When I was finally convinced that we needed to start a supply of food storage, I kept it simple. I know there are many books, websites and planners out there to help, and I have used some of those to get some tips and suggestions after I made my initial plan, but all you really need is a pencil, some paper and some time.
I started off with a small goal – having a week’s worth of food. I decided to plan for our most likely scenarios, loss of power or blizzard. The only rules I established was that it needed to be food my family would eat and that the meals wouldn’t require anything that needed to be refrigerated once it was open, like mayonnaise. I assumed that we would just about eat everything that was prepared for that one meal and if not, we have a dog that could eat the leftovers.
Do a meal plan
I used Excel to lay out my plan, but this could be done on paper as well. I created columns for each day and then rows for each meal. It’s important to include snacks and drinks as well. I tried to include a variety of items for lunch and dinner, but some families don’t mind repetition of food.
I simply planned oatmeal for breakfast, peanut butter, tuna or chicken sandwiches or soup with bread for lunch and then chose seven dinners that I knew my family liked. I ended up with chili, spaghetti, rice and beans, chicken fried rice, pasta with chicken and vegetables, tortellini soup and taco soup. For snacks, I wrote down nuts, dried fruit and some of the typical items we keep in our pantry, like cheese crackers. For drinks, I listed one gallon of water per person and then added in dry milk, drink powder and coffee.
Make a grocery list for your food storage
After I decided what my meals would be, I went through each one and made a grocery list of what I would need for that week’s worth of food:
- One large tub of peanut butter
- Four cans of soup
- Two big cans of tuna
- Four big cans of chicken
- Raisins, etc.
I made sure to write down seasonings for the meals and ingredients for bread. I added jalapenos to the list since my husband likes his food spicier than ours.
Look for smart buys
With a list, I could then look for sales and get our supply started. It took me about a month or so to get a full week’s worth of food stashed away, but it felt like a big accomplishment. Really, I felt like I wanted to throw a party to celebrate our family being prepared. Instead, I took my children on a tour of our “downstairs pantry” and the smile on my oldest child’s face was enough celebration. She is our worrier and now she didn’t have to worry about being hungry if we lost power or were trapped by a blizzard. Mommy and Daddy were all set to take care of her.
Just do it
If you already do meal planning, using a method like this could make starting a food supply really easy. There are other steps to take once you establish food storage, but the first step is to plan. Then, follow your plan and get the food. After that you can figure out what inventory and rotation system works for you as you add to the supply. After I had a week’s worth of food, I challenged myself to get a second week’s supply, and on it goes.
How did you start your food supply? Did you use an established method or figure it out on your own? What would your advice be to someone just getting started?