Many of us learned that the average American has food at home worth less than 3 days. Which means we’re just 72 hours away from a food riot could threaten supply lines. Even if you don’t have the resources to invest in food storage, there are some foods that you can always have on hand to form the base of your meals for survival.
1. Baby Formula
Really? Even if you don’t have babies? Yes!
Baby formula is designed to be everything a body needs to survive. Infants live exclusively on formula. No water. No solid food. Nothing else.
Powdered infant formula tastes a lot better than powdered milk and it’s better for you. Dried and sealed, infant formula lasts for years.
Beyond that, if you’re trying to live on the long haul, you never know when a infant may be in need of tending. Although breastfeeding is an obvious solution, this might not be feasible for several reasons.
If you store formula powder, be sure to reconstitute it using clean or sterilized water.
If for whatever cause you are adamantly opposed to infant formula, consider protein powder. It won’t help you feed infants, but when it comes to feeding adults and older children it is just as flexible.
2. White Flour
White flour lasts for a year and has a surprising amount of protein. While historically, people living on a mostly white flour diet had trouble with nutritional deficiencies, modern flour has vitamins and minerals added to it.
Related: How to Use Acorns as Survival Food
With a little know how, all you need is white flour, water and salt to make good bread using wild yeast.
3. Coconut Oil
A ready source of fat, along with white flour, can go a long way to improve moods and fill stomachs. Coconut oil has a long shelf life and it should be perfect for manufacturers as the day it was purchased for 2 years. Practically speaking, it’s much longer than that, and you probably won’t notice a difference if you’re eating properly preserved 5-year-old coconut oil.
Unlike several other oil types, coconut oil has the added benefit of being tasty even if you don’t have the cooking facilities. Mash in a bit of sugar and coconut powder and you have truffles of coconut oil for comfort food and a ready source of energy, no need to cook.
Salt is also said to be a food for survival, but you don’t really need to consume a lot of salt to survive. Quite small quantities will keep you healthy and from our typical salt heavy diet, you’ll need to learn how to adapt.
The real reason for keeping salt is for preserving the food. If you happen to be fortunate enough to get fresh meat; salt is the only thing you can not ruin it. Charcuterie is the art of preserving each part of the animal with nothing more than salt and technique and in the process, turning it into something beautiful.
If you find yourself in a situation of survival, learning the fundamentals of meat preservation without refrigeration may mean the difference between surviving and thriving.
In a pinch, coat the salted meat with salt. A lot of salt. Completely cover it, and keep it covered. It may not be exactly the same as prosciutto, but it won’t spoil.
5. Home-Canned Fruits, Vegetables & Meats
You’ll notice I say “home canned” rather than purchased. Why?
Because once you open up a can of home canned hamburger, pasta sauce or potatoes, you still have something very valuable: a canning jar.
After that, you have the experience to do it again if you canned them yourself. Store bought canned food will get you through through the emergency in the short term, but the experience and supplies to refill those jars will take you through the long haul.
If you’re going to spend money buying food, the dried fruit and meat will be my personal choice. Dried fruits and meats are light so portable and it is much more convenient to have a stock of water and dried fruit than a stock of canned food.
Beyond that, in a cold climate, canned foods can freeze and blow their seals unless climate control is maintained in the storage room. I would prefer to focus on keeping my family warm, rather than having to think about keeping the food at a good temperature.
In certain cases canned food is handy, for it is instant. You can open a can and eat it as it is without any planning. The convenience by itself is worth having food canned around. So to make the best use of my dollar, if I’m going to buy canned food, it’s canned food that I put up at little expense to myself.
6. Dried Fruits and Meat
Like I said, dried meats and fruits are versatile. When you have cooking facilities, they can be eaten out of hand or cooked into a stew along with other foods. During an emergency, they are light and they float well.
In particular, dried fruits can help to keep your digestive system safe during a crisis. If your diet is nothing more than white flour and foods for emergency survival, keeping raisins or prunes around to keep things going, will make you much happier and healthier.
7. Peanut Butter
Not only is peanut butter a comfort food, it’s also full of protein and healthy fats that will keep you satisfied long after a meal. It can be eaten right out of the container for a quick energy boost and fully sealed containers last for years on the shelf.
Nutritional deficiencies will ruin your health. In lean times, our ancestors had to deal not only with feeding themselves but also with maintaining a adequately healthy diet to avoid crippling deficiencies.
A single cheap multi-vitamin bottle will fill nutritional gaps and let you concentrate on calories rather than vitamin content. Most vitamin brands contain much more than the recommended daily amount of most of the main vitamins and only a single vitamin per person per week can mean a significant health change.
There are a lot of shelf stable snack foods. Why go with granola?
It’s high calorie, with roughly 700 calories per cup and at the same time it’s nutritionally balanced. The mix of whole grains, nuts, and sugars mean that granola is a complete meal that you can eat while on the move.
Granola also has a long shelf life and it’s light and portable.
10. Dry Beans & Rice
I’m calling this a single item because you should always keep both beans AND rice. Together they form a complete protein and the contents of a 5 gallon food storage bucket can feed you for a month for about $20. Assuming you have the fuel to cook, there’s no better way to store calories and nutrition than a balance of beans and rice.
With a grocery store just around the corner; sugar is cheap and readily available. For now. In an emergency, sugar is an excellent source of energy and it’ll be scarce without global trade.
Sugar can also be used in food preservation, which will expand your foraging options.