Guest post by Dirk Puckett.
Many people recognize the wisdom of preparing for a natural disaster by storing up extra food. However, it can be tricky to figure out exactly what kind of food you’ll need and what types work best. Resist the urge to go out and spend hundreds of dollars all at once.
Here are 7 things you can do over the next two months to start your emergency food supply that won’t break the bank.
1. Buy a little extra every week. Whenever you go to the grocery store, buy a few extra items of the things you use a lot that store well. This could be a few extra cans of tuna, some cans of your favorite soups or some extra pasta and sauce—whatever you normally buy that doesn’t need refrigeration. After a month or two, you’ll have a nice start to your emergency food storage consisting of foods you actually like to eat.
2. Store water. Bottled water is more expensive than what comes from the tap, but in an emergency situation, you may not have access to water or it may be contaminated. Purchase cases of bottled water at the store and collect enough for each person in your family to have at least 2 quarts per day.
3. Build a 72-hour kit for each person. Ideally, in a natural disaster, you’ll be able to stay in your home, but if you have to evacuate, you’ll want to take some supplies with you. Create a 72-hour kit for each family member that is portable and contains everything you’d need to make it through the next three days. Pack lightweight, healthy food and plenty of water, as well as toiletries, first aid and extra clothes
4. Invest in a variety of foods. Expand on a basic food storage palate and include a range of menu options. For example, instead of investing in 40 lbs. of kidney beans, purchase 10 lb. bags each of black beans, lentils, black eyed peas, cannellini beans and kidney beans. Another example is to avoid stocking up on plain spaghetti sauce—add pesto sauce, white sauce and other sauces to your storage. You’ll avoid appetite fatigue when you give yourself options for different tastes.
5. Add comfort foods. In a stressful situation, your mind and body will enjoy even the smallest relief from stress. Once you have the basic food necessary to survive, start adding comfort food to your food storage supplies. Ideas include cookies, hard candy, hot cocoa mix and packs of your favorite gum. Taking some time to enjoy your comfort foods will help normalize things, even if only a little bit.
6. Stock up on vitamins. In an emergency situation, especially one that lasts for weeks instead of days, your diet will be all over the place. Ensure that you get the vitamins and minerals your body needs by stocking up on daily supplements that you can take to compliment your emergency food meals.
7. Pet food. Your pet is like a member of your family, so don’t forget to add to your emergency food storage the food and treats that keep your dog or cat happy and healthy. Dry pet food has a long shelf life and it wouldn’t take much to add an extra bag or two to the shopping cart when you go.
Dirk Puckett enjoys writing about camping, outdoor adventures and a self-sufficient lifestyle. He’s also a big fan of integrating freeze dried food from Daily Bread into family food storage and emergency preparedness plans.