January 20, 2015

Create a 3-Month Food Storage Supply Plan

Figuring out how much you want to put in your food storage can be overwhelming. Most suggestions on the internet focus on long-term foods. However, if you are following the current home storage program taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you will want to start with a 3-month supply of every day foods.

Don't Panic. Food prices have always gone up. Disasters happen every day. Don't panic and run to the store buying cases and cases of food you don't know how to manage. Don't run faster than you are able to afford. Pick a budget like $20 to $30 dollars a month per person, and have some self-control. Over the years I've been patiently gathering which has taken a ton of faith. But it is worth it.

"I don't eat canned food." Some people truly can't eat canned foods. I can't help you too much. But I bet you have some recipes your family would use if your husband ever lost his job or an earthquake hit your town. I prefer my homemade spaghetti sauce over Ragu any day. So I stock up on canned tomatoes for that recipe. Someday we may not be able to afford fresh spinach from Costco. And most families only have a 1 week supply of fresh foods in their home. So be realistic and create a plan with items that can be stored.

I always suggest starting with a 3-month supply of food your family eats right now. Most people panic when they hear a year's supply of food. Even a 3-month supply won't be easy for some of you to gather, but it's a place to start. It's STEP 1 of the LDS Home Storage Plan.

Some people like to create menus first, and figure out the gazillion ingredients for those menus. I've done that, but it's not very easy. Others suggest you create simple meals like spaghetti sauce + spaghetti = a meal. Personally, I think you you know how you cook and can plan a few menus.

There are two types of shelf stable foods:
  • Short-term foods - these foods on average have a 3 month to 10 year shelf life. For example, boxed breakfast cereal has about a 1 year shelf life. But a can of corn has a 2 -5 year shelf life.
  • Long-term foods - these foods have a 20 - 30 year shelf life because they sometimes have been carefully sealed with an oxygen absorber packet. But not always. These foods are usually dry and without oils.
Most of the foods in your 3-month supply will be short-term foods. So where do you begin?

Here is a suggestion of how to create your own rough draft 3-month food storage plan.

A. Examine A 3-Month Food Storage Supply Sample
  1. Print out a Sample 3-month Supply of Food Storage Supply.pdf for 1 adult. Remember, I have no idea how much your family eats. But the list of items will get you thinking.
  2. Go through the list, and put a check by items you eat now or might consider using. Cross off those items your family does not like or can't eat because of allergies or medical conditions. But be open minded to other foods.
  3. Some long-term foods are listed like wheat or dry milk. If you don't want to gather a small supply of them right now, you can save them on the list and gather them after you complete Step 1, Step 2 and Step 3 of your home storage plan. Long-term foods are Step 4 in the plan.
B. Decide How Much You Want To Store
  1. Look over the suggested amounts and multiply them by the number of family members. You can divide numbers in half for children, but you don't have to.
  2. Don't get too detailed. I promise later on you will add or delete items and change amounts. Storing yams did not work for our family. Canned carrots is not working either. So just put together a rough draft.
C. Food Storage Hunt
  1. Go on a hunt through your home and find shelf-stable foods you already have on your shelves: foods that have been sealed so they can be safely stored on a shelf for awhile. These foods are canned, boxed or packaged. Take your kids with you and make it fun. 
  2. As you search, write down on another piece of paper other items you have on your shelves that are not on the list. Use my categories to keep it organized.
  3. List the number of items you have and the detail. For instance: corn, 15 oz. can, 2 ea.
  4. Type up your list and there you have it. Your own rough draft 3-month food storage supply plan.
I promise that as you spend time working on this, you will feel a whole lot better. It's all part of the journey, but it's well worth it. I would love to hear about your experiences creating your own 3-month food storage plan. 

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9 comments:

  1. I appreciate all your good posts. They are very helpful!

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  2. I love your website and have been subscribing for quite some time, I just noticed something about the website today. I don't know how long it has been doing this but if I use Google Chrome as my web browser it shakes and is quite annoying to say the least. It starts on the right hand side right below where it shows the "members" all the way down and wrapping around to the bottom of the page. However, if I use internet explorer it does not do this. I don't know if there is anything that can be done. Just thought you would like to know.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Joe, I am not sure what is happening on your computer. I've never had that shaking problem. Is your Google Chrome the most current version? Maybe you should run a virus check. So sorry that is happening on your computer.

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    2. could be your monitor is going to die- had that happen before-

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  3. Hi Valerie, I'm really enjoying your site and all the useful information. In working on my 3 month supply list, I have printed out your 3 month supply pdf, but am wondering if you have it in a editable form somewhere as well? This would save me so much time! Thanks!

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  4. I started ours by writing down the most common meals we eat
    Pasta + sauce + meat
    Meat + potato + veggie
    Rice + meat + veggie + sauce

    Pb&j + bread
    Cheese + bread
    Soup + crackers
    Meat + bread + condiment + cheese

    Eggs + bread + meat
    Pancake mix + syrup or fruit sauce (home canned)
    Cold cereal + milk
    Bread + egg+ milk + syrup/ sauce
    Oatmeal + milk + syrup or fruit

    These are pretty general but the basics for the majority of our regular meals. I then made a list of the 8 meals for each we enjoy the most, added in different side dishes, condiments, and other extra ingredients. Wrote the average amount of each ingredient I use for those meals. Then I added the amounts for each ingredient and took it times 11 giving us roughly a 3 month supply list. I buy powdered milk to replace fresh, either can my own or by canned for most of the ingredients and purchase bulk packages of the dry ingredients.

    Once I had our 3 month supply established I started by adding extras of the staples (while beans isn't listed above we often use it as a filler or in with rice and soups) so I bought another 3 mo of rice, beans, veggies, pastas (which I repackage into meal portions in ziplocs and store in a bucket), oats, flour, different types of salt, sugar (I actually store 4x the salt and sugar because I use them in canning)
    Then I branched out and started adding in the others like meat, cold cereal, fruit, spices, etc.

    It's much easier if you chip away at it bit by bit But sitting down and making that first list is the launch for the rest of it. Now I no longer use much of a grocery list except fresh items, I shop from our store room and rotate what I buy monthly for example
    Month 1-
    Case of can corn
    Case of can mushrooms
    4 boxes cold cereal
    12 cans of meat (great value isn't bad in soups or casseroles)
    25lbs sugar
    5lb honey
    10lb rice
    10lb pasta

    Month 2-
    Case green beans
    Case tomato paste
    Case chunky soups
    5 cans oats
    25 lb sugar
    10lb salt
    10lb dry beans
    10lb pasta
    10lb flour

    Month 3-
    Case mixed veggies
    Case Canned pasta meals
    Case jarred fruit (I like Aldis brand)
    2 large containers each condiment
    25 lb sugar
    5 lb honey
    10lb rice
    10lb beans
    10lb pasta

    Now if I see a good sale I'll swap and buy an item at a different time (never pass up 50 cent packages of pasta or b2G3f anything)

    Certian things I buy monthly like powdered milk (which my kids actually love and ask for over fresh milk) and peanut butter. I can all my sauces, jams and a lot of veggies and fruits in the summer/fall when I can harvest my own or get them from local farmers (try asking at the farmers market if they will give you a deal by the bushel if you come to the farm to pick up or help pick even if it's not a "pick your own" farm, I got corn $6/ bushel last year because the lady was happy to not have to lug it to the farmers market! And we love pick your own farms kids really enjoy going and are so proud to be eating the jam they picked the berries for months later)

    Anyhoo while I'm not Mormon (sorry!) storing food for your family is just common sense and better financially in the long run. I know that when it's winter and work is slow (construction is skim in 6ft of snow and 40mph freezing winds) I can still feed my family just as I can when its good in summer. Giving us the ability to put the money we do earn towards bills first and not get into debt or behind. (We are a cash only family)

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  5. The bit about "you don't eat canned food" caught my eye because my family generally prefers fresh over canned, too. Especially meat. What I do is buy a week supply of canned tuna, chicken, jerky, beef stew, etc. (or whatever it is you don't like to eat out of a can). but then I make a prominent note of the expiration date. About a month before expiration*, if my family hasn't consumed the item, I'll either donate it to a food pantry or pass it on to a friend/relative that I know enjoys the item.

    This way I'm prepared if I lose my access to fresh alternatives, but it also doesn't go to waste if my family doesn't use it.
    *I use the one month mark because Wisconsin food pantries don't accept food that is expired. I eat expired food with reckless abandon and I'm just fine.

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  6. These are really interesting tips as to how to prepare a thorough food storage supply. I think most people aren't really sure how much they need or what exactly they need. I know that's definitely true for me. I'm not sure my family likes canned food, like you mentioned, but I think they'll be happy to have just about anything in an emergency. http://PantryParatus.com

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  7. I just found this and the list provided is by far the best I've encountered. I'm a single senior and most lists are done for a minimum of four people but this is prepared for one and I love it. I used it to create my own list by adding some items and deleting a few that I don't use. Thanks so much for such a comprehensive list.

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Thanks for your comments and suggestions!

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