How to Meet Your Food Storage Goals
The best way to accumulate worthwhile food storage is to begin with a short-term goal! Set a timeframe in which to buy that can be accomplished in a few months. For example, set a goal to gather food for a two-week supply in a 3-month timeframe. By accomplishing a smaller beginning goal, you will gain experience and confidence in what works best for you!
Before I share the 5 steps of how to meet your food storage goals, I first want to recommend
anyone starting out on your food storage journey to use a recipe-based food storage plan! A recipe-based food storage plan is one designed around meals that will be prepared NOT ingredients stored. In practice, this looks like shopping for a set amount of ingredients that will be used to make previously determined meals. This in not shopping for bulk items such as beans, rice, and wheat and then trying to create meals from what you have on hand.
Beginning with a plan based on recipes is FAR superior for a few of reasons:
1) You know EXACTLY what and how much you need to store,
2) You work to have all the ingredients on hand,
3) You have planned meals that you know your family will eat, and
4) You can look for deals and discounts on items you need to purchase.
Read this article on recipe-based food storage.
To begin meeting your food storage goals you first must set a goal for how long you would like to plan.
I recommend starting with two weeks or one month. These are great goals to begin with because they are very attainable and upon completion you will have created an emergency food supply! After accomplishing a 2-week or 1-month goal you can always repeat the process to gather more food stores.
Next, make a list of 7 dinner meals your family would be happy eating. I find that dinner meals are a bit more complicated in my house and generally require more ingredients and so I start here. These can be your weekly go-to meals that you know everyone likes to eat or easy weeknight meals when you are tight on time such as spaghetti or canned soup and crackers.
For greater consideration, brainstorm recipes or meals that 1) you will want to prepare regularly (you will eventually rotate through these ingredients) and 2) translate into shelf-stable ingredients that can be used in multiple recipes. For example, if I plan for meals that call for chicken, I’ll plan one or two dinner recipes that use canned or freeze-dried chicken so that my shopping stays relatively focused on the same ingredients. This also allows me to buy more in bulk during sales.
Check out my free one-week emergency food menu for inspiration.
After you’ve identified the 7 dinner meals that you wish to plan for do the same for breakfast and lunch. This can be as simple as 3 columns on a paper or as detailed as my Complete Meal Planner.
Now it is time to create a pantry inventory/shopping list. In the most basic practice, multiply all your meals/ingredients by your goal amount. For 2 weeks multiply by 14 (7 days per week) and for 1 month multiply your meals by 28 (4 weeks in 1 month). This should give you an approximate amount to shop for. Those of you that like a bit more detail and organization will need to think through a bit more on ingredient amounts. For example, if you have plans to make a loaf of bread each week then flour will be on your list. How much flour do you use in your recipe? Multiply that by your goal and you will have a more precise total.
Another area in which more thought and detail will be helpful is if you plan to use freeze-dried/powdered ingredients. For example, I love to make broccoli and chicken stir-fry for my family. In my preparations, I have freeze-dried chicken and freeze-dried broccoli in the amount needed. I have calculated how many ounces of freeze-dried ingredients I need after they are reconstituted. *Note: I don’t plan to use the freeze-dried ingredients right away (because they have 25-year shelf-lives). Instead, I will use fresh ingredients and save the freeze-dried ingredients for a later time (when it is necessary to use them).
You can be as detailed and organized as you like. I love the details and am an organizer by nature, which is why I created the Prep Your Pantry Meal Planner. If you are like me in this way, check it out! The Meal Planner will calculate all the details for you! Simply begin with your recipes and then plan your menu with the meals! The conversions are completed with a mouse-click, your menu and pantry list are printable, and you can also easily change your food goal.
Complete Meal Planner – $39
Take total control over the recipes and ingredients you wish to include in your meal plan and create a completely customized pantry list with your meal ingredients.
Finally, start shopping! I buy ingredients when I see sales and I also buy extra each week to add to my food supply. I find that if I think about buying a bit extra each week then the task is not so daunting. For example, if you purchase 1 extra day’s (3 meals) worth of food each week, in 14 weeks (or 3-1/2 months) you will have acquired a 2-weeks supply worth of food! Unlike shopping for an indiscriminate prepper pantry, you have a specific set of ingredients to buy AND a set amount! Setting a goal, staying with it each week will lead to your food storage success!