Long-term food storage options are an essential part of any self-reliant homestead, but there's a lot to consider before you start filling your storage shelves. How many people are you feeding? What are their nutritional needs? How many calories per day will sustain them, depending on the environment? And if you add children to the equation, just what types of long-term storage foods will they actually eat? It may sound a little silly, but buying long-term storage foods that your family will both recognize and enjoy, has to be part of your equation. It makes no sense to invest in food that you won't use.
Some things to think about:
* Plan menus to include as much variety as possible.
* Eat at least one well-balanced meal each day.
* Drink enough liquid to enable your body to function properly (at least two quarts a day).
* Take in enough calories to enable you to do any necessary work.
* Include vitamin, mineral and protein supplements in your stockpile to assure adequate nutrition.
Plus, you have to consider what equipment you will need to utilize the food stores you purchase, such as a hand-crank grain mill, a stove option with flexible fuel sources, nitrous systems for repacking storage buckets, and more. Some portable long-term solutions, such as pouch meals, allow you to cook in the actual pouch itself, while most other solutions require some amount of cooking.
And don't relegate long-term storage to just your household -- consider 72 hour and week long packs for bug out bags, car emergency kits and more.
Take food allergies into consideration as well. Many options are available on the market now for those with nut and wheat allergies, such as our four-week gluten free food supply bucket.
And you can't forget your four legged companions either -- you'll need to factor their food and water needs into your storage plan as well.
It's a lot to think about, but if you put the proper planning into it BEFORE you get started, you'll be ahead of the game in the long run.
And what happens when the food runs out? Learn about how survival gardening should be part of your preparedness strategy in the next column.