It’s important when embarking on long term food storage to have a survival food list to go by. This list helps with planning and inventory – knowing what you’re working toward and also what work you’ve already done.
When creating a survival food list, consider what you like to eat and what would be a good foundation if this food was all you had to eat for a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months.
When choosing the best survival food to store, here are a few guidelines.
Choose foods that:
1 – Store well long term
2 – You and your family like to eat
3 – Have higher-than-average nutritional value
4 – Fit your budget guidelines
Choose your core foods for the foundation of your long term food storage. Make a plan for either six months or 1 year ahead based on your family size. When I first started out, I planned for purchasing a one year’s supply of a few core food items. These items were wheat, dried beans, and oats. These were foods that store well and our family likes.
However, we have needed to build upon that supply and eventually added dried milk powder, vegetables, and canned meats and fruit. Many items do well when rotated (that’s what the Mormons do, who are pro’s at long term food storage).
The most important part is to not fret about what foods you start with – Just get started somewhere!
Even if you only store up a one month’s supply of dried beans extra, you’re ahead of most people. Most people only have enough food in their house for a week or two, and many of those things need to be refrigerated or frozen.
Once you get started, even if it’s with just one item, then you will begin to think differently and will automatically begin a habit of planning for your food storage needs. Hopefully, I can help you get started down this path. It’s very rewarding to know that you have extra food stored in case of emergencies.
What To Store
– Food (beans, grains, vegetables, meat)
– Spices/Seasonings (garlic, pepper, basil, oregano, onions, chili powder, etc.)
– Baking Ingredients (sugar, baking powder, soda, salt, honey, vinegar)
Choose Foods That Store Well Long Term
When creating my initial survival food list, one of the first things I thought of was whether or not the foods would store well long term. Some of these foods include beans, grains, canned goods, freeze-dried foods, and dehydrated foods. I like to have a wide variety, but I started out small in the beginning. My initial foods storage consisted of lentils, rice, wheat, and oats.
I initially got brown rice instead of white, as it’s more nutritious and what our family eats, but I soon realized (after purchasing a bulk supply) that brown rice does not store well long term unless you freeze it. It gets rancid due to the oils in it. We did freeze ours and used it over time, but white rice is a better option for long term storage, as you don’t need to freeze it to keep it fresh (you can pack it in pails with oxygen absorbers just like beans).
After the beans and grains, I soon added some canned goods such as pineapple, tuna, and salmon as well as some freeze-dried veggies. I though carrots and broccoli were two good choices for starters. We like them, and they are highly nutritious. They can be used in soups, casseroles, and stir fries and would be great to have in freeze dried form in case we don’t have access to fresh veggies.
I also purchased some #10 cans of powdered milk, eggs, butter, and baking powder. Then I purchased a box or two of baking soda each month (baking soda is great for relieving heartburn or intestinal gas and is also a great cleaner along with being needed in many baked goods) as well as salt. Stocking up little by little on these staple items is a smart move.
So that was my first goal – to get a basic foundational food storage reserve for one year that included beans, grains, meat, fruits, veggies, and baking ingredients. I still didn’t have any freeze-dried beef or chicken, but meats are not a necessity when you have another protein source in beans. Having a variety of different forms is also a good idea – stored in pails, #10 cans of freeze dried, and canned.
Choose Foods You & Your Family Like to Eat
You may not like lentils. So choose a bean you and your family like. Pintos, black beans, or navy beans are all good choices. It’s a good idea to have at least some beans stored due to their high protein and nutrient content and long shelf life. I also stored up canned beans for convenience. You may not always have the time to soak or cook beans, so you can simply open a can and not even have to heat it. Canned goods are typically more expensive, but there’s definitely a place in your food storage plan for them.
You may not like pineapple, but find a canned fruit that you and your family do enjoy – or can your own. Fruits are typically high in vitamin C and other vitamins that your body will need during an emergency situation. They also add life to what may otherwise be a drab menu. I chose pineapple packed in pineapple juice, which gives a two-fold benefit – the fruit and the juice to drink.
Canned meat is a good option for your food storage, even if you plan to purchase freeze dried or can your own. Salmon is very nutritious, and we like to eat it from the can by making either salmon cakes or simply heating it up to serve plain with veggies. Find a canned meat you like, but beware that many are highly processed and may contain an extreme amount of salt (which will make you more thirsty and in need of more to drink). Many people stock up on spam and canned chili. If you like these and can eat them before their expiration date if no emergency occurs within that time – go for it.
Choose Foods That Have Higher-Than-Average Nutritional Value
Try to avoid ramen noodles and other foods that have little nutritional value. They may be nice as a treat during an emergency (which is important as well), but you don’t want your whole diet to consist of them during an emergency. My advice is to stock up on the most nutritional things first, then you can add special things later as you get the core of your supply set up.
Choose Foods That Fit Your Budget Guidelines
Unless you have extra money lying around, you probably don’t want to order freeze-dried filet mignon (not sure if that’s even available). If you have the money, however, and you want to just order a year’s supply of #10 cans in order to avoid the hassle of setting it up slowly – you should do that. My purpose is to help guide you to get something stored up. If it’s a can of beans per month – you’re ahead of most people. If you buy a 25-pound bag of dried beans per month – that’s a fantastic place to start. Buying 10 extra cans of veggies per month puts you ahead of most. Most people go to the grocery store multiple times per week and don’t have enough food in their house to last more than a week. You’ll be glad for any extras you can stock up on now should a disaster come your way.
A Sample Survival Food List
Here’s a sample survival food list that may help you when getting started on your food storage:
1 – Dry Lentils
2 – Canned Salmon
3 – Canned Fruit
4 – Wheat
5 – Rice
6 – 2 Freeze-Dried Veggies of Choice
7- Salt, black pepper, spices, seasonings that you use often
8- Baking ingredients such as sugar, baking powder, baking soda, etc.