Simple Food Storage Meals for Tight Times: Stock up on three months worth, fast!

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My first venture into food storage was an expensive one. I didn’t know what I was doing, so I stocked up on a lot of food that was typical of our young family’s diet back then — boxes of cereal, granola bars, and cans of ravioli.

When a different kind of storm is on its way in the form of a pandemic, economic collapse, or another worst case scenario that threatens your family, moms everywhere respond to their maternal instincts to protect and care for the ones they love. Since food is at the top of our families’ needs, emergency food storage is a basic, simple step to prepare.

A good goal for beginners is a food storage pantry with at least 3 weeks worth of food. That food should be nutritious, appetizing to your family, inexpensive, and simple to prepare.

If you’ve been losing sleep over scary headlines in the news and empty grocery store shelves, there’s no time to waste. Use coupons and grocery store sales to get the most bang for your buck and examine your budget for any expenses that can be eliminated to free up funds for your prepper food storage.

Let’s first do some math

Initially, planning for 3 months worth of meals is a little intimidating because it’s planning for 90 breakfasts, 90 lunches, and 90 dinners. However, when you start with a 3 month food storage menu and very, very simple meals, you can accumulate quite a bit of food quickly and frugally.

Factors that will affect your food storage meal plans are:

  • The size of your family
  • The ages and appetites of your family members
  • Your budget
  • Food preferences
  • Allergies/food sensitivities

Moving forward as I make one recommendation or another, if it’s something that won’t quite suit your circumstances, pause and think of alternatives that would. The overall concept is keeping things simple, inexpensive, easy to prepare, and duplicatable. Everyone in your household should be able to prepare most or all of these basic meals — an important consideration in case you or the adults in the household are incapacitated or away from home.

So, let’s take a look at numbers.

Breakfast totals

You’ll need to have ingredients and meal/recipe lists for a daily breakfast, or 90 breakfasts. If your family doesn’t typically eat much for breakfast or maybe skips it altogether, then no worries. My doctor tells me that breakfast isn’t, after all, “the most important meal of the day”, so don’t be guilted into feeling you absolutely must stock up on breakfast foods. Of course, if you have young, growing, and hungry children in the household, then this meal is probably not optional.

Considering that one large 42 ounce container of oatmeal has about 30 servings, if you were to have a daily serving of oatmeal, you would only need 3 of these large containers plus any additions like honey, raisins, or other dried fruit. Boom. There’s 90 servings for you alone. If your family loves oatmeal and you need to feed 4 hungry mouths every morning, then you’ll need 12 large, 42-ounce packages of oatmeal.

Lunch/Dinner totals

If you’re planning on 3 meals every day, then you’ll need to stock up on ingredients for 90 lunches and 90 dinners. Sounds intimidating and expensive, right? Well, my philosophy is always to keep it simple, and in a crisis where food prep may not be convenient or is the last thing on your mind, consider having a late afternoon lunch/dinner in place of 2 separate meals — lunch and dinner. That will save you money and you can always utilize the leftovers as a late-night snack or lunch/dinner the following day.

The following 3 month food storage menu suggestions incorporate soups, bread/sandwiches, pasta meals, easy casseroles, gravy over rice/biscuits, and rice and bean recipes.

Suggested meal totals by week and then the total of each meal for a 3 month supply. Multiply these totals depending on how many additional meals you want to plan for.

  • Two batches of soup per week = 24 soup meals
  • Two pasta meals per week = 24 pasta meals for 3 months supply
  • Daily sandwiches = bread and sandwich fillings for up to 90 meals (lunch/dinner or both)
  • Rice and beans recipes twice per week = 24 rice/beans meals
  • One casserole per week = 12 casserole meals for 3 months
  • Gravy meal = 12 or more of these meals for 3 months supply

An example of a meal schedule might look like this:

MONDAY: Oatmeal breakfast, peanut butter and banana sandwiches for lunch, chicken and rice soup for dinner

TUESDAY: French toast for breakfast, leftover chicken and rice soup for lunch, country sausage gravy over biscuits for dinner

WEDNESDAY: Eggs and leftover biscuits, tuna sandwiches for lunch, Macho Mexican Rice for dinner

THURSDAY: Oatmeal, leftover Macho Mexican Rice in a tortilla for lunch, spaghetti for dinner

FRIDAY: Cold cereal with protein powder drink, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, potato and kale soup for dinner

SATURDAY: Leftovers for breakfast, grilled cheese sandwiches, pasta with Alfredo sauce

SUNDAY: Pancakes and eggs, chicken salad sandwiches, tuna casserole

To get you started with putting together your own 3 month food storage menu, here are some of the simplest ways to stock up.

Plan for simple prepper food storage meals

One hearty dish that serves up a high level of nutrition and can be super-frugal is soup. To get your prepper food storage going, stock up on ingredients to make at least 24 batches of soup — 2 soup meals per week for your 3-month food supply.

If you make double batches, you’ll have leftovers for the next day. As a first step, buy high-quality bouillon in bulk, such as Thrive Life’s beef and chicken bouillon. I like this brand because I can buy it in larger quantities instead of the small jars of bouillon at the grocery store.

Soup recipes generally contain some sort of broth, vegetables, protein of some kind, herbs and spices, and, often, a starch such as rice or barley.

So, in addition to enough bouillon to make 9 batches of soup, add:

  • 1 or 2 #10 cans potato dices. This will provide potatoes for both soups and chowders.
  • 1 #10 can of each vegetable (dehydrated or freeze-dried) you typically use in soup: onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms, corn (for chowders), mixed vegetables, etc.
  • Tomato powder for tomato based soups. You can also use this to make homemade pasta and enchilada sauces.
  • 1 #10 can instant milk for chowders
  • Rice, beans, and small pasta can be added for extra bulk, calories, and variety. See this article about meal stretchers for more ideas.

Do you have to buy these ingredients in such large amounts? No, but in the long run they’ll end up lasting longer and will be more cost effective, but go for store-bought cans of soup if that’s what it takes to get you going! Use coupons, buy generic brands, and shop store sales, and you’ll end up with a very large stash of canned soup, quick.

Calculate how many cans you’ll need for 24 soup meals and then set that number of cans as your goal.

Learn how to bake a loaf of homemade bread

If you already know how to do this, stock up on enough ingredients to make a loaf of bread per day if you have more than four people in your family, or a loaf every other day for smaller family units or individuals. Keep the recipe very simple, as your goal is to stock up quickly, using every penny and dollar wisely.

You’ll use bread for sandwiches, toast, garlic bread, French toast, bread crumbs, etc. You can buy flour and store it in an airtight container. Before storing the flour, place it in a container with a tight lid and freeze it for at least ten days. This will kill off any microscopic insect eggs so there won’t be any nasty surprises when you’re ready to use the flour.

Stocking up on wheat is desirable because it has a much longer shelf life than flour, and once you have wheat, you can grind only the amounts you need each day or week so you’ll always have fresh flour. If you’re like most people, you don’t know too much about wheat. My free video class with wheat-storage worksheets is a great place to start, and you can get immediate access here.

Plan at least 24 pasta meals

Pasta meals are inexpensive and it’s very versatile. Along with pasta itself, you can buy 24 jars/cans of ready-made pasta sauce or buy enough ingredients to make 24 batches of homemade sauce. Here’s my very favorite recipe that happens to be ultra-simple with frugal ingredients:

Marinara Not From a Jar!

2 large cans whole Italian tomatoes, chopped

1/4 c. tomato paste

1/2 c. olive oil

1 crushed garlic, or more, depending on how many vampires you plan on warding off later tonight

1 T. minced onion

2 T. minced parsley

1/2 t. crushed dry oregano

1-2 T. fresh basil, thinly sliced

Place all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat & cover. Simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally or until sauce is reduced to about 1 quart.

Plan on eating a hot vegetable and slices of garlic bread with each meal. This utilizes your homemade bread and hot veggies can either be from your stash of dehydrated/freeze-dried, canned or frozen veggies from the grocery store, or home grown.

Whip up white gravy

A batch of white gravy is easy to whip up with flour, milk, and some form of fat (butter, bacon grease, or oil). Buy a #10 can of sausage crumbles and make your own sausage gravy served over homemade biscuits.  If you’re stocked up on ingredients for bread, you’ll only need to add a can of shortening for the biscuits (see my recipe here). If you choose to stock oil, read more about how to extend its shelf life.

Use butter as your fat, add a little garlic, salt, and you’ve got a nice white sauce to pour over pasta or egg noodles. With some cooked vegetables, you have pasta primavera.

Plan on a “white gravy” meal once a week with a couple of biscuits and gravy breakfasts thrown in the mix. A good white gravy is the basis of a super-hearty meal, and since the ingredients are probably in your kitchen right now, you might as well start practicing making a batch yourself.

Once when my fridge was almost empty and I had a hungry 17 year-old son ready for dinner, I cooked up several pieces of bacon, chopped them up, and then used some of the bacon grease for a batch of white gravy. I mixed the bacon back into the gravy and poured it over a few slices of toast. The kid. Was. In. Heaven. This would also work with rehydrated sausage crumbles.

Tuna or chicken casserole

Tuna or chicken casserole is a simple budget-friendly dinner and very food-storage friendly. Multiply the ingredients in your recipe times 12 in order to serve it once a week for three months. Keep in mind that the size of tuna cans has been decreasing, much like those containers of ice cream that keep getting smaller and smaller! You might have to buy more cans of tuna in order to have the same amount of actual tuna.

My recipe includes cream of mushroom soup, canned/fresh/freeze-dried mushrooms, and sometimes cheese. Use canned chicken if you can’t stand tuna, or plan on making both versions for variety.

In order to make this once a week, buy 12 cans of the soup, 12 cans of sliced mushrooms (or use freeze-dried mushrooms), and splurge on a #10 can of freeze-dried jack or mozzarella cheese. Add other ingredients that you’re personally fond of in casseroles.

Rice and beans can be your budget’s best friend

The classic meal of beans and rice is versatile and the ingredients can be stored for years.

Keep in mind that repetitive meals can be quite boring, so stock up on a variety of beans, buy multi-bean mixes, and different types of rice. Most importantly, stock up on spices, herbs, and seasonings! Keep them stored in a dark, dry, and cool location for longest possible shelf life.

Just this simple array of ingredients will allow you to make dozens of different dishes. Check out this recipe book for more ideas.

More simple dinner ideas

For more simple dinner ideas, buy 100-day Pantry by Jan Jackson. Choose a recipe, multiply the ingredients by 12, and start shopping! Prepper food storage can be simple and something everyone can do.

Your dinner menu will be complete with soup/chowder twice each week, a pasta meal or two each week, tuna or chicken casserole, white sauce with vegetables served over noodles, and two dishes of rice and beans.

Keep the simple theme going with breakfasts

Breakfast should be the simplest meal of the day. Depending on your household, your breakfasts may be very small meals, consist of leftovers, or be the same few recipes/meals again and again. For example, on a weekend you might make a large, 9×13 pan of hearty oatmeal-based protein bars and have them available for quick breakfasts along with coffee, milk, or a protein powder drink.

Oatmeal makes a healthy and filling breakfast and has the added advantage of being versatile.  It’s also inexpensive.  Some stores carry oatmeal in their self-serve bins, along with beans, cornmeal, etc.  Three pounds of oatmeal will provide 30 servings.  Figure out how much you need to buy in order to have an oatmeal breakfast 3-4 times per week, one serving per person, per day.

For an easy change, make baked oatmeal, and buy extra oatmeal if homemade granola, oatmeal cookies, and homemade granola bars sound good to you. In addition, buy a few pounds of brown sugar and/or quarts of honey, extra cinnamon, raisins, and any other add-ins you and your family enjoy.

A few other breakfast suggestions

Plan on adding things like pancakes (homemade or using a mix like Bisquick), French toast (from the loaves of bread you’ll be making), homemade muffins, gravy and biscuits, and eggs for the remaining breakfasts.  Leftovers are good, too.  Keep breakfast quick, easy, and filling.

Miscellaneous tips

Cooking three meals from scratch will get old fast. There’s nothing wrong with planning on canned ravioli or stew, chili, tuna sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly, and even Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (stock up on instant milk and butter powder to have on hand when fresh isn’t available).

One category of food you will find yourself having to shop for again and again are fresh foods like butter, milk, and produce. This article provides plenty of food-storage-friendly options for fresh foods so you’ll have them on hand for your 3 month food storage supply.

Freeze-dried cheese is pricey, but it can be used in quesadillas with homemade tortillas, sprinkled over a baked pasta dish, pizza, and so much more. When it’s rehydrated, it melts and tastes just like real cheese. In my opinion, it’s worth splurging on a can or two, and then using it as a luxury ingredient, sparingly. I keep cheese in my freezer, but for long-term storage AND a quick way to reach your food storage goal, freeze-dried is a really good option.

Finally, make sure you have at least one alternative way to cook your food and heat up water. If a Sun Oven is too pricey, many people make their own solar cookers. Many moms on this blog have been using an energy efficient rocket stove, such as EcoZoom,which I personally use, and find them easy to use. Should your power go out or energy rates skyrocket, cooking a few meals off the grid will be smart.

The 3-Month supply begins with a single shopping trip

Circling back now to where this article began, stocking up on ingredients for simple food storage meals can be daunting until you begin making lists of meal/recipe ideas and doing a little math so you’ll know exactly how much of each ingredient you’ll need for your 3 month supply.

Remember to keep it simple, frugal, and easy to prepare. Your prepper food storage will build quickly, and you’ll be prepared for the next everyday emergency or worst-case scenario.

109 thoughts on “Simple Food Storage Meals for Tight Times: Stock up on three months worth, fast!”

  1. Yes, it does appear as if a storm is coming. Great advice! I've been prepping for well over a year now but always come away with something new from your blog as I'm sure so many others have. Keep up the great work.

  2. this is totally how i started my stockpile. i would get tired of running out to the store for 1 ingredient to make a meal we ate on a regular basis. now i have enough to make it 4 or 5 times on hand at all times.

    1. TheSurvivalMom

      Henry, I'm not screaming this in a panic, by any means but have been hearing from people who are genuinely frightened about the speed at which our country seems to be declining. This article is for people who feel an urgent need to prepare and need specific tips for doing so, in a hurry!

      1. I knew that ! <];^D You're not easily rattled. I guess I should choose my words more carefully, so as not to paint you in the wrong light. You put out great advice Mom !
        However, the longer people wait…..the harder and more costly it will be to stock preps.

      2. There are a number of web sites that talk about what types of food to store however I’m not sure of sites that show what meals you can make out of the different foods you store other than a simple pasta or rice and meat such as tuna or fish. If you know of any sites that show meals to make from prep stores that would be really helpfull. Thanks.

      3. Thank you, I started prepping but your article has put me in the right direction by breaking down the storage into meals and then stocking up. I have been stocking and not thinking about the end results. Brilliant now I can focus.
        Thank you.

    1. Jessica, I'm just starting out, so thanks for the great idea of canned chicken for soups. Can you tell me what the average shelf life of canned chicken is? Thanks so much.

      1. Kim, if you can the chicken yourself, it will have a shelf life of several years as long as it's kept stored in a dark, cool place. It' protected from oxygen by the canning process. For commercially canned chicken, 5 to 10 years is a safe bet, although it may lose some texture and flavor. I've eaten old canned tuna before, and although the flavor was still there, it was a little mushy.

  3. I have found that it does make life easier day-to-day now that we have some food in advance in the basement. One night, my husband was wanting pie and asking where he could get some at 11 pm. I asked what kind? He just looked at me and said, "You do NOT have pie in the basement!" I asked again and he did not believe me until I led him downstairs, pulled out a store-bought pie crust, then had him choose from a selection of six different pie fillings! He was a very happy man then 🙂

    I just went to Aldi's and bought more canned chicken. We also have canned ham and canned salmon from there. I want to learn how to can beef soon, too. Meat is my biggest worry, but I know we still have a decent supply of protein in one form or another.

  4. A little easy meal we use is the little boxes of Lipton Noodle Soup. They come with two packages of soup that use 4 cups of water each and cost about a 1.18 a box. We add an extra cup or so of whatever small macaroni we have on hand and it feeds our family of 6!

    1. H. (eyes wide open)

      I have been brainstorming ideas to stretch meals for my large family. Since protein is more expensive and I may have to be conservative with it, I thought it may be a good idea to add beans to my cans of chicken noodle soup. Great northern beans would be my preference.

      I like the challenge of getting creative with meals. Especially saving money in the process 😀

      1. I like to cook bake chicken, let cool and add to can of chicken noodle. More chicken in noodle soup is better plus save some chicken for my 2 small dog. The leg quarter chicken would be 88 or 99 cent a pound from Food Depot. I grab those meat on sale and then add to salads, soup, meal off slice ham dice into green bean/cooked with onion. Or ham dice with favorite beans. And ham fry for breakfast. Hamburger good on loaf bread instead buns. To save on cost. Eggs are unbelievable low 55 cent to 65 cent at Food Depot sometime.

  5. Orange Jeep Dad

    I have been stocking up on hamburger meat in our backup freezer. Our local Walmart Neighborhood Marketplace clearances it out two days before expiration. I have been buying 20-40 lbs @ $1.67/lb. Once I filled the freezer, I pulled out the Nesco dehydrator I picked up from a seller on CraigsList for $20. I make homemade beef jerky for a fraction of the cost in the stores AND it keeps really well. Now we have stored jerky for quick snacks, freed up freezer space, and it all fits in our budget.

    1. Check out your dehydrator OJD. It may be costing you those savings in the massive electricity it uses. Make yourself a lovely solar dryer. There are tons of plans on the net and don't buy a book over it (I did and it's simply rehashed free stuff off the net.) as there are plenty of folks out there able to share and their systems work wonderfully! is a great site for some solar dryer info…


      1. newer dehydrators are pretty cost effective and dry quickly. Mine runs about .03- .04 cents per hour. with the exception of jerky most stuff is dry with in 6 – 8 hrs. In my old dehydrator it would take 2 -3 days for jerky to get done. Now, usually less than 12 unless I have some thick pieces.

    2. To calculate your dehydrator’s electric usage, determine from the label or from the product manual what the wattage is. Then do the simple math: Divide wattage by 1000, which gives you kilowatts. Multiply the kilowatts by the number of hours that you run the dehydrator to obtain kilowatt-hours. Look at your power bill. How much do you pay for a kilowatt-hour of electricity? Multiply that amount — maybe 10 cents per kWh — by the number of kilowatt-hours you determined earlier. That’s your cost for that dehydrator batch. So, for instance, a 1000W dehydrator run for 10 hours at 10 cents per kWh uses $1 of electricity. (For you scientific types, yes, I know that there are other variables; but this method gives a close enough idea so that one can determine whether or not this method is cost-effective!)

  6. whitecollarbunker

    State of the government aside, stored food is also very hand for situations like Snowpocalypse, when we in the DC area were hit by three successive, nasty blizzards a few years ago. If you're like me and dislike crowds and standing in line, you did not want to be anywhere near a grocery store before the storms hit. We have a town home/condo with not a lot of storage space, but we installed some hand racks from Home Depot in our basement way and manage to keep about a month's worth on hand. I like the suggestion of Lipton Noodle Soup. Sounds like a good way to add several meals at little cost.

  7. Poor College Student

    I wish I could afford to do this. Jobless college students never have much spare money. Thanks for the advice though.

    1. The cheapest way is rice (preferably brown rice), beans (and/or lentils) and cans of diced tomatoes. Put all together and — viola -chili. The rice & beans combo will give you a complete protein. If you purchase the rice and beans and lentils in bulk you will get the best pricing, but you have to be careful about how you store them. Even a few day's worth of food on hand is better than nothing. Good luck!

      1. It was my understanding that brown rice should not be used for long term storage. That it goes rancid too easily (after about 6 months) but white rice can be stored a lot longer (years). Is that wrong?

        1. If you have room, store brown rice in your fridge or freezer. But white rice will store a very long time on the shelf in jars with oxygen packets.

    2. I started storing when we were first married. We were college students, then I had a baby, and my husband worked 2 part-time jobs to bring in a little money. What I did to start with, was every time we had a meal somewhere other than home, the food we would have eaten went into storage. Dinner at a parents’ house, a church dinner, etc. Every little bit helps. If someone offered us tomatoes, I canned them. We were able to glean pea fields for peas. We picked wild asparagus. Our married student housing offered us the chance to grow a small garden. The opportunities changed all the time, but if you are willing to take advantage of them when they come, they will keep coming, and your storage will gradually build up without a lot of money going out.

    3. Try stocking up as quickly as you can, even if that’s not very fast. Whenever you go grocery shopping get whatever little extra you can. You have $10 extra? Get 5 cans of beans or veggies and an extra package of pasta. If you only have $2 extra, just get 2 to 3 cans of beans. It will all add up faster than you think, and if you’re only buying for yourself you wouldn’t need all that much food in case of an emergency.

  8. ramen noodles are real cheap,add some frozen or canned veggies and a small aount of burger,or canned meat and you have a good soup real fast.

  9. We just bought 300 lbs of fresh tuna off the boat and canned about 200 lbs of meat. Our tuna jars are not shrinking! Also, the canners are at walmart and most other big box stores for around $60 or $70 right now. I bought the cheapest cuts of meat I could find and then canned it last week. Earlier this week, we had a very busy day and evening and wasn't sure what to fix for dinner. We opened one of those jars of beef, shredded it and had tacos. The kids said it was so good, that we better not have hamburger for tacos anymore. I have several cans of vegetable soup that someone gave me. We aren't fans of just vegetable soup, so we will add the canned beef and it will be a hearty meal after a late evening deer or elk hunt this fall.
    I have become convinced that canning is amazing!

  10. I have some Ramen noodles in our food storage and there are lots of recipes online, especially for college students! Just google Ramen noodle recipes and you'll find several sites. I've been printing some out (as well as Spam recipes) to keep in a binder along with other recipes using shelf stable items – just in case the SHTF and there is no computer access!

  11. Thanks for the great tips, which are excellent for planning easy, low-budget meals. I wanted to suggest that split peas and lentils be added to the list of desirable foods to stockpile like beans because they're economical and also delicious. Lentils are now available pre-sprouted (at Costco) so they cook up very quickly and they also store for a long time.

  12. The lentils, split peas, and adzuki beans are excellent choices and don't take as long to cook as other beans/pulses. So if you are using an alternative cooking source (canned heat, camp stove, sterno, alcohol stove, buddy burner) to cook with you will use less fuel to cook them. Learning how to use a "haybox cooker" will save even more fuel. Bring your items to a boil and cook for 20min., then place in the thermal layers of the haybox cooker to maintain the temperature and it wll continue to slow cook without additional fuel. There are several youtube vids with instructions for DIY.

  13. Hallo, I am writing from Germany and I am new to the thoughts of prepping and quite overwhelmed with all the information. Your suggestions on planning for food are easy to follow and they show an easy way of planning. Thank you so much!
    Since we are always eating fresh food we now try out different canned foods until we find something we can imagine eating in rough times. As soon as we like an item I just buy it 12-15 times.
    As I understand you plan on mainly oatmeal for breakfast, the dinners I understand as well. What would the lunches be?
    With greeting from the other side of the ocean, Chris

    1. Wilkommen, Chris! I love Germany and lived there for a while many years ago. Oatmeal isn't the only good option for breakfast, but it's versatile, nutritious, and is healthy in many other ways. You could also plan on breakfasts of cooked wheat berries, fruit, pancakes (multi-grain would be healthiest) and rehydrated eggs. Powdered eggs mix up with a bit of water for some pretty good scrambled eggs and omelets. If you plan on a very hearty breakfast, a large early-afternoon lunch, and then eat a light meal of leftovers, sandwiches with a loaf of homemade bread, maybe some simple soup for dinner, you'll have your three meals a day. Comment or email me any time!

  14. This is so good. I took a friend out and got her part of it. The back of her SUV was full. She thought she'd gotten food for a year. We didn't even get to the 3 months above but she's started prepping because the plan was easy enough for her to finish.

  15. I have read some good stuff here. Certainly price bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how so much effort you place to create this sort of wonderful informative site.

  16. Where do you find the butter powder, tomato powder, dehydrated veggies? I only have a Wal-Mart in my town.

    1. Anything, and I mean anything, can be ordered from the Internet. There is a small family grocery store in a small town in AR and apparently the owner preps as well. He stocks the basics, milk powder, whole egg powder, all kinds of freeze dried veggies, Mac-n-cheese, fd fruits, oats, butter powder, everything you’d really need, stores in #10 cans. So you might check to see if there is a small grocer nearby with the same goals, and ask him to order thru his store, for his use and to resale. Just a thought. I have ordered online as well but I love to browse the shelves in the store too.

      ***IN THE END, GOD WINS! HE does. I read the last chapter!***

    2. Try HoneyvilleGrains on the internet. They have sales periodically and the shipping is less than $5 per order, no matter how much you order.

  17. Thank you for making such a wonderful site Survival Mom. A quick question though, I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around a few of your recipes. When you refer to the #10 can size do mean the 6 pound and some odd ounce type? Perhaps it’s because I’m attempting to prepare for 2 and not 4-5 individuals, but 6 pounds of sausage before the flour and milk seems staggering.

    1. #10 cans are typically for dry items. You are right, opening gallon size can of food service peaches wouldn’t work so great for a small family. Opening a #10 can of freezedried peaches allows you to use a little bit at a time.

  18. I finally have a good 3 months supply and when I filled my freezer yesterday I even said to myself “I could can all this meat if I had to…I need lids and rings is all” Love your blog! Love your book, too.

  19. Love this article. A lot of people are on very tight budgets , but this shows us that we can still get prepared.

  20. Elizabeth Hollingsworth

    awesome & doable info!! thx so much!!

    i also wondered where to get the powdered/dehydrated stuff.

  21. Instead of bread, consider quick breads, less work! Less fuel to cook.

    For supplies of dehydrated foods do an internet search for two of the brands I most often see: Mountain House and Thrive. There are lots of online companies that will provide these by mail.

    Places that sell camping/hunting supplies have lots of freeze dried foods, but generally small packages and processed meals, and fairly expensive compared to buying individual ingredients in #10 cans!

    Check out local stores as well, sometimes there are surprises – I was recently driving through Coleville, Washington (yeah, pretty much nowhere!) and stopped at a big grocery store (think it was called super1 foods) for some picnic supplies, the place had a huge long shelf of #10 cans of dehydrated foods.

    1. Search online for recipes for flat bread and Navajo bread. Easy to make, can be baked with little fuel.

  22. After the #10 cans of dehydrated foods are opened, how do you store the remaining food in the can? Does it have to be resealed, or can it be left unsealed?

  23. A good way to keep any dry goods fresher for longer periods of time is to vacum pack them. You could do this with rice, beans, oatmeal etc. You can buy a vacum sealer at Walmart for around $100. The bags can get somewhat costly but vacumning to remove all the air can double the shelf life.

    1. We do this for many things but use glass canning jars and buy the lid attachment. it will suck out all the air and seal the lid. “Dry pack” you do need to find out what you can and can’t dry pack safely. Like, you can dry pack white rice but not brown rice due to the oil content will go rancid with out oxygen. During the summer we do this as well with cereal and cookies and whatever else we open because the humidity here is horrible with anything we open to put back on the shelf! Keeps it fresh until it’s gone!

  24. Mandy, you don’t use the whole can in the recipe. just a little bit of it. dried foods are very concentrated. I usually use about a heaping handful (total) of dried veggies to make four servings for most dishes. I wouldn’t use more than half a cup of dried sausage crumbles.

    also I keep lots of glass jars on hand to store things from any large containers that are opened. These are free if you just wash and keep jars from food you already eat. I particularly like salsa jars and spaghetti sauce jars. pickle jars work too but they often reetain the smell of the pickles.

  25. Emergency Preparedness

    great article! A 3 month supply of non-perishable food that you eat often is so important. The only difficulty I find is I end up throwing it out because it expired before I end up eating it.

  26. I noticed that no one mentioned the LDS home storage centers for stocking up. The prices are fantastic, but sometimes the nearest center is not so near. I know that TheSurvivalMom has a link somewhere on this site for the list of centers and the order form that lists what they stock. I really love Honeyville due to the small shipping fee, and CostCo. I like to coupon and stock up on boxed and canned goods at Publix also for very little. It’s amazing how much you can get for a few dollars if you stack coupons with BIGI sales! A good coupon matchup website is worth it’s weight in gold!

  27. In addition to storing food, buy a foraging for Wild Edible Plants book and start becoming familiar with local common weeds and plants that can add to your food supply. You can make wonderful salads with them…. and cook them as greens. Lots of ways to eat them. This will stretch you food supply and also have you educated on foraging for food if and when your stored food runs out….. Foraging will be a way of life when your food runs out….

  28. GREAT information. Thank you! Don’t forget about your ability to cook, tho. If the power grid is down, then you won’t have an electric stove or oven. Consider building a solar oven. But don’t panic – cardboard box, black spray paint, aluminum foil, and a piece of glass. All the info you will ever need is on this site – BUILD IT SOLAR dot com. Pick on of these:

  29. Ok, I am new to prepping. Just started about one year ago. I do have a question on logistics. I would be storing for for three people, maybe four. My son, daughter and a grandson who all live on their own right now. If something happened, they would come home. I/we also have two dogs, two cats etc. You start collecting the stuff you need for your pantry and time passes and you do not need the amounts you are preparing for. What do you do with the stuff you have. You rotate it out and just pitch it, then buy more? They are not living close by to come over for dinner all of the time. They would be in the same area, but doing their own lives right now. So, what do you do with food about to be expired. I could not cook and eat it all because it would be physically impossible to do that. So, what do you do? Thanks

  30. Nancy @ Little Homestead in Boise

    Linda, speaking for myself, I would eat it or give it away on Craigslist. Can you freeze any of it? I would bet a freezer if you don’t have one. I bought a smaller chest freezer and it holds a lot. Also some expiration dates are for the food to be in prime condition, not that it will make you sick or taste bad. No bulging cans ever. It’s really critical to rotate your food, and maybe add some dehydrated/freeze dried. That stuff lasts a long time. I have 3 kids in the area, and I’m in the same boat. They won’t listen. Do what you can. There’s lot of inf out there…. Nancy@littlehomesteadinboise

  31. These are excellent tips and we couldn’t agree more with the dehydrating, whether by solar or electric. Honey is right, newer dehydrators are much more energy conscious. For those of you who were asking advice about which dehydrators to buy and choosing the right one, this Best Food Dehydrators shows the top rated product brands and also includes an extensive buying guide on how to choose the right one for you.

  32. Doug & Linda Kenney

    Without electricity you’ve got to assume no baking, because even if you have a gas oven, a broad electrical failure in your national region will stop the pumps and the controls on the gas pipelines. So, no bread, cookies, etc. Use the storage space and the cash for something else. Pick up a Coleman camp stove and some 16 Oz. Propane bottles for stovetop meals. Store the propane bottles outside the house in a padlocked locker (in case a bottle should leak – you don’t want to store them inside the house). Don’t forget to purchase a couple of good fire extinguishers to save the kitchen in case you have a grease fire,(which could cause the camp stove propane bottle to explode) and either a propane lantern or a long-life battery lantern to hang over the stove while cooking, so that you can see what you are doing. Buy a dozen boxes of stick matches to start the camp stove; keep one box in the kitchen and the rest outside in the locker with the other propane bottles. If you are disciplined, you can make a single 16 oz. propane bottle cook all your meals for two or three weeks before it is empty.

  33. I’m interested in more information on the Chicken Soup Base by Ready Reserve Foods that is mentioned in the article of 10/28/14. I’m looking for a chicken soup powder that I can add to meals in jars/mylar bags. Is this product one that could be used in this manner? Thank you in advance for your replies, I truly appreciate them!!!

    In His Service,

  34. Walmart online has butter and margarine powder. They carry all the Augason Farms products. ship to store for pick up or to your door. good prices for a starting prepper.

    Aldies!!! if you live near one they are your best friend.

    Walgreens…points. they are redeemable for merchandise just like cash. I save mine up til I have 40,000, which is worth $50. Using bygo half price or free I got a three year supply of gummy vitamins for nothing. (that’s roughly the length of their best by dates)and online orders over $50 are free shipping. Don’t think you have to spend a bunch of money to get points. (500 for my flu shot that was free, watching sales has netted me huge bottles of shampoo for 1.50 each plus thousands of points, ( with that one sale I may never have to buy shampoo again)going online and logging activities will net you 100 points a day plus an extra 1000 a month) who doesn’t love free money
    bing rewards…I turn mine in and get $5.00 amazon gift cards. One about every 6 weeks. If you save them they add up and u can get anything off amazon, including dehydrated foods.

    if anyone knows any other sources I’m eager to hear

    1. As someone who cooks with the little one lb propane bottles I’m here to say that they don’t last as long as you said.If you are boiling water for coffee then they absolutely don’t last. I get one meal and a half out of the bottles

  35. I have nearly completed a Christmas gift that I am giving to each of our three children, each of whom have a child. I have dehydrated enough food for two weeks…vegetables, fruits, spaghetti sauce. I have given them pasta, beans, everything needed to make bread, muffins, etc., rice and oatmeal. I purchased enough freeze dried meats to give them one serving per person for two weeks. I gave them honey and coffee as well, and, of course, hard candies. They make think it’s a really crazy Christmas present, but perhaps someday they’ll be happy to have it!

  36. ckarlotte bassett

    Just found this site today, a friend shared it. I have stored for years. Not any fun not having food and supplies when hard times come. Friends and I were talking at church today about storing and this is one thing I do, each time I go to a store I buy something. If I have money for a coke, snack, candles and other things I really don’t need I have money for storage.

  37. Growing up we had “white gravy” often. It was served over toast, biscuits, macaroni or potatoes. Added to the “white gravy”: can of tuna and peas; browned ground beef; coarsely chopped asparagus; shredded chicken. Basically it was a base for just about any left over meat/veggies. I always considered it a variation of chipped beef on toast! Still love it and it is a meal that can be stretched a long, long way.

  38. If you cant bake bread for whatever reason,,,, you can always make fried bread. my sisters and I lived on it as kids and I still make it a lot,, flour,, baking powder,, pinch of salt and water,, fry,, that’s it. we ate it with syrup as pancakes.. used it for sandwiches and covered with butter to eat along with our meals. takes the place of baked bread…………

  39. We buy grass fed, no hormone ground beef, cook and vaccume pack in 1lb. packages.
    Then store in freezer, run by solar power. Easy to defrost and use many dishes.

  40. Love what you had to write about this and am happy to put some of your advice into practice.

    Did notice one error. One quarter of a year (3 months) has 13 weeks in it, so you need to times by 13.

  41. thank you for this, it’s an awesome way to look at breaking down needs and stockpiling!

    i learned more from this than many others that i have read!!

    1. The Survival Mom

      Thanks! Personally, I appreciate quick, easy recipes and wanted to include those types of meals in this article. 🙂

  42. I stumbled across this site today. Interesting. I have something to contribute about bread. I like my bread toasted and crunchy, no butter, I can’t have dairy and avoid most animal proteins. If I make bread myself or if I buy it, I toast the last of the loaf, let it dry completely either left in the toaster (I live in Vegas, low humidity) or after I cut it into cubes or sticks with a pizza cutter, I sometimes dry it in the oven at 150-200 for a few hours. After the cubes are completely cooled, I store in ziploc bags. I’ve kept these cubes (or bread sticks sometimes) for months and they stay dry, crunchy and good. I’ve even made these dried bread “croutons” from a whole loaf of bread before. Also, I buy Ak-Mak crackers for storage. They’re only $1.79 a box at Trader Joes. They are very wholesome, whole wheat and store indefinitely. These croutons or bread sticks can be used in salads, soups, or like me, just plain when I want a crunchy snack. Thanks for all your posts. Just wanted to add to the treasure trove of ideas on this site.

  43. Dear Mom,
    I know I need to appoligise just couldn’t hep it. I noticed that you lined item white sauce. I wanted to add a few cents to this site. If you are cooking for more than One. I would make extra white sauce and then freeze (dry) and or store it for leftovers. Add it to pasta dishes, or your casarollercoasters (chicken (bird) tuna (fish), pour over chicken(or just cheese) quesadilla’s, This Idea is from my Mom. We have a prepared dinner of noodles and chicken from Costco. But it is more than a little dry, so she added some white sauce we had in the pantry leftover from some special dinner thing. And WOW, now we add the sauce (white) everytime we have this prepared chicken and noodle dinner from Costco.
    A side note: Back in the olden times when I was still young, I served in the Corp. And my favorite Chow hall meal was SOS, or chip beef on toast. I preferred the sausage version, with the sausage broken up over toast or biscuits.

    PS. I love your site very informative. Thank you for your work

  44. Dear Moderation Dude,
    Sorry I hit the wrong button. I was going to spell check the post. Sorry for my miss spelled words. It takes the fun out of when I misspelled on purpose.

  45. Just a suggestion if nobody has thought about it. Even many will tell you not to store flour but guess what i do. Of course got wheat and a grinder also. I vaccuum pack mine but not in jars. Many will tell you that a food saver will not seal flour well at all because the fine dust will soon cause the food saver to quit because it will get into the vaccuum system. Problem solved. I do 2 cups of flour at a time. I place a folded paper towel laid flat on top of the flour. I then add one oxygen absorber and then one more piece of folded paper towel on it. Push it down on the flour and all around the edges. Place it in the food saver making sure that none to the towelette is in the sealing area. I have been doing this for quite some time and no problems yet.

  46. It’s too bad that most of the ingredients you recommend I would never, EVER feed my family. Too much sodium, not ‘real’ ingredients, artificial, not even real food. Try getting some of these items ‘organic’ (simply meaning no chemicals!) and it would cost a fortune, if they are even available. I love your ideas, but it’s time to kick it up a notch and make the ‘food’ we’re eating worthwhile!

    1. The Survival Mom

      Linda, you and I have the luxury of selecting the best and healthiest of foods– paying extra for them, when necessary. I try to meet my readers where they are and for many of them, they are barely making ends meet. These meals, while they might not meet your gold standard, will sustain a family for many weeks. Ultimately, in a worst case scenario, filling tummies will be the #1 priority.

      1. A lady at the grocery store was being nosy and dismissive of my prep buys. She said, what do you need with all that? She told her friend, “I would never feed that to my children”. This was during the Bird Flu threat.

        I asked her what she would feed her children in a national emergency. She said, “fresh fruits and vegetables”.


  47. What if you cannot afford the #10 cans because i do not want to open a #10 and be stuck with not being able to make sure that any bugs or anything like that will not be able to get to my vegetables or my chicken before i can use it

  48. Hi
    anyway you can show how you make and stock these 24 bowls of soup? I’m new to prepping and getting started on my pile.

  49. Great blog thanks for sharing these ideas with us. I saw a few people mention concern for protein. One thing that I think works well is buying protein powder from GNC. I buy whey protein and chocolate is my favorite in a 5lb jug. You can buy vegan versions and different flavors. One serving has something like 22grams of protein. It’s dried powder and lasts several years. If you work out and rotate it even better.

  50. Thank You! I cook and clean for my sister’s and their families while they have nothing in their cupboards and fridge. They are always on a tight budget, and our church always tells us to store for three months food, but sometimes it’s hard to come up with good ways to do that and easy cheap meals to suggest. This will help me get them started and saving as well, thank You!

  51. Something else that is good, is as you said, a mill. Rice is a cheap enough grain, and you can make nice rice flour. This is wonderful when you are storing for people who have gluten allergies. Making rice bread and other rice treats with rice flour takes practice to get it right, but when you so, it is just as good as anything you can make with wheat. It stores well, it’s cheap, and grinding your own rice flour is worth the price of the mill in the long run. Take it from someone who has a family full of people with expense allergies to get around. Rice flour is a life saver!

  52. Maybe just a dumb question. I have put up several jars of hamburger patties. The only problem that I am having is that the inside of the patties remain very mushy after frying. What am I doing wrong or can hamburger patties be fried and remain firm?

  53. Thanks for this post! Does anyone have suggestions of ideas for food storage for toddlers? I am looking at planning out meals my toddler has 3 meals a day plus 2-3 small snacks. I would love to hear any ideas of what people store when they have young children.

  54. I have a difficult time getting my son to eat meat or beans, but I’ve been making Cheerio bars and he loves it. The recipe is very simple, just nut butter, honey, and Cheerios.

  55. A suggestion for storing fresh carrots. Has been done for probably centuries by placing fresh carrots in wet sand but try using fresh potting soil and layering carrots in a food safe container. Place about 3 inches of potting soil on the bottom and place fresh carrots on top so they do not touch or are against the sides of the container. Be sure to cut off any leafy ends and bad spots. Repeat layering until container is full. Ending with a layer of soil. Store in a cool dry place. We use an unheated garage out of the sun. An unheated storage room in an apartment building sounds good too. This will keep your carrots fresh and tasty during the winter. We did this last year and had fresh tasty carrots in May. We used the used potting soil to fill hanging baskets and large pots on the deck. No waste here. It seems the moisture content of the potting soil is perfect for keeping the carrots fresh. Be sure to get only potting soil not potting soil with fertilizer.

  56. Heather Jerome

    Your site came recommended, and I’m so glad they did!
    Thank you so much for this breakdown of info! It’s appreciated!
    I’m completely new to taking action as I have always had an interest in prepping and have read on it.
    No one else in my family is concerned with prepping!
    I have a very limited budget with which to work, but this seems feasible.
    Again, thank you!

  57. Interesting to read back through the comments from several years ago. I began “prepping” long before prepping was a thing. Forty-five years ago, I married a union construction worker and learned the down and dirty about lay-offs just a couple months after we got married. The first month long lay-off was not pretty — unemployment barely paid the rent, utilities and other bills, not much left for groceries. I started a “lay-off cupboard” and bought a small, apartment sized freezer — once those were stocked up and I’d stashed some cash, we could survive for several months on $5 to $10 worth of fresh produce, milk, etc. a week. That habit has lasted almost 50 years — I’ve always had a “lay-off cupboard” — now it is just more of a long-term thing! One issue I’m looking at now is the shortage of eggs — thinking freeze dried eggs need to be part of long-term planning (I’m too old to start raising chickens!) One thing I’ve learned to help increase protein is to add lentils to dishes that call for hamburger. I cut the hamburger by half and add a couple of handfuls of brown lentils — and no one notices the difference once it is all cooked together (the lentils do have to be cooked longer, so I mostly do this with soups). I also think it is important for people to remember to store water for their families. If we are without electricity, the water systems will not work. We need to store drinking water and water to use for hygiene and cleaning. I also think it is good to store seeds, even if it is only so we can grow salad greens and other small salad vegetables in containers in sunny windows or on apartment balconies. Sometimes adding something fresh to a meal makes all the difference in how satisfied we feel, not to mention that it adds nutrients that we don’t always get from canned or stored food. Even after all my years of having a “lay-off” cupboard, I always learn things from these articles — my newest thing is to learn about “sun ovens” or alternative ways to bake bread and cook things like casseroles. Thank you!

    1. Renee Russell

      Thanks for sharing your experiences, Nan. I discovered the wonder of lentils as a ground beef stretcher during the pandemic. I was surprised and pleased to find that my boys didn’t notice the difference.

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