Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Continuity Insurance - Food Storage Planning

Today we’ll go over the planning of your food storage, starting with a few ways to finance it and the supplies for the first 72 hours.

Copyright ©2010 Noel Napolitan

Planning

Shoestring Storage

The cost of living is growing daily and the economy is going in the opposite direction. It’s a wonder how any of us can afford to add one more thing to our budget. You want to store food, but how can your income be stretched any further? These few ideas might help you see how you can build food storage system without going broke or spending money meant to pay your existing bills.

Take the next $15 or $30 (or even more) you would have spent on dining out and invest it in honey or wheat or even a one person 72 hour kit.

How often do you buy food at the super market, put it in the refrigerator and then throw it away a week or two later because it molded? Plan a menu for each month and stick to it. Cut out the waste and every time you go food shopping, set aside that extra $5 that molded in the fridge. Within a month, you will have enough saved to purchase a "favorite something" on your food storage list.

Come up with your own ways to save or even make money, like one less latte or get all your neighbors together and have a monthly yard sale. Now, use these profits to add to your food storage. Involve the whole family (or even the neighborhood), maybe paper route or other job that everyone can do will give you exactly what you need.

Store what you and your family like to eat. Don't just randomly put together a food storage list. Put together the basics (listed above and expanded upon below), and build on that (don’t forget non-food items as well, like cleaning supplies, utensils, pots, pans, MANUAL CAN-OPENER). Get everyone together and set up a plan that everyone can agree on.

Set up a ‘survival garden’ to grow specific food storage plants. Grow tomatoes, peppers, and cilantro and ‘put by’ some delicious salsa, as well as plain tomatoes. Or grow other fruits or vegetables that your family enjoys. Learn how to ‘can’ so that you can easily and inexpensively add the foods you love to your food storage

Sprouting seeds cost next to nothing to buy, but they provide much in the way of nutrition. Learn how to grow them. Sprouts are an excellent addition to salads, sandwiches, soups, and stir-fry and can be grown very quickly.

Remember that a short-term, as well as a long-term food storage program is ultimately the way to go. If you can’t afford to buy a year supply right away, work on a 72 hour supply, then a week supply, and so on until you are prepared for a full year.

We’ll go over many of these points throughout this book and expand upon them as we go. Never forget that storing extra food and other necessities is just as important as having money in the bank. It’s your ‘Continuity Insurance’. When an emergency happens, good people work together. So always do your part to prepare and share. It is truly wonderful to see how we can all help each other out.

Food Planning For the First 72 Hours

Because an emergency is a stressful time for everyone it is important to have high energy foods during these times. High calorie foods (even empty calories) are recommended for these emergencies. Plan ahead and you can have meals that are high in energy and nutritious as well. Also, see the list at the end of this section called ‘A Perfect Twenty’ [This list will be posted in a future post.].

You can live for more than a week without food as long as you have clean water to drink, but you certainly won’t be very comfortable, especially when you’ve been used to eating three meals a day along with snacks. Besides the nutrition you get from the food, there are also the psychological benefits of doing things the same or similar to the way you did before the disaster. Eating three meals a day will help alleviate the stress and make it feel more like normal.

If you need to be evacuated to an emergency shelter, food will most likely be provided for you and your family, but most relief aid will usually take 72 hours, minimum, to get set up. It is your responsibility to plan your own meals for those three days. Foods that are lightweight, compact, and require little preparation are best for your 72 hour kit. An emergency situation is not when you want to be trying new foods that your family is unaccustomed to. You should test your emergency foods before you need them. Whenever you can, you should stick to simple things that you are used to. Consider the following possibilities:
1.   Stress Foods - Any of the foods that provide sugar energy (and are comfort foods) are good ones to keep in your 72 hour kit. These foods include: chocolate, hard candy, dry sugared cereal, fruit bars, dehydrated fruits and more. In any situation that is high in stress, your body requires a higher amount of calories, not just nutrition. For you folks who are not supposed to eat sugar, you can pack other high calorie foods like peanut butter, dried fruit, and sugar-free candy.
2.   Compressed Food Bars - Compressed food bars are: granola bars, trail bars, energy bars, and emergency food ration bars that are packaged for long term storage. They are lightweight, good for you, and high in calories, making them a great thing to have in your 72 hour kit.
3.   Survival Drink Mixes - These are drink mixes that are high in proteins, vitamins and minerals, such as protein drinks, diet drinks (like SlimFast) and survival drink mixes. They should be just-add-water types of mixes and you need remember to store extra water for mixing them. Remember that any diet drink mixes you put in your kit should be high in protein, not just weight loss supplements.
4.   Trail Mixes - Trail mixes (also known as Gorp) can be made of ingredients such as granola, raisins, nuts, seeds, dried fruit or chocolate chips and are more often than not, a mixture of all of the above. They are very good and chock full of energy and nutrition. It’s easy enough to make your own trail mix to accommodate your family’s taste, but be aware that it could become inedible if you try to store it for a long period of time. Keeping your trail mix in sandwich sized zip lock baggies in your refrigerator or freezer is an excellent way to make its shelf life even longer.
5.   Dried Foods - Dried fruit and meat (jerky) are also great additions to your 72 hour kit. They are tasty and satisfying and they can easily make up a part of a meal.
6.   Freeze-dried Foods - Freeze dried foods are probably the most “normal” foods you can pack to give you and your family a regular meal. They are lightweight and easy to make, however, they do require extra water and some cooking. Make sure you store enough water and a way to heat it.
7.   Instant Soups, Meals, & Milk - Instant soups and meals, such as cup of noodles, cup of soup, and instant mashed potatoes, are a good way to supplement meals for three days. They are very lightweight and easy to pack in your kit. Powdered milk is an excellent way to make sure you get your calcium. Once again, these also require additional water.
8.   MRE’s (Meals ready to eat) - MRE’s, designed for the military, are the easiest meals you can put in your 72 hour kit. They have a good, long shelf life of up to 10 years when they’re stored at temperatures below 70° F. This makes them an easy solution for emergencies. MRE’s also do not require cooking, water, or any preparation unless you want them warm. You can purchase MRE heaters at most places that sell the MREs themselves.
9.   Snack Foods or Comfort Foods - Snack foods are a very important part of your 72 hour kit. If you eat snacks during normal times, you will want them during emergencies too. Plus snacks are also comfort foods and a very good way to help relieve the stress of emergencies. You can store snack-packs of cheese and crackers, packages of crackers or nuts, or peanut butter snacks. MRE snacks (purchased with your MREs or separately) are a good way to go because they can be stored for 5 or more years and they’re pretty tasty.
10.For Babies or Toddlers - If you have a nursing baby, you should always pack formula in case you aren’t able to nurse because of shock or stress (or lack of privacy). It’s a good idea to include both powdered and liquid formula in case water is not available. Also include baby food for an older baby or toddler. Instant cereals and dried fruits and vegetables are a good choice. Yet once again, you will need to store extra water so that you can reconstitute these items and don’t forget to update your kit as your baby grows. Keep in mind, as well, that most emergency food ration bars have coconut and other oils (in addition to added iron) that you may not want to feed your infant or toddler.

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