I’ll never forget my first, official order for survival, or prepper, food. My friend, Chrystalyn, was a pro at this, and she guided me through a bewildering order form with products and container sizes I didn’t recognize. At the time, I was a typical suburban mom who had never heard of prepper food before, much less placed a large order to begin my emergency food storage.
A #10 can? What was that?
A #2.5 can? Is that what I need or is the #10 size better?
What is wheat germade and will my kids eat what I’m buying since it’s not in name-brand cans?
Survival/Prepper Food Ordering Made Easy
If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have ordered wheat germade at all and would have ordered far more #2.5 cans of cocoa! Yes, we prefer brownies to an unknown hot cereal!
From years of experience, I pass on to you a few simple ways to determine what to order from the best survival food companies, including my own personal favorite, Thrive Life. If you’re ready to dig deeper at the masterclass level, check out my online course, “The Top 10 Foods to Store“.
My 8 Tips For Placing Your First Prepper Food Order
All of your prepper food orders should be customized to you and your family. If you end up with shelves full of strange foods you’ve never heard of before, then you didn’t do it right!
To get started stocking up on a food storage pantry that will provide you with versatile, delicious, and nutritious foods, take these following points into consideration:
1. What produce do you use most often in the kitchen? Jot down the fruits and vegetables that you typically buy at the grocery store. Those will be the best choices for your early purchases, since you know they won’t go to waste, and you use recipes that incorporate them. Vegetables are on my list of fresh food must-haves that you can read more about here.
With freeze-dried and/or dehydrated produce, all of the cleaning, chopping, and slicing has already been done for you. That’s one reason my own food storage pantry is full of veggies and fruits of all kinds. They’re ready to use at a moment’s notice.
2. What are a few of your favorite recipes and what ingredients do they include? As you begin to make your prepper food shopping list, stock up on those ingredients whenever possible. For example, if you have a pasta and sausage casserole recipe that you love, you could buy sausage crumbles, Italian herbs, dehydrated onions, freeze-dried mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses, and macaroni. Of course, you can use some of those same ingredients in other recipes, and that versatility is great.
3. Consider the staples you use most often: sugar, baking powder, herbs, etc., and then compare the food company’s prices to what you typically pay at a grocery store. Keep in mind that these products will be packaged for long-term storage unlike those purchased at grocery stores, and they will also be packaged specifically for the long-term. That is a big bonus. When we moved to a humid environment, several of my cardboard containers of salt were ruined, but #10 cans I had purchased from a food storage company remain safely sealed to this day.
TIP: Which size should you choose when shopping for prepper foods? Here is a link to my complete answer to that question.
4. Keep in mind the importance of snacks. My kids love the yogurt bites in all the various flavors. Perhaps order a few snack items in either the pouch or #2.5 can sizes to try these out. The smaller containers are also good for emergency kits. When I first started stocking up on food, I bought a lot of typical snack foods — cookies, chips, granola bars, and not surprisingly, those were the first foods to mysteriously disappear!
5. Do you have some just-add-water meals for emergencies or power outages? Each survival food company has its own varieties to try out. Make sure you give them a taste test, though, before buying in large containers or quantities. They’re lightweight, nutritious, and if you can manage to boil 3 or 4 cups of water, you have a meal in about 15 minutes. However, I’ve found that many varieties and brands aren’t very palatable. Start with varieties that are familiar dishes to you, such as beef stew or lasagna, and then decide if you like that packaged meal well enough to buy it in bulk. I’ve written more about just-add-water meals and my recommendations in this article.
6. When it comes to the various types of meat and poultry, which do you use most often? Chicken? Ground beef? Shredded pork? Prioritize those and then buy smaller containers of the ones you tend to buy and use most frequently. Give them a try in some of your recipes. If you really like the flavor, texture, and convenience, then you’ll know what to stock up on. As always, customize this to your preferences and the recipes you make most often.
Because this will be the most expensive product on your survival food shopping list, start thinking about recipes that use small amounts of meat in order for a single can to go farther. For example, I like to add maybe a cup or so of freeze-dried ground beef to a pasta sauce, giving us extra protein but using up just a small amount of the expensive meat. Another point about freeze-dried meat, is that there is no waste to throw out, unlike most fresh meat, nor does it require the freezer space that the same quantity of fresh meat would. You aren’t paying for bones or fat and you aren’t paying for the additional water/flavored broth that some fresh meat is pumped full of.
7. You’ll need some meal-stretchers, such as rice, small pasta, certain grains, and beans. I like this category because these foods are versatile on their own, but then, when added to a casserole or soup, they help provide many more servings, as well as more nutrition and fiber. More meal-stretching ideas can be found here.
8. Stock up on ingredients for soup. You may not make soup very often, but it’s an ideal recipe for survival scenarios. The concept is simple (start with a broth of some kind) and then add whatever is handy. Have a balance of veggies, proteins, and grains, and you’re good to go. As long as you have the ingredients, you can put a batch of soup on the stove right now, and freeze-dried and/or dehydrated foods from survival food companies make this so easy.
When you first visit a survival/prepper food website, such as Thrive Life, don’t be intimidated by the array of foods. One reason I prefer Thrive Life is that its focus is more on ordinary foods that you can stock up on for emergencies as well as in everyday cooking.