No matter how many times I write about food, there is always something new to consider or a new way to present the same old information. With that in mind, today I would like to share a method for getting started with your food storage program in an easy, step by step, and cost-effective manner.
My goal with this article is that I want to help you know how to get started with food storage the easy way. No frills, no fluff – just a common sense list of food items to get you started.
With that goal in mind, let me say this: this is not a list of items intended for deep storage. Nor is it a list of items with 25-year expiration dates. I am also not going to list items that might be difficult to find or too costly to fit neatly into your weekly shopping budget.
These 20 items can easily be purchased at your local grocery store, warehouse club, and Amazon. Consider getting each of the items on the list over time so that you are more than prepared when disaster strikes.
20 items to kick-start your food storage plan
1. 20 pounds of Rice
As boring as it may sound, rice is one of the backbones of every food storage plan. It is filling, nutritious and with the use of varied seasonings and condiments, highly palatable in a variety of tasty meals. The choice of white, brown or a combination of the two is up to you. White rice has a longer shelf life, but brown rice has more nutritional benefits. Personally, I like to combine the two along with Jasmine, Basmati, and Calrose sticky rice.
2. 20 pounds of Pinto Beans
Like rice, beans are the backbone of every food storage plan. You may substitute white, kidney or other types of dried beans, but honestly, pintos are some of the least expensive dried beans, and in my opinion, the tastiest.
3. 20 cans of Vegetables
Green beans, peas, corn and canned tomatoes are good choices. Let your taste and budget guide you. Buy only what you currently eat and enjoy.
4. 20 cans of Fruit
Peaches, pears, pineapple, fruit cocktail – again, this is your choice. Fruits add a subtle sweetness to life, and when you are in a survival situation, can boost morale.
5. 20 cans of Meat
Chicken, tuna, shrimp, salmon, Vienna sausages, beef stew and yes, even the ubiquitous Spam will satisfy this requirement. Again, let your taste and budget guide you – there are lots to choose from.
6. 4 pounds Oats
A bowl of oatmeal topped with canned fruit can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
7. 2 large jars of Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein, with plenty of calories for energy and sustenance. Besides, who can resist the taste of a gooey spoonful of luscious peanut butter?
8. 2 large jars of Tang or another powdered drink mix
The only requirement here is to get something you like and something fortified with Vitamin C. I am not going to preach and tell you to avoid artificial sweeteners. If Crystal Lite works for you in normal times, go for it.
9. 5 pounds of Powdered Milk
Milk is a great source of protein and other nutrients. Also it is filling and can be used to top your oatmeal cereal or stirred into your coffee as a flavor enhancer.
10. 5 pounds of Salt
It goes without saying that salt is essential for survival, plus it has a lot of uses other than as an enhancement for food. That said, our bodies need salt to survive.
Read more about salt in the article Reasons You Need Salt in the Prepper Pantry.
11. 10 pounds of Pancake Mix
An all-in-one pancake mix (such as Krusteaz) only requires the addition of water to make up a batch of batter. As with oatmeal, a big plate of pancakes, perhaps with some honey or jam, will make a satisfying meal that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
12. 2 pounds of Honey and 2 large jars of Jam
We all need some sweetness in our life. I choose honey and jam over sugar, but at the end of the day, you can make a substitution or simply mix and match.
13. 10 pounds of Pasta
Pasta is familiar and easy to fix. Pasta is a dense form of wheat, but so much easier to deal with when you are first starting out. Besides, it is a fabulous comfort food.
14. 10 cans or jars of Spaghetti Sauce
Cheap yet satisfying, canned sauce on a bed of pasta creates a satisfying meal that can be put together in minutes.
Editor’s Note: You’re Survival Food Stockpile is Missing THIS!
15. 20 cans of Soup or Broth
The beauty of canned soups and canned broth is that they are budget friendly. Soups are an all-in-one meal solution. All you need is a can opener and a spoon, and you have a meal ready to go. For an extra satisfying meal, try using a can of soup as part of the cooking water for your rice. Yummy!
16. One large jug of Oil
Choose olive oil, coconut oil or some other cooking oil, but be sure that you get some. Oil is essential for good health, fueling our energy stores and providing support for fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients as they work their way through our system. Not only that, but a bit of fat in your diet adds flavor and makes you feel satisfied when you are done eating.
17. Spices and Condiments
Adding some spices and condiments to your food storage pantry will allow you to vary the taste of your storage foods, thus mitigating some of the boredom that is likely to occur over time. The exact mix of spices and condiments is up to you, but some suggestions include garlic, chili, Tabasco (hot sauce), salsa, oregano, thyme, and black pepper.
18. 5 pounds of Coffee or 100 Tea Bags
There are those that will say that life without coffee is no life at all. Whole bean (assuming you have a hand grinder), ground or instant – your choice. Or substitute tea. Green tea and many herbal teas are quite therapeutic, so if you like tea, this may be a good way to go.
19. 2 large bags of Hard Candies
Hard candy can go a long way toward making an unpleasant situation bearable. Butterscotch drops, peppermints, and even lemon drops are good. Have fun with this and pick up a couple of bags of your favorites!
20. Mini LED Flashlight and Extra Batteries
Okay, this is a cheat item. It is not food but it is incredibly important, and it will not hurt to stash a miniature flashlight or two along with the edibles in your food storage pantry. My top pick of the moment in the Blocklite. This thing just goes and goes, plus, it does not take up any storage space.
But What About the Wheat and Flour?
So you noticed!
There are no wheat berries or other whole grains (other than oats/oatmeal) on this list, and there is also no flour. While there is a place for these items in a long-term storage plan, I consider them part of the second phase of food storage.
The truth is that many preppers would not have a clue as to what to do with wheat, so why push the envelope?
The same goes with flour. To make flour usable, you would need yeast and baking powder plus the skill and knowledge to bake. Not only that, you most likely will need an outdoor oven of sorts – especially if the grid is down post-disaster.
That, and more will come later, but for now, while covering the basics, it is much simpler and far more practical to stick with easy-to-cook foods that can be combined into interesting meals without the need for much experience other than opening a can or a package.
As you read through this list, I hope you can visualize the meals that can be made by mixing and matching the items listed in the kick-start plan. How about some rice, salsa and canned chicken cooked into a casserole in your cast iron skillet? Or pancakes topped with canned peaches and honey? Then there are pinto beans, combined with rice and corn and topped with a bit of Tabasco for a fiesta-style meal.
Is this a complete list of everything you will need to be fully prepared food-wise? Not in the least!
Truthfully, you will need to prepare quite a bit of food, as well as appropriate packaging methods (Mylar bags or buckets plus oxygen absorbers) to ensure that your food will remain viable and pest free for years to come.
But for now, we are more focused on just getting started our rounding out our basic survival pantry. For that, these 20 items will do just fine.
Have you started preparing your own survival pantry yet? Let us know in the comments below!