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A Comprehensive Guide on How to Build a 1-Year Emergency Food Supply for a Family of 4

A Comprehensive Guide on How to Build a 1-Year Emergency Food Supply for a Family of 4

Natural disasters or unforeseen crises can strike at any moment and disrupt your everyday life. With all the uncertainties in the world, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared for emergencies.

This article serves as a comprehensive guide on how to build a 1-year emergency food supply for a family of 4. We wrote this guide to equip as many families as possible with the knowledge and resources needed to build a sustainable emergency food supply that will help a family of 4 survive emergencies for an entire year.

1-Year Emergency Food Supply for a Family of 4

Why Prepare for Emergencies?

You may be wondering, why prepare for emergencies? It’s not like the world’s going to plunge into chaos tomorrow, right?

Well, let’s hope not! But if that happens (or something like that), what will you do? How will you take care of yourself and your family?

Will you and your family survive once power goes out and food supplies are cut? Will you feel secure with what you currently have when human civilization gets disrupted by a catastrophic event?

These are questions that you may not feel comfortable asking yourself, but it’s important to think about them to secure your family’s future.

Building a year-long food supply will take a lot of effort and time, not to mention money! But once you understand the importance of emergency preparedness, you’ll quickly realize that strengthening your family’s security is worth all the effort, time, and money.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll talk about the various aspects of food preparation, which include calculating nutritional needs, proper food storage, and product recommendations.

Hopefully, once you reach the end of this article, you’ll have a more thorough understanding of how to build and maintain your emergency food supply and have the confidence and resilience to navigate through critical and uncertain times.

How to prepare for emergency

3 Steps on How to Build a 1-Year Emergency Food Supply for a Family of 4

Building a year-long emergency food supply for yourself may be jarring, but it isn’t as complicated as building a food supply for 4 people.

You may be a perfectly healthy adult who simply needs to intake your daily minimum caloric needs, but what if you have a sick spouse who needs a more specialized diet? Or what if you have children who are more vulnerable? What if a family member has a faster metabolism that makes them hungry more quickly?

These are just some extra considerations when planning and building a year-long emergency food supply for your family. Luckily, this comprehensive guide will lead you every step of the way.

So, here are the 3 steps to build a 1-year emergency food supply for a family of 4.

Step 1: Assess Your Family’s Needs

Building an emergency food supply for 4 people means you need to consider more factors. Unlike building a supply for an individual, food supply for a family means some factors and considerations are different among the family members.

a. Calculate Your Family’s Daily Caloric Requirements

The first step is to determine the daily caloric needs of each family member. Caloric requirements differ based on several factors, such as age, gender, level of activity, and metabolic rate.

Try your best to assess your family members’ caloric needs as accurately as possible, so you can ensure that your emergency food supply will be able to provide sufficient energy to sustain your family during an emergency.

To calculate the caloric requirements for each family member, determine first their Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Your BMR reflects the amount of calories that you need to consume while living with a relatively minimal activity level.

You can measure each family member’s BMR by visiting a clinic that offers direct or indirect calorimetry. But if you don’t have access to devices or establishments that offer these, you can calculate your own BMR using mathematical equations, such as the Harris-Benedict equation and the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation.

For this article, we will use the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation since this is slightly more accurate than the Harris-Benedict equation based on more recent research.

The Mifflin-St. Jeor equation is:

RMR x Activity level = required amount of calories daily

RMR stands for Resting Metabolic Rate. Although it’s technically different from the BMR, it still practically gives you a good estimate of your actual BMR.

But how do we calculate our BMR? To get our BMR, we use the following equation (which differs between males and females):

  • For males: 10 x weight in kilograms (kg) + 6.25 x height in centimeters (cm) - 5 x age in ears + 5
  • For females: 10 x weight in kg + 6.25 x height in cm -  5 x age - 161

You can easily fill out these equations by getting each family member’s weight (kg), height (cm) in centimeters, and age.

Once you get each member’s BMR, multiply it by each member’s level of activity based on the following guidelines:

  • Sedentary: 1.2
  • Lightly active (exercise 1 to 3 times a week): 1.375
  • Moderately active (exercise 3 to 5 times a week): 1.55
  • Very active (exercise 6 to 7 times a week): 1.725
  • Extra active (exercise or physically demanding activity at least twice a day): 1.9

As you can see, a person’s daily caloric requirements depend greatly on their current body size and activity levels. So, each family member will most likely have different needs compared to another.

Once you get each family member’s daily caloric needs, multiply this by the number of days you aim to cover with your emergency food supply. So in the case of a 1-year supply, we multiply the numbers we got with 365 days. This will give you a rough estimate of the total calories you need to add to your stockpile.

Consider Additional Health Factors

dad talking to his daughters during emergency

After you’re done with the calculations, you should also note down additional health factors you may have to consider.

For example, pre-teens who will soon enter their teenage years will experience growth spurts that will make their bodies more demanding, especially in terms of food and energy. Growth spur is often accompanied by an increase in appetite, so you should also consider that in your calculation.

Another example is if the wife is pregnant or if a family member has a medical condition that requires them to eat higher amounts and healthier foods.

b. Consider Dietary Restrictions and Preferences

It’s not enough that you have the right amount of food to feed your family. You should also have the right kind of food!

Don’t forget to take note of any food allergies or intolerances that your family members may have, so you can make sure that your emergency food supply does not contain any ingredients that may trigger these allergies. You can always look for suitable alternatives and make necessary substitutions to ensure that every member of the family can safely consume the stored food.

For example, if a family member is allergic to peanut butter, you can replace it with almond butter or cashew butter. Just make sure to read the label as some products may contain other ingredients that you don’t like as well. If a family member is lactose intolerant, you can substitute cashew milk or almond milk for cow’s milk.

While your focus should be on the practicality and nutrition of your family’s emergency food supply, it’s still helpful to incorporate familiar and referred food options that can also provide comfort to you and your family during stressful times.

c. Keep Your Storage Space Capacity in Mind

Before you start purchasing and stockpiling any food items, keep in mind your current storage space capacity and availability. Think about both short-term and long-term options, including pantry space, shelves, closets, basements, and other dedicated storage areas in your home.

Although tedious, you should also take measurements of your storage spaces to discover and take note of any limitations or constraints that may affect your storage decisions. Don’t hesitate to spend some extra money to buy space-efficient storage solutions like stackable containers, shelving units, and storage racks, which will allow you to maximize your available space. They will cost extra, but they’re worth the investment.

Lastly, consider also the environmental conditions and factors that may affect your stored food supply. For example, some environmental factors like temperature and humidity may force you to rethink where to store some of your planned food items and create specific storage conditions for them to maintain their freshness and shelf life.

Step 2: Build a Well-Rounded Food Supply

Next is to start building your food stockpile, but make sure that your supply is well-rounded and sustainable. To help you decide what kinds of food to store, here are various categories of food items suitable for long-term storage along with recommendations for each.

1. Staples for Long-Term Storage

For long-term emergency food supply, you need to have a solid foundation of reliable staple foods that can efficiently provide energy and nutrition to your family.

These staples are typically dry goods that have very long shelf lives when stored properly, and their long shelf lives make them very reliable for long-term emergency food supply.

a. Grains

Grains are an essential part of a well-rounded diet. Grains provide carbohydrates, fiber, and other essential nutrients.

When choosing grains for long-term storage, choose varieties that have low moisture content. Also, try to avoid processed ones or at least find ones that are only minimally processed. As long as you store them in a cool, dry place, they’ll last long enough.

  • Rice: Versatile and relatively budget-friendly, rice can be stored for several years when kept in cool, dry storage. They last long enough and provide good nutrition to your family. Common choices are white rice, brown rice, jasmine rice, and basmati rice.
  • Oats: Oats are another versatile and nutritious food that’s rich in fiber, protein, and other important vitamins. Rolled oats and steel-cut oats have excellent shelf lives, and they’re very easy to prepare.
  • Wheat: Whole wheat grains or wheat berries are another good staple food for storage. They have great shelf lives, and you can use them as ingredients for baking bread, pasta, and other grained-based dishes.

b. Legumes

Legumes are nutrient-dense foods, so they’re very efficient when it comes to nutrition. They contain good amounts of protein, fiber, and other essential vitamins and minerals.

Legumes, including beans and lentils, are a good source of plant-based protein, and their excellent shelf lives allow you to store them for several years. Just make sure that they’re stored in airtight containers.

  • Beans: Common varieties like black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, and pinto beans are excellent choices for long-term storage. Dried beans are also versatile ingredients, and you can use them in soups, stews, salads, or as side dishes.
  • Lentils: Lentils are easy to cook, and they’re rich in protein and fiber. They come in various colors, such as green, brown, red, and black. But the best part about them is that you can use them in a wide range of recipes, from soups to casseroles.

    c. Pasta

    Pasta is a convenient and staple source of carbohydrates for energy. It also has a long shelf life when you store it in sealed containers or vacuum-sealed bags.

    • Penne
    • Spaghetti
    • Macaroni
    • Fusilli
    • Linguine

    2. Canned Goods and Preserved Foods

    Another essential addition to your emergency food supply is canned goods and preserved foods. These foods are the most convenient to store and consume by far, and their excellent shelf life makes them very reliable nutrient sources.

    a. Fruits and Vegetables

    Canned fruits and vegetables provide most of the essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that your body needs. They’re also typically packed fresh and securely, which ensures that their quality and flavor will last.

    • Pineapple
    • Green beans
    • Corn
    • Peaches
    • Carrots
    • Tomatoes
    • Mixed fruit

    b. Proteins

    For your main source of proteins, canne proteins are the most valuable and convenient. Canned proteins typically require minimal cooking and can be incorporated into a wide range of dishes.

    • Tuna: Canned tuna is a lean source of protein that you can use in salads, sandwiches, and pasta dishes - the perfect combination with your pasta supply!
    • Chicken: For a convenient alternative to fresh poultry, canned chicken is your best choice. You can use them in soups, salads, wraps, and stir-fries.
    • Beans: Beans are rich in protein, fiber, and carbohydrates, Canned beans, including kidney beans, black beans, and chickpeas, are great for chili, soups, salads, and side dishes.

    c. Soups and Stews

    Canned soups and stews are healthy and satisfying meal options that don’t require much preparation. They are usually available in different flavors, and you can enjoy them as standalone meals or combine them with other ingredients.

    • Vegetable soup
    • Beef stew
    • Chicken noodle soup
    • Lentil soup

    3. Freeze-Dried and Dehydrated Foods

    Freeze-dried and dehydrated foods are efficient options for emergency food storage because they are lightweight, shelf-stable, and rich in essential nutrients. They are ideal for long-term storage, and you can simply rehydrate them with water to use for your meals.

    a. Fruits and Vegetables

    Freeze-dried and dehydrated fruits and vegetables retain most of their original flavor and nutritional content. They are also relatively easy to store and only require minimal preparation.

    • Bananas
    • Apples
    • Strawberries
    • Mangoes
    • Tomatoes
    • Bell peppers
    • Onions
    • Peaches

    b. Meats

    One of the most convenient and reliable sources of protein you can add to your emergency food supply is freeze-dried and dehydrated meats. These products are often pre-cooked and preserved to ensure safety and quality, and they add a ton of flavor to your meals.

    • Chicken
    • Beef
    • Turkey
    • Pork
    • Sausages
    • Jerky

    c. Dairy Products

    Freeze-dried and dehydrated dairy products provide essential vitamins, minerals, and protein for balanced meals. These products have good shelf lives, and you can use them to create dairy-based dishes and beverages.

    • Powdered milk
    • Cheese powder
    • Butter powder
    • Yogurt powder

    Building a well-rounded emergency food supply not only ensures that your family stays healthy but also fulfilled and satisfied. Having access to nutritious meals is important, but having access to flavorful ones as well can help boost your family’s resilience and morale.

    Step 3: Observe Proper Food Storage and Supply Maintenance

    Building an emergency food supply is just as important as properly storing and maintaining it. It doesn’t matter if you have all the emergency food supply you need if they spoil and go bad within the next month or so, right?

    Here are some tips on how to store your emergency food supply properly and securely:

    Choose Appropriate Containers

    To maintain the freshness of your food supply and prevent spoilage, you need to choose the right containers for storage. Make sure that you have airtight and moisture-resistant containers available. It’s even better if they’re durable and stackable to allow you to save more space.

    Some great options include food-grade plastic buckets with tight-sealing lids, Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers, and glass jars with vacuum-sealed lids. Also, don’t forget to choose the right type of container for the right type of food!

    Label the Food Containers Properly

    To ensure that your emergency food supply remains organized, label your food containers properly with the contents, date of storage, and expiration date. These details are extremely important in maintaining a secure emergency food supply.

    Imagine opening a bag of rice only to discover that it’s already expired. That would be a huge problem in emergency situations!

    Also, use waterproof, permanent markers or labels to mark the containers clearly. This ensures that these crucial details are secure and won’t be lost.

    Regularly Inspect and Rotate Your Food Supply

    Regularly inspect your food supply to ensure that there are no problems or issues with the storage. Some issues may cause your food supply to go bad or spoil, so it’s important to prevent these issues from arising in the first place.

    Regularly check for bulging or leaking in your containers, and inspect food items for unusual odors, discoloration, or even mold growth.

    To ensure that older food items are consumed before newer ones, you can implement a first-in, first-out (FIFO) system. Consume older food items and replace expired or soon-to-expire ones to maintain the quality and freshness of your overall food supply.

    5 Excellent Food Items to Add to Your Emergency Food Supply

    Hopefully, you’ve learned a lot from the tips we provided in this article. But what’s a comprehensive guide without product recommendations?

    So, here are 5 excellent food items to add to your emergency food supply.

    1. ReadyWise 480 Serving 25-Year Shelf Life Long Term Freeze Dried Vegetable Kit

    ReadyWise 480 Serving 25-Year Shelf Life Long Term Freeze Dried Vegetable Kit provides essential vitamins and minerals to ensure that you and your family maintain a healthy diet even in times of emergencies.

    2. ReadyWise 720 Serving 20-Year Shelf Life Long Term Freeze Dried Fruit Kit

    ReadyWise 720 Serving 20-Year Shelf Life Long Term Freeze Dried Fruit Kit contains carefully selected freeze-dried fruits that provide a burst of natural sweetness and essential nutrients to you and your family.

    3. ReadyWise 120 Serving 15-Year Shelf Life Long Term Dried Meat For Humans

    ReadyWise 120 Serving 15-Year Shelf Life Long Term Dried Meat For Humans contains servings that rehydrate in minutes with just water. Each serving provides a delicious and nutritious meal for you and your family.

    4. ReadyWise 360 Serving 25-Year Shelf Life Long Term Survival Emergency Food Supply Kit

    ReadyWise 360 Serving 25-Year Shelf Life Long Term Survival Emergency Food Supply Kit ensures that you and your family have the resources you need to stay comforted and nourished in times of emergencies. This supply kit contains economical, ready-to-eat meals that cater to your nutritional needs.

    5. ReadyHour 1-Year 25-Year Shelf Life Long Term Survival Emergency Food Supply Kit

    ReadyHour 1-Year 25-Year Shelf Life Long Term Survival Emergency Food Supply Kit offers peace of mind and security to you and your family by providing you with 22 delicious food varieties and 3,640 servings!

    Final Thoughts

    Emergencies and disasters can strike unexpectedly, but we hope that the knowledge you gained from this comprehensive guide will help you become more prepared and resilient.

    Building a 1-year emergency food supply for a family of 4 requires careful planning, consideration, and dedication. But by following the tips and information in this article, you can take an important step toward improving your family’s security and resilience in times of crisis.

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