Identify How Much Food You Need

The first thing to understand is that online food storage charts aren’t a great way to figure out how much emergency food you need for your family or what it’s like to live out the plan. Don’t trust your vital food storage strategy to a simple chart because caloric requirements can vary so much depending on the people involved and their activity levels.

A more accurate approach begins by figuring out the daily caloric requirements for your household. How many calories of food energy do the various people in your home need each day?   Start by determining the basal metabolic rate (BMR) of everyone in your household using an online calculator. The BMR is the number of calories you’ll burn each day just being alive with no activity. BMR calculators are trustworthy and simple. Next, apply a multiplication factor to the BMR, depending on the level of activity you expect. In an emergency situation you’ll probably be at least moderately active, so multiply each BMR by 1.6 to get actual daily food energy requirements. If in doubt, multiply by 1.7. This exercise of calculation is just to get you started. The actual fine tuning of the quantities of food you store comes later.

TECH TIP: Stock Up on Multi-Vitamins

Keeping a supply of daily multi-vitamins on hand isn’t glamorous, but it is very useful to keep you health when there are no food stores open.

Food survival preparations aren’t always glamorous. Sometimes the most important ones are the homeliest. Take multi-vitamins, for instance. They seem pretty ordinary when things are normal, but a year’s supply of vitamins can make a huge difference in your health when food systems collapse. Staying alive with your emergency food supply is one thing, but it’s entirely possible you’ll be missing some nutrients. A one-a-day tablet will make this a non-issue and help you survive and thrive. Several pounds of ascorbic acid powder will provide for minimum vitamin C needs for a long time.

Add up the total daily calories needed by your family per day, then create a survival menu of different foods and quantities that you’ll actually live with for four days as a test. Yes, that’s right. No eating anything other than what’s in your survival trial food experience. Why four days? It’s a sufficiently long shakedown period to give you a real sense of what it’s like to eat in the survival mode you’ve chosen. Four days will be enough to get rid of any stored glucose energy left over in your bloodstream from normal eating. This time frame will also give you a chance to see if your estimate of food quantities is correct, and to test your meal preparation systems. Will that wheat mill really handle grinding 6 cups of flour each day, day after day? Can the off-grid cooking system you’ve got prepare meals efficiently? Expect surprises and disappointments because of your four-day trial. That’s what it’s for. Better to experience them now, learn and adjust, rather than fail during a food shortage situation.

Watch the video up next for an overview of the four-day food trial process.

VIDEO: Four Day Food Supply Trial

TECH TIP: Build Supplies Slowly

Never try to create a year-long food storage system all at once. It’s too much work, it’s too confusing and you’ll make too many mistakes. Instead, build your system over a period of several months, start small, add features, experiment with foods, and learn what works and what doesn’t. Live with the basics of the Spartan food plan (described later this week), see what that’s like in real life, then add more variety to your stores as your skill grows and needs dictate. Remember, the more lavish your stored food supplies, the more work and diligence it takes to keep that food fresh until you use it.

Is something not working in your trial? Make adjustments to your approach, then try another four days again. How do things work now? When you’ve identified a menu and quantities that do the job, simply multiply food quantities by 100 then stock up. This will give you a year’s worth of food plus 10% extra for waste. Add a little more food just to be safe, and you’re all set. By working your food plans around the entire family (and not individuals in the family) it simplifies the process without risking accuracy.