to know that my family has a backup plan. I store 60 cans of vegetables, and 30 cans of fruit in my short-term supply.
Sauces, Spices, Coffee, Salt and Pepper
I also include my most used spices and sauces in my food storage. Thirty days with no salt would be a disaster in my house. The same goes for coffee. We often overlook these when planning short-term food storage, mostly because a box of salt goes a long way. But you will miss it if it runs out.
In my short-term storage I store extra containers of salt, black pepper, seasoned salt, paprika, dried peppers, Italian seasoning mix, taco seasonings, chili seasoning, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, coffee, tea, sugar, and maple syrup (Pure maple syrup has medicinal value, but you can also use the cheap stuff, if you must.).
I include gravy mixes so that I have something to put on my rice, and a few pasta sauces for my pastas. I don’t normally use these products, preferring fresh, homemade foods. But in an emergency I want to know that I don’t have to eat plain rice.
My Shopping List for a 30-Day Supply of Meals for Three Adults
- 4 packages Muffin Mix, assorted flavors, 7 oz – 800 calories/pkg, 3200 Calories total
- 1 box Oatmeal, 32 oz – 3392 calories total
- 1 box Pancake Mix, 20 oz – 2,100 calories total
- 4 pkg. Hash Browns, 3 oz – 320 calories each , 1280 total
- 4 cans corned beef hash, 15 oz each – 774 calories each, 3096 calories total
- 4 boxes breakfast bars, 18 bars each – 11520 calories total
- 1 pkg whole milk powder, 2 pounds – 4,515 calories total
- 1 maple syrup, 16 oz – 1680 calories total
- 1 bottle vegetable oil, 32 oz – 7936 calories total
- 1 bottle ketchup, 32 oz – 932 calories total
- 1 canister Tang orange drink mix, 72 oz – 7980 calories total
47,629 calories total in the breakfast category
I plan for meat at lunch and dinner, requiring 60 cans of meats for the month. You could certainly reduce the cost by having beans and rice for some meals, or eating pasta and similar meals without meat. TVP makes an acceptable substitute for meat, but does not supply as many calories. I feel that we will need the protein and calories in a true emergency situation.
I home can most of my own meats, which saves a lot of money off this list. The calorie counts here are for commercial meats:
- 8 cans Roast Beef, 12 oz – 2240 calories total
- 8 cans chicken, 12.5 oz – 1260 calories total
- 8 cans salmon, 14.75 oz – 5,040 calories
- 4 cans tuna, packed in oil – 1280 calories
- 8 cans Ground beef, 14 ounce can – 4,480 calories total
- 8 cans pork, 14 oz each – 9600 calories total
- 8 cans ham, 16 oz each – 6400 calories total
- 4 cans Beef Chow Mein, 28 oz (includes vegs) – 960 calories total
- 8 cans Spam, 12 oz can – 8640 calories total
39,900 calories total in meats
Vegetables and Fruits
I include 2 cans of vegetables per day and I hope to supplement from my garden. However, a hurricane can quickly strip every leaf from my garden, so cans in the cupboard are a must. I try to buy a balance of higher calorie starchy vegetables and low-calorie vitamin packed offerings. I also include 30 cans of fruit for a little sweetness at breakfast or dinner. Here is this year’s list:
- 4 cans potato salad -1680 calories total
- 4 cans corn 16 oz – 840 calories total
- 4 cans carrots, 14.5 oz – 448 calories total
- 4 cans beets, pickled, 16 oz – 300 calories total
- 4 Green peas, 16 oz – 968 calories total
- 4 Sweet potatoes, 20 oz – 2520 calories total
- 4 Lima beans, 16 oz -1408 calories total
- 4 Green beans – 288 calories total
- 4 Canned tomatoes – 576 calories total
- 6 Pasta Sauce, 24 oz – 3300 calories total
- 4 Saurkraut, 16 oz – 210 calories total
- 4 Okra, 14 oz – 220 calories total
- 4 Stewed squash, 14 oz – 228 calories total
- 4 Mixed vegetables, 14 oz – 440 calories total
- 8 Mixed fruit, 15 oz – 840 calories total
- 4 Pear halves in juice – 992 calories total
- 4 Peaches in juice, 15 oz – 832 calories total
- 6 Jars applesauce, 16 oz – 1994 calories total
- 4 cans pineapple, 20 oz – 1260 calories total
- 4 cans cranberry sauce (also treats UTIs) 16 oz – 3334 calories total
22678 total calories in vegetables and fruits
I plan for at least one starch per day, but I buy generous portions so that we can have more if needed. As these foods are cheap and filling, I tend to overbuy. This way I can stretch my supplies if needed beyond the 30 days. You can purchase individual flavored side dishes for this category.
- 6 lbs. Pasta, assorted shapes and sizes – 11200 total calories
- 5 lbs. Rice – 8000 calories total
- 1 box dried mashed potatoes, 26.7 oz, complete – 2720 calories total
- 1 box cornbread mix, 16 oz – 1800 calories total
- 2 boxes biscuit mix, 60 oz – 16880 calories total
40600 calories total in starches
I rotate snacks through my 30-day supply, restocking it every few months and moving the old stock to the pantry. These high calorie foods help fill us up and are vitally important if I am unable to cook for a day.
- granola bars – 36, 4320 calories total
- dried fruit, 10 cups mixed – 4400
- nuts, 48 oz – 7680 calories total
- trail mix, 24 pkg – 6000 calories total
- peanut butter, 16 oz – 3034 calories total
- 2 Brownie or cake mix, 18 oz – 4000 calories
- Cookie mix, 21 oz – 1980 calories total
31,414 calories total in snacks
Spices and Incidentals
- Coffee, tea, sugar
- Salt & Pepper
- Seasoned salt
- Italian seasoning
- Chili seasoning
- Taco seasoning
- Gravy mix
- Soy sauce
- Salad dressing mixes
These foods give me a total of 182,221 calories for 3 people for 30 days. This comes to 2024 calories each per day. While I have calculated the list with commercial foods for convenience sake, many of my meats are home canned. The calorie intake also assumes that you split the entire can of food, ignoring the serving size on the can. I plan this way because I assume that I will not have refrigeration, so I use the entire amount of meat, vegetable or fruit at each meal.
I have also tried to give a variety of foods, so that we have choices, however the foods do repeat. This list is quite expensive when purchased all at once, but I use it in my 30-day supplies for two years, then rotate the foods into my pantry for use. These are foods that we enjoy, although we don’t usually eat canned foods daily.
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