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How To Build a 2-Week Emergency Supply Of Food
Having a well-stocked pantry is key to building a 2-week emergency supply of food for the next natural disaster.
Creating an emergency supply list is a great way to prepare yourself and your family for the next flood, hurricane, pandemic, tornado or earthquake. It also comes in handy when you have unexpected financial issues and can’t go to the store.
I’m a firm believer in being prepared. I started my preparedness (not sure that is a word) journey by putting together 72 hours kits, after that, I began a 14-day emergency pantry and then eventually a 3-month emergency supply and am currently working towards a one year supply.
I live in Arizona, so I’m lucky enough to avoid most natural disasters. They just don’t seem to happen around here. (crossing fingers). However, I worry about financial issues.
As a kid, I remember using our food storage multiple times when money was tight and have always had a firm belief in having a little bit of extra on hand.
How to start a 2 Week Emergency Food Supply:
I recommend starting with a 2-week emergency supply of food simply because it is easy! Pretty much anyone can put aside two weeks of food. It isn’t crazy expensive and most people can find the room to store the food easily.
1. Account for a variety of emergency situations
This is where emergency food planning can get overwhelming and out of control. What if you don’t have power, electricity or water? What if you are forced to self-quarantine yourself? What if you are laid off and need to drastically cut your spending?
Here is the deal, with a simple 2-week emergency meal plan, you can’t account for every variable. What you have to do is look at the most likely scenario.
For example, if you are in a flood zone, what type of problems might you be forced to deal with? Your water could be contaminated, you may not have electricity and you may be stuck sheltering in place.
If this is your situation then you need to make sure you have plenty of water and a way of cooking your meals. Keep in mind that you may not be able to use your outdoor grill because it is covered in water, so you need indoor options.
Carefully think through the most likely natural disasters in your area and then begin your plans.
Remember how I said it could get out of control, this is where you have to make some decisions. Unless you are a hardcore prepper and have tons of money, you are going to have to pick and choose the best options for you and your family.
Don’t focus on every possible negative thing that could happen. Pick one thing and then plan accordingly. Once you are stocked and ready to survive one problem you can start expanding to include other potential issues.
2. Create a 14-day meal plan
To create a 2 week supply of food you will need 14 dinner, 14 lunches, 14 breakfasts, and 28 snacks/treats. I keep it super simple and rotate all of my meals. So I only plan for four days and then reuse those meals multiple times.
You may need to adjust how many days you plan based on your family needs and situations. I’m lucky my husband eats leftovers like a champ which really makes things easier.
Start by brainstorming a list of meals. Then circle the 4-6 meals your family will always eat. Create a list of ingredients you will need for each meal (don’t forget spices) and then create your shopping list.
Over the next couple of weeks gradually add to your pantry until you have an extra 14 days of food. If you spread it out and watch for sales you’ll be surprised at how inexpensive the process can be.
Don’t forget to include some treats and snacks in your emergency food supply. When you are stressed and worried having a little bit of sugar (hello dark chocolate!) can make all the difference in your state of mind.
3. When planning your meals simple is best!
All of my emergency food meals are simple, easy to prepare, but filling and full of calories. If I’m in an emergency situation I don’t want to spend hours trying to cook an elaborate meal.
For this reason, I recommend basing your meals on canned and frozen goods.
My emergency pantry includes the ingredients to make meals like spaghetti or enchiladas. However, I also have a ton of canned chili, rice-a-roni, and ramen noodles. If you have freezer space then include a frozen lasagna or burritos on your list. Any of these meals can be paired with some canned or frozen veggies for quick and simple meals.
For breakfasts, I use oatmeal, cold cereal, pancakes, or eggs.
Keep in mind that depending on when the emergency occurs you may not have enough milk or eggs to last for two weeks. I pretty much always have a week’s supply of most staples, so I’ll eat them first and then begin using the longer-term food items as needed.
I also keep some dried milk and shelf-stable milk in my pantry. It doesn’t taste as good, but can be used for cooking and with cold cereal to keep a sense of normalcy with kids.
4. Supplement with shelf-stable and freeze-dried foods
I’m a huge fan of supplementing your emergency food storage with freeze-dried and shelf-stable items.
Freeze-dried food has come a long way! I use it all the time for backpacking and camping trips and it is surprisingly delicious. However, if you are used to fresh food and have never eaten freeze-dried food it can do a number on your digestional tract. Not to mention the fact that you may struggle to get your kids to eat it.
I know a lot of people who plan to use freeze-dried food for emergencies but have never actually eaten it before.
In an emergency it is better then nothing, but if this is your plan I highly recommend purchasing some individual pouches and trying them out periodically.
I’ve got a lot of freeze-dried food and plan to use it intermittently with my normal pantry foods. This way if there is an emergency it will stretch out my pantry food so it will last longer.
5. Water, water, water!
The average rule of thumb is that you’ll need 1 gallon of water per person per day in an emergency situation. If you have a large family, this can be a lot of water! People typically drink around 1/2 gallon a day and need 1/2 gallon for food preparation, sanitization, and cleaning.
Depending on your food choices or geographic area you may need more water. Since we live in Phoenix we’ve tried to put aside 2 gallons per person per day. Having enough water is life or death out here.
I’ve got a whole post devoted to storing water, so check it out for additional information.
6. Don’t forget the non-food items you’ll need in an emergency
Although food and water should be your top priorities when preparing for an emergency there is a lot of extra’s that can make your life significantly easier.
For example, do you have enough toilet paper, soap, trash bags, and feminine products stashed away? What about hand sanitizer?
Again you need to assess the type of emergencies you are liable to face and then plan accordingly.
Preparing a 2-Week Emergency Supply is completely doable!
Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed preparing your two-week emergency supply list. Start simple, start small, and take the first step.