Do you have enough food and water for your family to survive if you need to shelter in place? Get this survival food storage checklist to help you prepare.
Survival Food Storage During A Disaster
When you are sheltering in place or staying home because of a disaster, having food and water is your top priority. You and your family can make it without power and your other comforts, but you can’t survive without food and water.
How Much Food and Water Do We Need?
Emergency food storage doesn’t have to be complicated, nor does it need to be crazy expensive. In fact, you can store food in your pantry that your family already enjoys eating.
Before you go out and buy all the water, eggs, bread, and milk (french toast anyone?) you can find, you should figure out for how long you want to prepare.
It’s a good idea to have at least a week’s worth of food and water stored during an emergency. Remember: you and your family not only have to ride out the disaster itself, but it may also take extra time before you can get help and supplies again.
It wouldn’t hurt to have two weeks worth of food and water stored. This way you have more than enough and won’t need to go searching for food when it may be unwise to leave your home.
Should We Stock Up on Water?
Start with your water supply. Hopefully you will continue to have clean running water, but don’t depend on it as your only source of drinking water.
You can make it much longer without food than without water. Having a good supply of water is crucial for the health and sanitation of your family.
Buy water bottles, or fill up milk jugs, soda bottles and any other bottles to ensure you have enough clean water to safely drink for a few days.
What Food Should I Store in My Pantry?
Next think about non-perishable food that your family will eat. Choose food that you can eat as-is or eat after little preparation.
Start with a list of things that you know you and your family will eat and things you’ll use up even when you don’t need them during a disaster. From there, fill in the gaps with things that will keep you full and healthy and pick those items up as needed.
For example, you may eat tuna on a regular basis, but you’re not a big fan of other canned meats. Keep a small supply of tuna in your pantry at all times (rotating through the cans as needed), and pick up a few cans of other meats as needed.
Have a discussion with your family about your survival food supply and let them give you ideas of what you should stock and keep as well. It will give them a sense of control and responsibility and of course make sure that everyone is satisfied with the meals available when things get serious.
Get a free printable checklist in my Resource Library!
In your pantry, you can store:
- rice, almost any variety
- canned soup
- dried beans, lentils, or peas
- freeze-dried or dehydrated meats
- dry pasta
- instant oatmeal
- dried or dehydrated fruits and vegetables
- powdered eggs
- powdered juice mix
- graham crackers
- baking soda
- salt, pepper, other spices/seasonings
TIP: If you have a camping stove, or a grill outside, you may also be able to heat and cook some foods should your indoor stove or oven stop working.
Other Foods to Store in Your Pantry During an Emergency
When planning your survival food storage list, it’s wise to consider mostly non-perishable or shelf stable foods, but there are a few other staples you can keep on hand as well, such as:
- Sweet potatoes
- Hard squash (acorn, spaghetti, butternut)
Just remember, if you are storing these foods, they need a cool, dark space to be in. If there is light, some of them might be encouraged to sprout.
Need a drink other than water or juice?
In your pantry you can store:
- Hot chocolate
- Powdered creamers
- Iced tea mix
Just keep in mind that these powdered drink mixes will use up some of your water supply.
TIP: Want to have something sweet? You can store chocolate chips in a cool, dry area for 1+ years. Any time you want something sweet while you’re stuck in your house, you can have a few chips!
Still Have Power? What to Store in Your Freezer
If during an emergency or stay in place order you still have power, you can certainly store foods in your freezer. Just remember, though, if the power goes out and you don’t have a backup generator, the food you stored in your freezer may not last too long. Once the foods have been defrosted and kept in temps above 40F for two hours, they may not be considered safe.
Some foods to store in your freezer include:
- frozen vegetables
- frozen fruits
- prepared soups
- prepared stews
Kitchen Tools and Essentials to Have in Your Pantry
Once you have all of your food items in your pantry, you’ll also need some tools to be able to prepare those foods and serve them to your family.
Some essential items include:
- Can opener
- Storage bins
- Utility knife
- Whisk (for mixing powdered foods/drinks)
- Garbage bags
You may also want to store disposable plates, cups, and utensils. While you can use reusable tableware, it would be important to remember that you’ll be using some of your water supply to clean those items, plus it may be difficult to keep those items properly sanitized.
What Else Do You Keep in Your Survival Food Storage?
Is there anything I missed in my list? Leave a comment below!