Survival Skills Blog & Off The Grid Guides

A Winning Opportunity


I have been thinking a lot lately about my own personal preparations and it really helped me realize that I am just one person with my own personal bias towards all the things I prepare for.

The world is full of billions of other that have their own opinions of how things should be done and I want to explore what other people think.

I decided to create a contest to show just how different our opinions are on things as simple as an emergency meal plan.

And what contest is complete without the chance to win prizes.

Read below for details and see what you could win!

The first three days of any emergency crisis are always the most critical. It’s not that problems can’t or won’t occur after the initial event, but psychologically, people are dealing with the trauma of the moment and it can be difficult to think about something as simple as preparing a meal.

Especially if faced with a grid down situation… no electricity, no gas, no water.

Lets take a moment to set up the scenario:

A natural disaster has hit your area and you are in a totally unprepared grid down situation.

No gas, No electricity, no running water.

Most of the town’s infrastructure has been destroyed and mass casualties have traumatized the citizens.

The roads are all blocked and help is a long way off.

Luckily, you are healthy and your home is safe and secure.

Three days: That’s the bare minimum amount of supplies that the recommended for all citizens to have stocked.

Having three days worth of meals stocked and ready seems like a good idea right?

So here is my challenge to YOU:

  • Create a 3-day meal plan that requires no preparation other than opening the package.
  • It would need to be healthy and nutritious and require very little water consumption to process it.
    -This means that high calorie carbohydrates like pasta are out of the question.
  • You would ideally want to get as near to 2000 calories per day as possible.
    – Remember again that this needs to be balanced, no empty calories from candy bars, although if you can add a few candy bars to the whole kit, if you have calories and budget left over.  These can be more of a moral booster than nutrition.
  • These need to be “normal foods” that are available at any supermarket.
    – No MRE’s or freeze dried food allowed.
  • Every item requires a minimum of a one-year shelf life.
  • These need to be full meals, not just an entrée.
  •  Here is the real kicker. Your budget is set to $54.00 for 3 days worth of meals for one person.This gives you $6.00 per meal to budget

Here’s an example of just one lunch or dinner idea using chicken:

• canned chicken
• small jar of mayo
• small jar of pickle relish
• jar or bag of spices for chicken
• canned fruit
• a box of crackers
• cans of V-8 or similar vegetable drink
• trail mix packets or no sugar added dried cranberries (craisins)

Each meal would be packaged separately, labeled with what the meal is, and a consume by date.

Store it in a cool dry place in your pantry and be sure to keep it off the floor for both freshness and security from infestation.

Not having to focus on feeding yourself or your family allows you plenty of time to regroup and get back on your feet.

Take the Challenge & Win!

I am leaving this challenge active  until Monday February 11th at midnight.

In order to be eligible to win you need to be sure and use a valid email address and Leave your plan in the comments below.

If you are having trouble coming up with ideas for what you would put in the kit be sure to check out what other people are listing.

Remember, this is an entire meal not just an entree!

Now I couldn’t quite run a contest without offering a prize could I?

After the contest closes at midnight on Monday February 11th I will begin sorting through all of your submissions to pick the top 3 that I feel best represent the spirit of the challenge.

I will contact the winners directly through the comments on and the prizes will be as follows:

1st Place:  Lifetime Digital Access to The Lamplighter Society Newsletter and free access to When the Food Runs Out

2nd Place:  Access to When the Food Runs Out

3rd Place: A free copy of my report: How to Cook and Store Food Outside

•  BONUS POINTS: Be sure to mention if your meal plan falls into a specialized diet.

Creating a meal plan for a specialized diet (allergies, vegetarian, gluten free etc.) while still meeting all of the requirements will receive special consideration.

Here’s a few tips to help you get started:

• include all ingredients needed to make the meal

• Recipes for anything that needs additional preparation

• Try to include protein of some kind

• Careful on the sodium content!  Water will be scarce and while you do need to replenish your sodium, don’t go overboard on it; otherwise you will end up dehydrated.
• Be sure to add a fruit or vegetable of some kind.
• If the meal does require water to prepare, be sure to included it the box, but remember the food must be safe to eat out of the package, no cooking required.
• Mix it up a little, no one wants to eat the same thing over and over again.

• Don’t be afraid to get creative, not ever item needs to be bought, be sure to think of all the convenient “freebies” that are available.

• Don’t forget to check out the dollar stores to maximize your food budget.

• If you are using canned food, don’t forget to include multiple can openers!
I look forward to reading all of the brilliant ideas that you come up with and seeing just how far out of the box we can get!




  • Lori Bluemel says:

    I have been working on food and water for about a year. I watch for all sales and stock up at that time. I have just purchased another 55 gallon water barrel.

    I have discovered that my go bag is way to heavy and need to down size it. Being a woman, I keep thinking of things like personal comfort and warmth instead of the essentials so I need to work more on that.

    The problem that I have is the cost. I can only do a little at a time and trying to find a place to store everything is another big issue.

    I am in the process of trying to figure out how to communicate with my family if needed. Nothing that I have seen so far will work when my husband is out working on the road.

    Any ideas with communication would be helpful.




  • Dan says:

    I understand the $54 and 9 meal limit and 1 year shelf life. Can I include a cooking technique for certain meals as long as the food is edible as is (uncooked) and you stay under budget? I think this should easilly feed 2 for the 3 days.



  • AZMark says:

    • canned tuna
    • small bottle of Ranch dressing (or other multi-use condiment)
    • individual/personal salt and pepper packets (the kind you get at a fast food restaurant)
    • mustard, hot sauce, ketchup packets for variety (the kind you get at a fast food restaurant)
    • canned vegetables
    • sealed box of crackers
    • bottled water
    • multi-vitamin supplement
    • raisins/dried fruit
    • unsalted sunflower or pumpkin seeds
    • granola, Cliff, protein bar

    Ration and package (seal) each meal separately; store in Tupperware to protect from air and moisture
    Label each sealed meal with its contents, and “expiration date.”
    Cool/dry storage, raised from the floor.



  • Melissa says:

    Do the items have to come in individual packages or can you buy a larger package and split it up yourself provided it would not affect the use by date? Are the utensils, can opener and the package for each meal included in the total cost?



    • Joe Joe says:

      the utensils don’t need to be included in the cost, I am posing this under the assumption that you have at least one can opener, if you have the ability to properly split and store the items without messing with the expiration date then sure.



  • Mona says:

    Lunch or dinner:
    1 Spam, 1 green beans, 2 cans Chef Bor R.Dee Mac.’n cheese, 1 canned peaches, 3 bottles water= about $7.00.

    1Lg. can Dinty Moore Beef stew, 1 can Brown bread, 3 bottles water, about $7.00.

    Lg. Can Chili, crackers (free or part of a box, sealed.)1 can of corn, 1 can fruit cocktail, 3 bottles water. About $6.00

    Three cans lg. Progresso (or any ready to eat soup) crackers (see above) 1 can pears, 3 bottles water. About $5.00.

    Throwing in 3 teabags per dinner is cheap. Maybe take home extra sugar or honey packets from fast food or deli, or add a small baggy of sugar per meal packet. There are individual packets of flavoring for your water bottle too.
    You CAN eat this cold, but I have a rocket stove, (check out youtube to learn how to make one for cheap!) and a wood stove with a flat top to heat stuff on.



  • randy says:

    hi could someone please tell me what (can brown bread) is and where can I look it up?



  • Ron says:

    I have traveled worldwide, when traveling in areas with food illness issues I’ve made use of the new can free tuna or chicken pouches, making a very nice cold salad from condiment packages. I often prepack in a zip lock bag, 1 pouch of tuna/chicken, condiments, spoon, napkin and piece of hard candy. Makes for a pretty satisfying meal with crackers. Another meal uses the relatively new “90 second rice” pouches best if heated but essentially already cooked ad one can of chuck style soap of choice it can also be eaten cold.

    Total Supplies for 72 hours for one person:
    3 mutli vitamin & mineral packets, 1 per day
    3 Tuna/Chicken foil pouches, not cans
    1 box pop tarts
    1 small box cereal single serve or cliff bars 2-3, breakfast bars 2-3
    3-6 fiber pills (reduce hunger pangs, keep things moving through your system smoothly, but only take if you have adequate water)
    3 pre portioned trail mix packets, dried fruit, one per day snack
    2- 90 second rice
    3 cans of “Chucky” Soap, mix it up
    3 gallons of water
    3-6 single serve powered drink mix, like gator aid or tang with electrolytes
    10-12 Condiment packages & curry spice, salt & pepper, hot sauce
    3-6 pre portioned Crackers in small package
    1 rolls livesavers or hard candy of choice

    Typical daily meal plan
    Day one:
    Breakfast: pop tarts or cereal, bars & vitamin pill, fiber pill if you have adequate water.
    Lunch: Tuna or chicken (in foil poaches, not canned, self-life 3 years,lighter weight than cans)
    Condiments available at fast food (Pickle Relish, Mustard, & Mayo, etc…)
    Crackers in small package
    Small “curry” spice, a few packets salt & pepper
    Emergency on the go Tuna or Chicken salad: Mix in foil pouch, pinch of curry, 2 relishes, 2 mayo, 1 mustard, pinch of salt and pepper, and serve over crackers.
    Soap & Rice, can be eaten cold but better if heated
    Trail mix snack and/or candy
    Add Drink mix to drinking water, to help with electrolytes and prevent hydration



Leave A Reply