If you consistently plan the meals for your family, you likely already have an idea of what a well-balanced refrigerator and pantry should look like. However, when you are building an emergency food supply, it can feel a little like trodding on foreign territory even though picking food supplies for a well-balanced diet for your household normally comes as second nature.
For the most part, creating a long term food storage should follow the same rules that you would follow when shopping normally. The primary difference will be that the food choices may be in different forms and you will be looking at food supplies to cover longer periods of time. Here are a few tips to help you build an adequately balanced, perfectly nutritious collection of long-term food supplies for your household.
Be Mindful of the USDA's Food Guide Pyramid
The United States Department of Agriculture introduced the Food Guide Pyramid. This guide is meant as a basic reference of what a well-balanced nutritional intake should look like for one individual. The primary points on the Food Guide Pyramid to keep in mind when you are creating a supply of food include:
Get Familiar with Nutritional Intake Needs
You should know how many calories per day people in your household should be eating. Women and older adults should have at least 1,600 calories. Children, teen girls, active women, and some men should have about 2,200 calories per day. Teen boys and men who are active can go as high as 2,800 calories to remain healthy. Of course, in an emergency situation, individuals can survive on far fewer calories, but it is best to build a long term food storage that can cater as closely to these caloric intake needs as possible to keep everyone healthy. Additionally, keep in mind that the calories should come from healthy foods, such as vitamin-rich fruits, vegetables, and grains.
Consider the Food Preferences & Needs of Your Household
If you have people in your household that have specific dietary needs, it is important to keep this in mind as well when planning for emergency food supply building. For instance, you will have to make adjustments to the type of food you invest in if you have someone in the house who is diabetic, must have lower sodium foods, or does not eat meat. Picking food should also be somewhat of a family affair so everyone has something they like to eat.
Focus on Consistency in Portions But Variety in Food Options
Buying in bulk, whether it is dried or freeze dried food, is usually the most inexpensive option for building an emergency supply. Look at the portions of food that can be served from each container to make sure they line up with the dietary needs of the family. However, it is better to go with a variety of food options. For example, if you only build a supply of dried rice, dried beans, freeze-dried apples, and powdered milk, everyone will get tired of the same foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Instead, you should work toward making sure you have a variety of food options stored. With the many types of shelf-sturdy, long-term foods available, this does not have to be an expensive or space-consuming feat.
The more planning that goes into creating a long term emergency food supply, the more comfortable you and your household members will be in the event your stored food has to sustain you. Reach out to us at Valley Food Storage if you would like to know more about creating a well-balanced food supply for yourself or for you and your family or if you are interested in our freeze dried food.