Many families put together a food storage plan in order to be prepared for emergencies. Earthquakes, tornadoes, blizzards, hurricanes, even flash floods can cause grocery stores to shut down and can cause roads to be unsafe for travel. It is always a good idea to be prepared just in case you end up not having access to places that sell food.
For many people who are starting a long-term plan, the ultimate goals is to have one-year of food on hand. Here are some basic tips on how to plan for a one-year food supply.
Calculate How Much You’ll Need
Start by calculating the amount of boxed food, dried food, and canned food your family eats during an average week. These are items such as macaroni and cheese, canned vegetables and fruits, canned meats like tuna, boxed meals, etc.
Come up with alternatives for protein foods you normally buy and refrigerate or freeze. Substitutes like packages of beans, flakes, granules, vegetable protein chunks, tofu, canned meats and canned fish have long shelf-lives. This ensures that your family has an adequate supply of protein in their diet during an emergency.
Write down all these amounts, making sure to include baby food and infant formula, and be sure to include water in your calculations. You can use foodinsurance.com’s food storage calculator to help with this.
Buying Your One-Year Food Supply
Buying an entire year worth of food at one time is an investment. If you are like most people, you may not be able to purchase an entire year’s worth at once. However, you always can buy a few months at a time, or even stock up each time you go to the grocery store. Each time you go grocery shopping, add items for your food storage plan to your shopping list. Find bulk items that are on sale, buy them and store them.
Another great idea is to buy the items on your regular grocery list in larger quantities. For example, instead of purchasing one 24-pack of bottled water, buy two. Instead of buying a 4-pack of tuna, buy two packs. Keep the extra items in your food storage supply, and make sure to replace them when you use them.
In order to ensure that your food storage plan for one-year works out, you must maximize your food’s shelf-life. The first step in doing this is to make sure the room stays dry at all times. Keep foods away from appliances that use water and may leak, such as washers, water heaters and refrigerators. You also want to keep the food away from appliances such as dryers, fireplaces and heaters. These appliances can cause your food items to sweat and not last as long.
Make sure to store your foods in a room that says cool at all times. Basements and closets are generally good places for storing food. Depending on where you live, an insulated garage may also be a good place. While garages, in most regions, tend to stay very cold in the winter they can get very hot during the summer. You need to ensure that your storage room is cool all year round.
Rotating your food also extends shelf-life. Be sure to mark your foods clearly with purchase and expiration dates. Put the oldest foods in the front of your shelves and as their expiration dates get close, go ahead and eat them. Then, replace them with new food, placing the new at the back of the shelf. Check your dates regularly. The last thing you need is to be in an emergency situation and find out that all of your food storage has expired.
Following all of these guidelines will help your family have an adequate food supply.
Contributed by Michael Clark, a Food Insurance™ Guest Author