How can you keep your family fed in an emergency? By relying on these ten preps:
1. Know Your Emergencies
The first step towards feeding yourself and your family in an emergency is knowing your possible scenarios. Any security achieved through prepping without this step is essentially won by luck.
Being aware of the types of disasters that could strike you, what they would mean for your food supply and their likelihood makes you better able to prepare for them.
Ideally, you would only need to prepare for the longest and most difficult of the disasters that could plausibly strike your family, but few people can organize such extensive preps quickly.
Instead, be aware of even the smaller situations that could strike you and which ones are most likely. I am talking about common scenarios such as suddenly being without any income.
Start by preparing for those less life-threatening, but still food supply–endangering, situations, and then grow your supplies to cover greater disasters over the long term.
That way, if something that is less serious but more likely happens before you achieve full zombie apocalypse readiness, you will be prepared to handle the minor setback.
2. Calculate Your Needs
Don’t prep haphazardly. Look seriously at the needs of all of your family members and take them into account.
If you don’t know how much each person eats on a daily basis, keep food diaries to calculate your caloric intake and how many meals you need daily to feel full.
These days it’s easy. Use an online calorie calculator to check what you ought to be eating to maintain your current body weight based on your age, gender, weight and activity level (and don’t forget to consider increased activity during a disaster). There are even apps with barcode scanners that let you easily track your meals and snacks.
To ensure that you don’t consistently go over your planned intake, create a sample meal plan based on your preps.
3. Go One Step Further
If you really want to make sure that your family is going to get fed, go beyond your calculations.
Prepare for a few extra days. Prepare more snacks. Take the irregularities into account. People get hungry; a couple of preps might spoil. Life isn’t picture-perfect, so prepare to supplement your initial plan.
4. Store Canned Goods
Canned goods, whether store-bought or homemade, are excellent for ensuring that your family can eat in an emergency.
Cans can be dented and glass jars can be broken, but overall, they are pretty durable. Canned foods won’t spoil from damp conditions and they can be eaten cold if the need arises.
5. Store Dried Goods
Dried foodstuffs can often be a far more economical option than canned goods and they are a great complement to store together.
In addition to your dried grains, from rice and bulgur to pasta and the many varieties of beans, don’t forget about the more flavorful dry foods that can be reconstituted.
A great variety of vegetables can be dried and then reconstituted for soups or stews. Dried mushrooms may add little in terms of calories, but they’re just what you need in terms of flavor and minerals. The same is true for many other dried goods, such as spices and seaweed.
Don’t forget all of those dry staple goods that you are used to having, from cornflour to baking powder.
Foreign staples you might not usually store can also come in handy. Chickpea flour, for example, can be turned into instant protein-rich hummus, a versatile dip or spread.
6. Store Dry Prepared Foods
Dry foods that are ready to eat are not just the domain of those poorly prepared souls who scurry to the supermarket the moment a crisis is announced. Many of them are, but there are some with longer shelf-lives that should definitely qualify as prepping food. Or, well, snacks.
You shouldn’t expect to get a large percentage of your calories from snacks, such as meal replacement bars, rice cakes or potato chips, but don’t underestimate them!
Snacks can give you quick energy when you feel too tired. They can raise your spirits. And yes, they can feed you and your family.
7. Store Ready Meals
What about ready meals? Some survivalists do all their prepping in the form of military rations. That’s fine, but it’s too expensive an option for most.
Even if it would be far too expensive for you to prepare large quantities of ready meals, consider storing a few. Variety will keep your family from developing food fatigue—not to mention that there may be times when you can’t cook, and in an emergency there is no option to order delivery pizza or Chinese takeout.
8. Grow Your Own
Growing your own food is the most secure way to feed your family. Not everyone will have the space or ability to grow all of their own food, but even a little bit helps.
If you grow some portion of your own food, you will also be able to carry on feeding your family once your preps have all run out.
9. Have Something to Trade
Sometimes all the prepping in the world isn’t enough. Something will run out. If you have prepared something to trade for either money or food, you’ll be better equipped for long-term survival.
10. Prepare for Alternative Cooking Methods
Unless you are prepping only ready meals and snacks, you must make sure not to make the largest food prep mistake in the books: not having a way to prepare your food.
Take into account how much time and fuel you will need.
If you are storing dry beans, for example, remember that dry beans, even when left to soak in water overnight, take up to one hour of cooking. If you are serving those beans with regular rice and some tomato sauce, you are looking at upwards of an hour and a half of fuel for one meal.
Whatever strategies you choose to go with, remember to plan redundancies!
One last piece of advice: Don’t be the guy who saves up thousands of cans of food, bugs in after a disaster and realizes he doesn’t own a can opener!
Don’t forget to watch the Food Crisis No Problem video here for more tips on feeding your family in a shortage:
Always consider every angle of a food crisis. It’s not just about having enough; it’s about having variety, having food that lasts, being able to prepare it and being ready to protect it. Don’t forget to pack some food you’ll actually enjoy—you never know when little things like a favorite snack will give you the boost to morale you need to soldier through another day.
Discover the secrets to defending yourself and your family when disaster strikes!