Survival Food List – What To Store

Survival Food List - What To Store

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

First steps:

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.

9- Water

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Emergency Water Storage and Filtration

Emergency water storage is a very important part of preparedness.

Water is essential for life. In fact, it’s more important than food for survival. One can survive many weeks without food, but only one week at the most without water. So don’t underestimate the importance of water storage in your food storage plan.

Water storage includes physically storing water for long term as well as having filtering options should your drinking water storage dry up. Rain-catching apparatus is also recommended, such as a rain barrel, if not for personal use, it could greatly benefit your garden. Therefore, I recommend immediate water storage in the form of purchasing bottled water or bottling your own as well as planning ahead with water filtration options (one portable for on-the-go and one larger stationary for at home) and rain-catching methods such as a rain barrel or two.

You can start out simple by purchasing bottled water or bottling your own and obtaining a portable water filter. We purchased these emergency water storage boxes from Emergency Essentials and added some chlorine bleach for the killing of bacteria. I highly recommend them, as they’re very easy to stack without the wasted space of bottles (due to them being square). We also have a portable water filter, which will be able to filter stream or lake water if we have the need. It’s also light and can be carried in our bug-out-bag should we have need to leave where we are.

How Much Emergency Water Storage Do You Need?

It’s recommended to have at least 1-2 gallons per person per day stored – that’s at least 365 gallons for a year’s supply for one person. This water will be used for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. If you’ve ever had to go without water, even for a short time, you know how much water is typically used to brush teeth and rinse dry beans, not to mention take a bath. Yes, you can conserve, but it’s best to store on the extravagant side just in case.

Water Storage Tips: Our Method of Bottling Water

At first we reused large soda bottles (don’t use milk cartons), but then we invested in water boxes from Emergency Essentials. They are very sturdy and easy to pack without wasted space. My husband filled them with the included hose and added about a teaspoon of chlorine bleach to each 5-gallon box to help keep bacteria at bay.

Read more about these emergency water storage boxes and purchase.

We also have a portable water filter with our bug-out-bag, the Katadyn Hiker. It’s a fairly inexpensive option, but yet a wise one for extra peace of mind in an emergency situation.

Go with an even higher priced one if you can afford it. We got this early on so we would have something portable for filtering stream or lake water, but we plan to purchase the Katadyn Pocket filter as finances allow.


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10 Pantry Essentials to Jump Start Your Stockpile

One of the most important aspects of storing food for an emergency situation is to JUST GET STARTED. But for many (me included), it’s tough to know where to start. If that’s the case, this post is for you. If you’ve already started and have a decent foundation, this post is for you too. Don’t pass up the opportunity to get nuggets concerning what to store, how to store, or any other aspect of food storage. It’s an ongoing process – not a destination where one day you arrive. Make stocking up a habit and a lifestyle, and it will serve you and your family well even if no emergency occurs.

Not all these foods are long term and will need to be rotated.  I recommend having both foods that store long term as well as short-term items that you need to rotate, as preparedness is best done when you make it a way of life and not just a one-time event.

1. Grains. Including wheat, rice, oats, buckwheat, quinoa, dry corn, etc.  Start with 5-10 pounds. Grains can be used for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Even if you don’t have a grinder to turn the wheat into flour, you can cook it like rice and eat it for breakfast or as a side dish with veggies.

For rice, choose white. I made the mistake of buying large bags of brown rice when I first got started with my food storage – then I found out that it doesn’t store well due to the oil content. If you’re like me and love the many delicious brown and red rice varieties available, you can store them for shorten periods in your freezer (about a year at a time), storing only what you will use during that time, but it’s not a good long-term solution.

Oats are great for breakfast, but you can also make them a savory addition to your meal just like you would use rice by adding butter, cheese, or any of your favorite seasonings as a side dish.

2. Beans.  Including pintos, lentils, navy beans, black beans, etc.  Start with 5-10 pounds.  Beans are a prepping staple, and for good reason. They’re delicious, nutritious, inexpensive, and can be stored for a long time under proper conditions. I like lentils due to their high nutrition content and small size. Because they’re small, they don’t soak up as much water when cooking like the larger beans. However, I do like to store a variety of different beans because I just love to eat them – like pintos, navy beans, split peas, and black beans.

3. Vegetables.  Including broccoli, carrots, peas, cabbage, etc. – canned and/or freeze dried.  Make sure to stock up on plenty of vegetables as well. Start with 10-20 cans (or a case) and/or 1 -2 #10 size cans of freeze dried.  Some good choices include peas, green beans, carrots, and corn.  It may go without saying, but choose ones that you like and will eat.

You’ll need to rotate your canned goods, so they are more a short-term solution, so I like to stock up on both canned and freeze dried in order to get all my bases covered. The more variety and options you have, the better prepared you will be.  A can organizer (LIKE THIS ONE) is a good idea to help you make sure you are using up your oldest canned goods first.

4. Fruit.  Including pineapple, peaches, pears, etc. – canned and/or freeze dried.  Fruit is important to have not only due to its sweetness and varied flavors, but also for the vitamin C content in most fruits. I like to store canned pineapple in its own juice, but peaches, pears, and mixed fruit are also good choices. Get what you like and will eat (or can your own). For long term, purchasing freeze dried fruits is the way to go.  Start with 10-20 cans (or a case) and/or 1-2 freeze dried #10 cans.

5. Meats.  Including salmon, tuna, chicken, beef, etc. – canned and/or freeze dried.  Meats are an essential protein source for those of us who are not vegetarians. I make sure to have plenty of canned salmon and tuna in the house, as they typically have a very far off “use by” date (sometimes as long as 10 years out).

Freeze dried is a great option as well, although it can be difficult to find varieties that don’t have MSG or other additives. I personally want to purchase foods that are as healthy as possible, as that’s what I eat now. Canning your own meats and making your own meat jerky each year is another great option to make sure you have meat on hand. If you also learn to hunt, clean, butcher, and preserve your own meats – all the better for any long-term emergency situation.

6. Seasoning.  Including salt, pepper, garlic powder, taco powder, ketchup, hot sauce, etc.  Seasonings are crucial to making your food tasty when times get difficult. If you don’t know how to add seasonings to your favorite foods – now is the time to learn. Don’t wait until an emergency strikes! If you begin to learn basic cooking skills and discover what your preferences are in terms of flavoring, you will know what seasonings to stock up on and will do much better in a survival situation. If you wait, you may just end up having to eat bland, tasteless foods during a very stressful time.

7. Water. The most important item for you to stock up on. Start out by making 10-20 gallons your goal. You can add more later, but having this amount will be a good start. It’s advised to have at least one gallon of water stored per person per day, two gallons per person per day being ideal. We have and use these water boxes from Emergency Essentials. They are very sturdy, easy to fill, and stack nicely.

8. Beverages. Other than water, make sure to include other beverages such as coffee, tea, powdered milk, hot cocoa mix, Tang, or other powdered drink mixes, canned juices.  If you drink coffee, be sure to have a non-electric coffee brewing option as well, like an enamel or stainless steel percolator (LIKE THIS ONE). This can double as a tea pot as well or simply a pot you use for boiling water for whatever you need (MRE’s, etc.)

9. Oils.  Including coconut, olive, etc.  Oils will need to be rotated every year or two, so make sure you keep track of the expiration dates and store them in a cool place. Coconut oil can last up to two years, and it’s a very healthy oil to include in your diet (one of the best). The smoke point of coconut oil is higher than most oils, making it an ideal oil for frying. I also like to keep olive oil on hand, which typically has a one-year shelf life. You can store and use other oils as you like, but I recommend these two as the most healthy.

10. Sweeteners.  Including sugar, honey, etc.  I keep at least a few pounds of granulated sugar as well as several gallons of honey on hand at all times. Both keep for very long periods of time, so you don’t need to rotate them as long as you have them appropriately sealed and stored. It’s important to keep both tightly sealed to prevent insect or rodent invasion. We keep raw local honey, as it’s not only very tasty but also very effective for allergy and cold prevention.  Honey can be used to sweeten tea, coffee, and other hot beverages as well as syrup for pancakes or waffles and in baking (with proper knowledge of reducing other liquids in the recipe).

In conclusion, use this list as a starting point to make sure you have something stored up for future emergencies. None of us are immune to power outages or civil unrest – not to mention even more severe disasters. Having enough food on hand so you don’t have to fight the hoards at the grocery store can go a long way toward your family’s peace of mind.