Humans need to eat about 2,500 calories per day, as a rule of thumb, to keep their current weight. Kids and old folks need less but 2,000 to 2,500 calories is needed per day per person every day of the emergency. Sitting around the house with no workouts requires 2,000 calories per day, working hard requires 2,500 calories.
I am going to recommend a workout program that will keep the family in shape but that means more calories burned so you MUST plan for 2,500 calories per person per day during the emergency – nothing less!!!
So how do you provide 2,500 * 90 days or 225,000 calories per person for every 3 months? For a family of 4 that’s about 1,000,000 calories you must supply them every 3 months. For comparison purposes, 1 gallon of gasoline is equivalent to 31,500 food calories; that’s 32 gallons of gasoline worth of food calories you must have stored in the basement every 3 months for your family. Luckily this is a very simple problem to solve – it just takes money.
The Emergency Food Industry needs to clean it’s act up – it’s a cesspool of companies spinning the truth (lying in other words) and talk about “meals” and not to 2,500 calories per day. I have yet to find ANY company in this industry that shoots for 2,500 calories per day. Some get close to 2,000 or 1,800 calories but that means you lose weight every day – this is insanity. I’ve tried to “normalize” the industry in my tables and it’s an eye opener. You need some emergency food but dealing with these companies is an unpleasant experience; dealing with a used car salesman is more fun than these folks.
Our ancestors, who settled America, did not have any easy way to supply those calories to their family – they had to grow their own food and preserve it to survive the harsh winters. So you are getting off easy from this responsibility – go get a second job at Mickey Dee’s if you have to and buy emergency food for your family.
Pets have it easy, just put some dried food in a container, safe from rodents, and store it with your family’s emergency food supply. For a dog or cat a minimum of 3 months of dried food is mandatory – don’t you dare run out of dried dog/cat food and share your food with them – their food probably tastes better!
Emergency Food can be categorized into groups:
1) Food Bars
2) Meals Ready To Eat (MRE)
3) Freeze-dried Containers/Buckets
4) Camping Meals
These bars are real survival food regulated by the US Coast Guard since they are part of maritime survival kits in life boats. Each bar is about 1,200 calories and are the cheapest of all emergency foods. They are nearly indestructible from heat but only have a 5-year shelf life. I recommend these ONLY as barter food – to a person eating earthworms these are 5-star meals. So these will be in your kit but not for your consumption.
If your neighbor’s family is starving, you can barter these bars with them and help them out; don’t you dare hand them out for free – that means they have no value to you. Additionally, these bars are small and compact and can be used to barter with others for things your family needs – this is the new currency in an emergency; a currency that is actually worth something. Luck for you these bars are dirt cheap and you can buy a boat load of them for next to nothing.
After 5 years you can rotate new bars into your stock and eat the old ones as a snack if you wish. Donating them to a local food pantry gets them out of the house, feeds some folks down on their luck, and makes you feel better – that’s my advice to you.
Since 1981 the US Military’s Meals, Ready to Eat (MRE) is the standard field ration for all military members. MRE’s and the civilian counterpart, contain 1,200 calories for each meal – they are designed for folks doing heavy work. The meals are self contained with self-heating pouches to heat the entree without the need of a fire or boiling water. MRE’s only have a shelf life of 5-years if kept at 70 degrees. There is a cult following of MRE’s by survivalists and eBay if full of military surplus MRE’s but if the rations were kept in desert warehouses of temperatures of 130° F then they are already spoiled but you have no way of knowing that so don’t buy them at any price. I don’t recommend these things at all.
This is where you find the stuff that’s like dried soup mix and you mix it with boiling water to get a soup/stew the thickens into a pudding kind of texture – it tastes horrible but smells really good. These meals can be supplemented with freeze-dried meats, vegetables, and fruits and the result is something you can eat and not feel sick. I’m going to suggest that 50% of your food is this combination of soup base plus meat and vegetables. The food in this group has a shelf life of 7 years for meals containing animal protein and 25 years for vegetarian meals. All kits contain this group of food and Bronze and Silver Kits contain 75% of these meals with 25% camping meals.
This is what you really want to eat 100% of the time, but the average meal costs $7 and that’s $21/day per person – only Platinum and Gold Kits contain 75% of these meals with 25% from containers/buckets. You can buy a few of these meals and sprinkle them around your food plan and have something to look forward to. Some of these meals have self-heating pouches and are great for folks who are sent out to get water, or scout, and are held up due to unforeseen circumstances – they can enjoy a hot meal without a fire. Kids can be motivated to do their chores and keep up with school work with these meals. These kind of meals have a 7-year shelf life because of animal protein in every meal.
Existing Food in your pantry:
Canned foods, like soup and spaghetti in a can, and meals that keep on a shelf are NOT emergency food supply meals – they have a 3-year shelf life and even after 1 year taste like a tin can and merge into a brown mush in the package or can. Same with dehydrated foods like trail mix – short shelf life and are meant to be eaten before you eat your emergency food supply.
Food in freezer – during the first 3 days of an emergency you should eat frozen meals by placing a frying pan on top of your camp-stove and heating the frozen meals anyway you can. Don’t worry about smells and smoke outside, there will be absolute pandemonium going on everywhere around you. So polish off the ice-cream and other goodies in the freezer before you start opening and using your emergency food stores.