Emergency Preparedness Homelife — 16 December 2012

Food Storage is definitely one of the first things that pops into my head when I think of things I need to do to prepare for an emergency.  I guess that is why I chose to tackle the food storage project as my first project for 2013.  Are you planning a way to store food also?

As with most things, planning, organizing, and carrying out food storage for your family can be a daunting task.  So the first step is planning for what types of food I need, and how much.

What Type of Food?

The idea is to store what you eat.  The tricky part is being able to store that type of food for long periods of time.  Food is perishable, and you never know when disaster or emergencies will arise.  So proper planning is needed to know not only what to store, but how much to store, and how to store it.  Your long term food storage list may be completely different than your neighbors.

The first step in planning what food to store is to make a list of the most common meals that your family eats.  For example, you might choose 5 breakfast, 5 lunch, and 10 dinners that your family prepares on a regular basis. Write down the ingredients needed for each of these meals.  It may help if you organize this in a spreadsheet that looks something like this:

Spreadsheet of Common Meals and Ingredients

Meals are written across the top row, and ingredients are written down the first column.  The amount of each ingredient (ex. 2 cups honey) can then be written in for each meal.  This of course can be modified to include more meals that just 5 or 10 for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Perhaps your pallet is more refined and you can list off 20 different meals you commonly eat.  Don’t forget vegetables, breads, and desserts.

How much food to Store?

I’ve modeled my plan after a Utah State University Cooperative Extension document named “A Management Plan for Home Food Storage” written by Rebecca Low and Georgia Lauritzen (you can find this here).  They suggest that about 80% of the food you eat comes from the same meals.  The other 20% of the food come from other meals and food eaten less frequently.  This includes short term seasonal food, and special meals.  You can account for this in your food storage by keeping additional long term basic storage such beans, rice, and wheat that will sustain life.

Once all of the ingredients for each meal are written out, you can extrapolate the amount of food you need for a years supply.  Sum all the ingredients for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner separately.  So now, for example, for butter you may have 2 cups for breakfast, 1 cup for Lunch, and 4 cups for Dinner.  To extrapolate this to a years supply use the following equation:

(X/Y)*(356 Days)*0.8


X = Amount of ingredient (ex. butter, flour, sugar, etc…)

Y = Number of meals (ex. there were 5 meals for breakfast in the image above.)

Once you’ve carried out this equation for all the ingredients for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, now you can sum together the total for each ingredient.  This will give you the total amount of storage food you need for 80% of your meals.

Rounding it off

You may want to convert from measurements in volumes to measurements in weights.  Buying in bulk for some items may be easier if you know how many lbs or kilograms you need (instead of Cups or Tablespoons). To take care of the other 20% of meals, look for the missing ingredients that you use in less common meals.  For example, have you included any cream of tartar, or cinnamon?  Storing spices and other less common ingredients will provide more opportunity for improvising and changing of meals for what you have listed.

I recommend comparing you list to other published list to see if you are in the ballpark.  Remember, your family may require more or less than these other published lists.  The following is a recommendation that was put on http://www.thefoodguys.com/foodcalc.html and was based on the “Home Production and Storage Manual” by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Food Storage Recommendations Per Person Per Year
Per ChildPer AdultAdult (ages 7+) Child (ages below 7 y.o.)
75150lbs of Wheat
1225lbs of Flour
1225lbs of Corn Meal
1225lbs of Oats
2550lbs of Rice
1225lbs of Pasta
148300lbs Total Grains
1530lbs of Dry Beans
15lbs of Lima Beans
510lbs of Soy Beans
15lbs of Split Peas
15lbs of Lentils
15lbs of Dry Soup Mix
2460lbs Total Legumes
Fats and Oils
24lbs of Shortening
12gal of Vegtable Oil
12qts of Mayonaise
11qts of Salad Dressing
24lbs of Peanut Butter
1325lbs Total Fats and Oils
Milk and Dairy
3060lbs of Dry Milk
612cans of Evaporated Milk
613lbs of Other Dairy
3775lbs of Total Milk and Dairy
13lbs of Honey
2040lbs of Sugar
13lbs of Brown Sugar
11lbs of Molasses
13lbs of Corn Syrup
13lbs of Jams
36lbs of Powdered Fruit Drink
11lbs of Flavored Gelatin
2960lbs Total Sugars
Cooking Essentials
11lbs of Baking Powder
11lbs of Baking Soda
0.50.5lbs of Yeast
35lbs of Salt
0.50.5gal of Vinegar
2040lbs of Flavored Apples
2040lbs of Applesauce
1530lbs of Banana Chips
17.535lbs of Fruit Mixture
2040lbs of Fruit Juices
92.5185lbs Total Fruits
1530lbs of Corn
1530lbs of Peas
1530lbs of Green Beans
1530lbs of Carrots
2040lbs of Potatoes
2.55lbs of Onions
1020lbs of Tomatoes
92.5185lbs Total Vegetables

Another great site is foodstoragemadeeasy.net, the site has an excel spreadsheet that you can download and it calculated a recommended amount of food for your family.  The spreadsheet can be downloaded here.



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(5) Readers Comments

  1. Is the above list your family list or is this just the model you intend to do as part of your project?

  2. The method seems very sound to me and makes sense.

  3. The conversion chart is great. I agree with you that you need to store what you eat and I really like your method of storing for planned meals. Good idea. I usually just stock up on a bunch of things, but having planned meals would be better. Rather than store a bunch of canned goods, I think it is best to get use to eating the raw grains. My kids usually prefer homemade granola anyway. Do you have any suggestions for rice? I’ve decided we need to have two methods. The white rice stores so much longer, but the good quality brown rice has a short shelf life. So, we have the buckets of white rice in food storage and the small container in the kitchen of brown. Thanks!

    • Hi Susan! I am planning to only store white rice for long term storage. From what I understand the brown rice will only store for about 3 – 6 months. I’ve read that you can keep brown rice frozen for longer storage, but I’m not sure how much longer. Isn’t rice great? It can go with so many meals.

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