How to Calculate Your Long Term Emergency Food Storage Needs

The amount of food you need to store depends on the number of people in your family and their ages and for how many days/months you are building your food storage.  It also depends on your cooking method.  Food storage is like planning for a camping trip that you won’t take for at least six months. 

For our Food Storage Challenge, we’re working on building a three day supply of food for our family by the end of May.  For this step, we’ll calculate your water and food needs based on the modified recipes you created in Step 2: How to Start a Long Term Emergency Food Storage.  I’ll calculate things out for you per person, and then you can easily adjust for the number of people in your family.

Water Needs

We’ll need to cook, clean and drink with this water supply, so a minimum of one gallon per person per day is a good baseline.  Some basic calculations:


            1 person x 3 days x 1 gallon/day = 3 gallons
            4 people x 3 days x 1 gallon/day = 12 gallons
            8 people x 3 days x 1 gallon/day = 24 gallons

Not sure how to store your water?  Read the Emergency Water Storage Basics blog post for good ideas.

Food Needs

Next, let’s calculate our food needs.  Do you know what you normally consume during a day?  I eat three meals and a few snacks.  Disasters are no time to start a new diet, so you’ll want to include food that you and your family will actually eat.

The easiest way to calculate the amount of food you will need is to break it down by meal.  Let’s do a sample breakdown for breakfast: 

I’m a fan of oatmeal and fruit in the mornings.  Maybe your family is into cereal and milk.   Let’s calculate those two meals out:
           
1 person x 1 instant oatmeal packet x 3 mornings = 3 instant oatmeal packets
            1 person x 1 fruit (canned or frozen)  x 3 mornings = 3 fruit (canned or frozen)
                       
            1 person x 2 cups of cereal x 3 mornings = 6 cups of cereal
1 person x 1/3 cup powdered milk (mix with 1 cup water) x 3 mornings = 1 cup powdered milk.
*one box of 12 oz cereal has almost 12 cups.  You can feed two people for three days with one 12 oz box.

Homework

Your homework for today is to calculate your food needs based on the number of people in your family and what they like to eat:

1.      Pull out your modified recipes from Step 2: How to Start a Long Term Emergency Food Storage.  You should have one each for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
2.      Start with breakfast and use this easy calculation:
a.       Ingredient A x 3 days = Total Ingredient A
b.      Ingredient B x 3 days = Total Ingredient B
c.       Etc.
3.      Next lunch:
a.       Ingredient A x 3 days = Total Ingredient A
b.      Ingredient B x 3 days = Total Ingredient B
c.       Etc.
4.      Now dinner:
a.       Ingredient A x 3 days = Total Ingredient A
b.      Ingredient B x 3 days = Total Ingredient B
c.       Etc.
5.      The final calculation is multiply your totals by however many people you will try to feed.
a.       Total Ingredient A x 4 people = …
b.      Total Ingredient B x 4 people = …
c.       Etc.   

Important Notes:
·         This is way to calculate food storage for adults and children who will all eat the same thing.  If you have small children or infants, you will need to make a separate list of food items for them. 
·         Make sure to include snacks and any tea or coffee drinks that are important or comforting to you and your family.
·         If you have pets, you will want to calculate and add extra food and water for them as well.

Other needs:
           
We’ve talked about fuel and water already, but what about soap to clean your dishes, candlelight & matches to eat by, coolers to store ice & a can opener?  Toilet paper and emergency cash (credit cards don’t work without power but cash always does) should also go with your long term emergency food storage.  Add a three-day supply of these items to your shopping list.

Now that you have you have your shopping list, head on over to the store to stock up.  You’ll need your food items for the next step: How to Rotate Your Long Term Emergency Food Storage.

No long term emergency food storage is complete without things like a first aid kit and an emergency stash of toiletries.  Get those in your ready-made emergency kit at our online store.


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