Whether you have several years’ worth of food set aside or you keep a more modest reserve, most of us probably have some kind of emergency food supply or stockpile setup.
Still, do you know exactly how long that food will last when you really need it? How do you know if you have enough to make it the recommended 3 months minimum? Do you want to wait to find out?
For most preppers, hypothetically knowing how to be prepared when SHTF isn’t good enough. Sometimes, being prepared means putting knowledge into practice and getting enough experience under your belt to ensure you can survive with what you have when the time comes. One great place to start? Your pantry.
Related: The Only 15 Rules for Your Prepper Pantry
Considering that the monthly average per-person food cost for groceries in the USA is currently between $200-$400, learning how to create a one-month meal plan for under $65 is a good way to get this kind of hands-on experience.
The items on this meal plan should be enough to provide three daily, calorie-dense meals for one person for 30-days with no leftovers from meals.
How To Plan A One-Month Meal Menu
The foods on this list will focus primarily on canned or other preserved food which is usually the most inexpensive and easy-to-find option for most people. If you can find them cheaper where you live, that’s great news.
However, the prices on this list were calculated using national average grocery data found on the USDA website and then price-checked through popular sites like Costco and Walmart.
⇒ When Grocery Stores Go Empty – A Back Door Shopping Strategy
When selecting your foods, you will need to consider the basic nutrients required for sustained human survival: calories, carbs, protein, fats, fiber, vitamins, certain minerals, and water.
Here are a few easy-to-find and inexpensive food items to consider for your one-month meal plan menu.
- Canned beans (15-18g)
- Canned chicken breast (9g)
- Canned beef (7.8g)
- SPAM (7.5g)
- Canned fish: tuna, sardines, salmon (4-15g)
- Canned veggies: spinach, peas (4-6g)
All of these protein suggestions cost between $0.79-$4.99 per item.
Simply stated, carbs are broken down into glucose to provide energy for the brain and body. They also help you to feel full for longer.
As it stands, they tend to make up a larger portion of most people’s regular meals. So it’s important to include enough carbs in your meal plan.
- All pasta varieties (42g per serving)
- Rice (40g per serving)
- Quinoa (20g per serving)
- Wheat crackers (10g per serving)
- Powdered or dried potatoes (36g per serving)
- Flour and whole wheat (71g/cup)
All of the carb suggestions on this list cost between $0.99-$6.99 per pound.
Lard, butter, tallow, bacon fat, ghee, schmaltz, coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, etc. are fantastic sources of essential fats. Additionally, foods such as nuts, dark chocolate, canned salmon, etc. are packed full of beneficial fats too.
Even though fat gets a bad reputation, a diet rich in essential fats helps you maintain a healthy functioning mind and body. Fats are responsible for building and maintaining strong bones, a healthy liver, and good cardiovascular health.
Traditionally, we get these fats from eating foods like milk, cheese, fish, butter, and meat. However, in a 30-day budget meal plan, rendering the fat yourself can stretch your dollar much farther. In fact, it’s practically free!
Considering how expensive butter and olive oil is at the time of writing this meal plan, I strongly suggest rendering your own fats instead of buying butter or cooking oil if you’re able to.
All of the fats listed above cost between $0.00-$9.00 per pound depending on if they’re store-bought or homemade.
Eating fiber is great for digestive health and is believed to help protect the body against some types of illnesses. Here are a few fiber-rich food ideas you can add to your 30-day meal plan.
- Health bars such as cereal, bran, grain, granola, and/or oatmeal bars have around 2-6g of fiber per bar.
- Beans, such as black beans, lima beans, navy beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas, have between 8-16g of fiber per 100g.
- Peanut butter has 13g of fiber per 1 cup
All of the fiber-rich food suggestions on this list cost between $0.89-$3.99 per pound.
Vitamins And Minerals
Dried spices, herbs, and extracts for enhanced taste and boosting nutrition profile in meals. The best way to hit vitamin and mineral nutrition goals is by absorbing them from the food you eat.
Add multivitamins if desired for extra supplementation or as recommended by a health professional.
Vegemite or Marmite can add a flavorful and nutrient-packed boost to foods.
One Month Meal Plan Recipes
It is possible to alternate breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu schedules, either daily or weekly, to avoid repetitive meals.
This may help you sidestep the possibility of developing gut microbiome problems which some people report when eating the same meals over time.
This prevents the need for increased water use and other risks of resource depletion.
⇒ The Ingenious Portable Water Generator Which Extracts Water From Thin Air
Breakfast meal #1 – Oatmeal with peanut butter and honey
- 2 cups prepared oatmeal – overnight oats or cooked over heat.
- 2 tbsp. peanut butter
- 1 tbsp. honey
Breakfast meal #2 – Breakfast bars with peanut butter, crackers, and raisins
- 1-2 “health bars” such as cereal, bran, grain, granola, and/or oat bars
- 1 tbsp. peanut butter
- 2 whole wheat crackers
- ½ cup raisins
Lunch Meal #1 – Tuna salad on wheat crackers with trail mix side
- 1 serving of whole wheat crackers
- tuna salad – 1 can of fish like salmon or tuna
- 2 tbsp. mayonnaise
- 2 tsp. mustard
- salt, pepper, and spices for taste and nutrition boost
Mix tuna, spices, and condiments then spread over crackers.
Lunch Meal #2 – Canned chicken breast and rice with canned veggies
- 1 can of chicken breast or other canned meat of your choice
- 1 tsp. butter, fat, or oil for frying on low heat
- salt, pepper, and spices for taste and nutrition boost
- 1 cup cooked rice of your choice (⅓-½ cups raw rice makes 1 cup cooked)
- ½ tsp vegemite or marmite to mix with chicken
- canned vegetables such as corn, peas, carrots
Mix all ingredients over heat or enjoy at room temperature.
Dinner Meal #1 – Classic beans and rice
- 1- 15 oz. can of beans or ⅓ cup raw beans cooked.
- 1 cup dried vegetables, spices, or herbs of your choice for flavor
- 1 cup of white rice – or another rice of your choice – cooked
Cook all ingredients and combine.
Tip: Cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, salt, and pepper make a great bare-bones bean and rice spice blend.
Dinner Meal #2 – One-pan spam, beans, hominy, and rice
- 3 oz. of SPAM cut into cubes (about ½ of the can) or another type of canned/preserved meat.
- 1- 15 oz. can of beans (I suggest black beans for this recipe)
- 1- 15 oz. can of white or yellow hominy or another vegetable of your choice.
- 1 cup of white or another rice of your choice – cooked.
Cook rice and mix all ingredients over heat or enjoy at room temperature.
Following a 30-day meal plan using the recipes on this list will allow you to consume between 2,500-3,200 calories each day for 30-days.
Although this meal plan was designed with store-bought foods in mind, you can save even more by including things you already have in your pantry or preserving food at home.
Oh man oh man, you’ll be backed up and sh*tting bricks though!
But it is nice to see an article that focuses on the nutritional benefit and balance rather than just price.
Personally I’d try to spend a little more and create something less colon dense.
LOL if you’re transiting from a diet of Mc D’s burgers and fries maybe.
Otherwise, plenty of bulky fiber rich food there.
Again, at the risk of being a broken record store what you eat, eat what you store.
Waiting until you HAVE TO go from fats rich processed foods to basics is foolish.
Like her smart note about spices for the rice and beans, eating them NOW allows you more money for other things AND your bowels to adjust to them.
Frankly I’m almost looking forward to a few “Survival Experts” with their Survival Foods like Wise to HAVE to eat them for a while. If they had opened those expensive 25-year storage foods and cooked some up they’d be singing a different tune.
Chick peas / garbanzo beans,
are both VERY high in fiber, protein & low in fat
I always have a huge supply of both!!
And that’s why I started growing indoors. I live in 815 sq ft condo It’s amazing. Fresh lettuce. Waiting on the broccoli and cauliflower to come in. I found a way not owning land. But I read these articles because of the information. Thanks for sharing so freely!!
I’m doing similar 🙂
I don’t eat a lot of ‘fast food’ or even processed food, (and as a coeliac no McDonalds) and thus grow a lot of food myself, in my apartment. Hydroponics for the win! (Would do aquaponics but we are out at our farm for several months at a time)
i would be curious if this is accurate based on today’s jacked up Chucks hero Biden inflation.
Props for giving a 100 percent how to and accurate that isn’t a copy and paste.
the walking dead speaks
Excellent article. Folks often don’t know that they can or how to get nutrition and shop frugally at the same time. Those prices look about right to me, but I shop store brands and sales. I can shop/cook for less, but it requires a bunch more work, this is better for folks that don’t like to or don’t have the skills to cook.
Stocking up on canned foods like pork ‘n beans, tuna, various fruits and vegetables is better than purchasing the ‘survival’ food packs supposedly guaranteed for 25 years. They don’t sound very edible to begin with. Living in an agricultural state with nearby farms and Amish farmers, using some basic home canning and preservation techniques is a great way to be prepared for any long-term nutrition needs. Fresh, local produce most likely will still be available for those in the know.
Even the amish use powdered milk, powdered buttermilk etc to make breads, cakes etc. Wintertime in the north can be difficult, I have purchased some freeze dried fruits ‘on sale’ and they are delish, also honey powder ‘way easier to cook with’ , powdered butter is easy too. I suggest some people read labels on some baked goods, amish or not. As far as rice, powdered potatoes, beans those are easy enough to purchase without MRe’s. Ready hour does have some good items.
You can live for a long time with a stock of rice, dried beans, spam, and water laid up for a 3 month supply if everything went to hell. Otherwise, for your average 7 day weather emergency and power outages, keep your pantry stocked with various canned goods of veggies, fish (tuna, salmon, sardines), chicken, spam, pasta, rice, potatoes and onions. Just use common sense.
Everyone bad mouthing these 25 year freeze dried meals, as barely edible. I’ve tried some of the items, and while not appealing to my current palate, when you get really hungry, that macaroni, and powdered cheese is gonna taste really yummy. The thing that makes them attractive, is the ability to last 25 years. Those canned goods won’t last that long, nor will your precious fresh foods. We are talking emergency rations, in maybe a SHTF scenario. What you got is going to have to be good enough. I plan my meals, around fresh foods, but I add some canned items to my menu. I have lots of canned goods, always …. but also have several months of freeze dried 25 year foods stored as well … first fresh, second canned, third and final freeze dried … should get me by till my garden gets big enough and I have the contacts to be self sufficient.
its not that its “tasty or not” its the lies they sell you as “30 days worth of food” well its more like 15 if your working hard or not. They sell you a min amount of calories
To The legend the X-SPURT the poorly hung horsefly the perfect example of what not to be.
Thanks for your wisdom. Such a joke.
seahorse you think 1500 calories is enough if your running around doing things ?
Seahorse you showed your behind here.
Raven is correct the “Survival Rations” have many “Servings” of about a tablespoon each but VERY FEW Calories.
Do you REALLY think Real World Food issues will not be here before 2023?
Orion I’ve tasted many samples over the years and aside from Mt House most are plain nasty and poor nutrition, very low calories.
I can buy for example a bucket of survival veggies OR several cases of 12 each 15.5 ounce canned veggies for that price and have money left over for some SPAM. Wanna guess which one will keep you fed better?
Thank you very much on your detailed information. I’ve been passing the word on your website.
It looks like your shopping list is lacking. I don’t see any canned meat products on the list, nor did I see any trail mix ingredients, and no mayonnaise. One month of canned meat goods for one person will just about eat your whole $65 budget. I have done essentially this menu many years back when I was dirt poor putting myself through school, it works, but you can’t pull it off for $65 a month in todays dollars.
Billie Bob try reading slower.
Span and others was mentioned in the article
Spam and canned fish were mentioned in the article but they were NOT included in the Recipes 30-Day Cost Breakdown chart. So the $65 shown in that chart does not include any animal protein sources. Bill E Bob was right about this and mayonnaise being omitted in the cost calculation.
No to low carb diet works best. There are people who have lived on nothing but meat for years and are healthier than most of us.
Chicharrons and cracklings: Buy beef or pork fat. Cook it in the crock pot and them a deep fryer to get out much of the grease. these are deep fried fat/meat and good for a lot of things. For cracklings, put in a sausage press to get more of the fat out.
Dieticians are stating meat is the best food and there’s no problems eating animal fats. But, stay away from vegetable fats, grain, and sweets. Soy is toxic. So much so, even treated it still harms animals and will you, as well. niio
You nailed it Red. Eat what God gave us and stop playing around with our food. Also, red meat is better for you than chicken and pork (that’s at the grocer). Chicken and pork are loaded with omega 6’s and cause a huge imbalance in our bodies. Then, that causes inflammation and disease. I do crave my veggies and I love blueberries and strawberries that I’ve grown.
There have been some saints who have lived off the Holy Eucharist for years at a time. Let’s not forget what the bread of angels can do for you, if you can find a priest during that upcoming chastisement.
Is there a way to access some of the much earlier articles? Particulary those about hurricane prep.
Mess around with search, you can find many years worth of articles and colorful comments, all kinds of hurricane articles.
Blog Ask A Prepper
I think this might help: Hurricane Preparedness
Don’t know where you’ll find the meat products for less than $2 a can. Spam is nearly $4, small cans of chicken are $2+,
cans of beef are $6, each. Veggies can be had on sale for less than $1, but other than gr beans, corn, & peas are over $1. Beans of any kind canned are nearly $2 ea. Your list will come out at over $100. That is for the min listed. per person.
Good article. Good list for the pantry that includes the basics and provides for some variety. Then she gives meal ideas to use the stuff. It caught my eye also that the meats are missing on the shopping list.
I feel that canned goods will make up a larger part of the first 30 days, then I will increase the rice & beans, and my own freeze-dried reserves. I hope I have enough meats to have 3oz most days. That or powdered eggs, peanut butter or something. I only want to eat beans about 3 times in any one week.
Way back in the 1960’s, the counter-culture people (old hippies) were going vegetarian or eating more veggies than had been popular in the 1950’s. The talk in those days was that all those people had a real problem with loose bowels during the diet transition. Their systems eventually got used to the transition. For today, it looks like some will have new problems with their bowels once they transition to stored foods. Maybe the best supplement for those who will be eating freeze dried foods, is to have some sprouts growing on the kitchen counter.
Or my friend Sagebrush Lin store what you eat, eat what you store.
Thus, your body is already used to eating those “storage foods”. I find eating real vs processed foods healthier.
It’s Saturday so I am starting my bean pot for next week. A pound of dry beans is an excellent side dish over the week for my house. Instead of meat being a main part of your diet you eat a little less meat and get filling beans added. All the “missing aminos” that beans lack are fulfilled with but an ounce uncooked weight meat.
Sprouts are nice IF you can (using cabbage seeds as an example) eat a few hundred cabbage seeds worth of sprouts for a nice side dish for two people OR NEED to Plant them, water them and weed them for a basic survival of one third of those seeds into 50-70 5-7 POUND Cabbages AND a few left to grow NEXT Year after for MORE SEEDS as Cabbages are Biannual seed producers.
I personally find kimchee and other fermented cabbages a fine side dish. I’ve 2 5 gallon pails fermenting right now.
That bean pot for the week sounds quite yummy. You are very right about storing foods that I would actually eat.
I have a prolific grape vine in my yard. The grapes have large seeds, thick skin and interestingly, the grapes within one bunch will ripen at different times. Eating grapes from a single bunch will result in some very sweet and others more like a sweet tart candy. The vines were here when I purchased the house though they had been left on the ground and were hidden under weeds. I have them nicely supported on supports now and they are perfectly disease free without any need for intense care. I have collected together some of things I would need to make wine but I am not sure if that is a useful activity. I live in a neighborhood of various leaning toward legalistic faiths which don’t believe in drinking alcohol so wine would have limited use as a trade item. I am open to suggestions on what to do with all those grapes. If you or anyone else has any ideas, I am open to them.
Actually, Sagebrush Lin some foods are add On’s or extenders. Grapes so far for myself are add ons. Rice and other starches extenders 🙂
However dehydrated grapes AKA Raisins are often welcome when other sources of sweeteners is rare or expensive. A framed bit of window screening (something I often refer to as something our 1800’s folks would have treasured) and a bit over the top to keep bugs off and some sunshine and your there. Just remember to take that screen in at night to keep the dew off. I find paper bags really nice for storing mine.
My grandmother’s revenge recipe for stewed garden raider used raisins.
Before Christmas came from China dried fruits and homemade treasures like scented bags with herbs and such were popular.
It’s not the first time America has faced a major depression. In my historical research I’ve found just how sanitized out “History” is about that.
Michael, I like the idea of raisins. Currently, this area has some very bright sun. It would be effective for me to build some sort of arrangement for drying outside. I do have an electric dehydrator but the sun is so intense right now that it’s quicker outside.
You are right about this not being the first time this country has experienced a little less abundance. With so many books digitized now, there are numerous books available on line now written specifically for those who live on rationed foods. A few months ago, I translated a batch of letters written in Europe and Wyoming, ranging in time between about 1910 to 1956. Such a saga of hardships as czarist time hardships, soviet era hardships and then hardship and hunger in Wyoming too. What a life of luxury we now live compared to then.
The raisin idea is a good one because all the grapes don’t have to be processed at once.
It does not matter if or if not.
YOU will eat whatever you will be able to find, good or bad.
That’s how it will be.
If you are NOT raptured, YOU will see that you will eat anything, I pray that no one will see what Hell in coming… There will be those that will not believe, and they will Parshish
Better Get a big gulp of JESUS, “He will be the only thing that will save you”…
If you survive and that is a big, big, IF you do. The hell that you will be facing is going to be like none ever has been and nothing and I mean nothing will prepare you, for what you will be going thru at the time of tribulations, it starts right after the raptured and NOTHING will prepare you for what you will be facing.
O’ and there will not be anything going on that we have or are talking about here on this site or any other site. HELL will be Apon the EARTH and Here at that time everyone will fill GOD’S wrath along with the antichrist and his hell, that he will unleash on those that will not take his number or his name.
I’m sorry that you “did not” (believe the truth) when you were shown… you, WILL FILL THE WRATH OF GOD. Because you did not BELIEVE in HIS Son. JESUS CHRIST…
are you really ready for the light of the truth.
PS: to those that laugh at what is said here, there will be a seven-year feast in Heaven and there will be seven-years of tribulations of HELL.
Then we that were caught up in the clouds will return to wage war against the devil and destroy all that are against the LORD our GOD… Even against you, if that is you left behind.
One more thing Don’t blame GOD if you did not believe in Him and or his son. God tried to reach you BUT you ran away from him. Now he will turn his back, just as you have turned yours to HIM.
Revelation 13: 14-18
Look this verse up. this is what I am saying. If you are left behind this is what you will be facing…
you ONLY get one chance.
good luck, and remember, luck brings NOTHING to the table.
A couple I know became my Tough Love heroes, after learning what they did with their kids who complained about their food. They set up a crockpot in the kitchen and kept it full of beans. And that is all they ate for several months. Periodically they would add beans and water as required to replenish the pot.
So their kids had beans every which way… with flour tortillas, corn chips, hard tacos, with every possible accoutrement: sour cream, hot sauce, you name it.
During this period, there were NO other foods allowed. They didn’t get to spend the night at friends’ houses. There was no take-out or otherwise fast food for them.
The kids learned their lesson on that one. They didn’t complain any more about the food.
I couldn’t help but think of that, in light of the discussions here.
Sadly, this violates the Pythagorean Maxim.
Doing the math, are you absolutely sure that’s 2,500 – 3,000 nutrient and protein dense calories per day … for a month? Something isn’t adding-up. Also, was this list complied and calculated using a pre-Biden inflation model? It’s a good base for a 1300 calorie per day single person food-store in a pinch if adhered-to to the literal ounce … but it doesn’t allow much leeway for the slightest deviaton or bump in the subsistence road. Neither does it do much for gut health or flavor/taste. And does it imply that a multivitamin is an afterthought? Anyways, it’s a start and certainly better-than-nothing. Thank you.
Not everyone will need the same caloric values .
Someone sitting by the window doing guard duty will not use the same as the person out cutting wood to make a fire. Common sense goes a long way , also it’s best to research these so called 30 day meal kits . Typically the cheaper they are the less caloric value they have .
Some of the less nutrient dense or highly processed foods might not be the best for daily consumption but if a person doesn’t feel well, white flour saltine crackers settle well. If the situation is stressful, then the less nutrient dense foods will be more welcome for some. It might be worthwhile to store foods that you personally find comforting when you are under the weather. Maybe even pack a few baby food jars for those times.
I see a lot of people complaining about the survival/emergency prepackaged prepared “meals” that are mostly carbs and usually only about half (or less) the calories you will need. These may get you by for a short duration, but I would not depend on them for nutritional sustainment. I have one “72-hour” meal kit that was given to me as a promotion, but I would not buy any more of the individual meal pouches – too expensive and not enough nutrition. Even so, I do have many #10 cans of Mountain House and Augason Farms freeze-dried mixes for prepared “meals”, along with #10 cans of freeze-dried ground beef and chicken, cans of freeze-dried staples like powdered eggs, bisquit/bread mix, fruits and vegetables, cheeze powder, butter powder, and other items not available from the LDS online store, and a few buckets of things like pasta and lentils, and so on, that will be used as emergency food if needed. A good source for buying a few basic long-term storage staples like rice, oatmeal, beans, sugar, flour and such is the LDS online store, including 1-gallon 7-mil sealable pouches and 300cc Oxygen absorbers. and they sell to the public, no membership required. The powdered milk has a shelf-life of 20 years, the other staples 25-30 years, but only if properly stored. You will want to supplement these staples with other long term storage foods, but even better is to supplement with grown and/or foraged edibles, including fish, meat, and poultry, especially eggs, to have a more balanced diet, as well as stretch out your long-term food supply as best as you can manage. No matter what type of foods you buy, you should always read the labels closely before purchasing.
I have a question regarding the containers for storing dry foods (rice/beans/flower/ etc)
if using seal mylar bags with O2 absorbers, is any ridged container sufficient for storage? for example most sites recommend the food grade 5 gal buckets with gamma lids. the main reason for this seems to be to keep out pests. but would the ziploc weather proof boxes would just as well if the food is seal in mylar? the reason i ask is they seem to hold more and are better for stacking.
thanks in advance
The buckets are great because they have handles….and you can move a whole bunch from point a to b, relatively fast. Plus they stack and are fairly cheap. But Yeah, of course, your food will be fine vac sealed inside of sealed plastic boxes.
Hello my name is Cheryl and I am new on Ask a Prepper but I have quite a bit of knowledge on canning and animals (butchering, tanning hides, etc.) Unfortunately I am alone for my husband passed away last year and he was very knowledgeable and if he was still here I would have the help with these things that are needed. If anyone can give me any advice on what I need to do I would appreciate it very much! I am wanting to find a place that I would be able to homestead on for I am wanting to move from California and I live in Ukiah, California and it is getting worse fast and it is getting to wear people (I) don’t at all feel safe. I would need to find someone who would be willing to help me with this? Also I will let you know (even though I am embarrassed to have to admit this) I am living month to month for I am on SSI Disability and so I asking for help ( which I don’t do usually because I was not raised to do so. I apologize for rambling on like I just did. Thank you and God bless 🙏 everyone here. Cheryl