In the beginning, the counsel to keep a one year supply of food was to “Begin with basic items that will sustain life in an emergency. Later, when you have acquired these basic items, consider storing items your family ordinarily eats.” (Junior Wright Child)
By basic items, they meant wheat, powdered milk, honey, salt …. This:
One-year food supply of “basic,” life-sustaining foods
The problem, especially as time went by, was that these items no longer fit into the modern diet. The knowledge and skills to use these items to even “sustain life” dwindled away and it became harder and harder to follow the mantra “Store what you eat; eat what you store.”
Now, though, we are advised to:
“Start with a Three-Month Supply of food that is part of your normal, daily diet. Add Extended Storage as you are able.”
One reason I really like this newer approach is the Adaptability it allows. It doesn’t matter what type of cook you are, what kinds of foods you prefer, how many people are in your family: you can develop a plan to acquire your family’s Three-Month Supply!
The Three-Month Food Supply:
Includes things we eat on a daily basis
Includes canned foods, frozen foods, fresh foods
Is located in your fridge, freezer, cupboards, pantry
Turns our homes into our grocery store and our grocery store into our warehouse
Will help your family get through everyday emergencies
Establishing a Three Month Food Supply is not particularly difficult, but it does take planning and commitment.
The Four Steps to Plan Your Three-Month Supply
#1 – What Do You Eat?
#2 – What Ingredients Do You Need For Each Meal?
#3 – How Much of Each Ingredient Do You Need?
#4 – Do the math
If you want a one-week rotation of meals, write down 7 meals. If you want a two-week rotation of meals, write down 14 meals. Personally, I like having a two-week rotation for variety. At this point, do not worry about shelf-stable; do not worry about improved nutrition; do not worry about summer fare vs. winter fare; do not count Thanksgiving or other special event meals. An example of a list of dinners might look like:
Sweet Tater Chicken
Chicken and Gravy over Rice
Chicken Stuffing Bake
Identify the ingredients needed to make each meal. Don’t forget side dishes. If you’re a dessert person, also include those ingredients.
spaghetti pasta, cooked hamburger, spaghetti sauce, frozen vegetables, parmessan cheese
potatoes o’brien, ham steak, cheese, canned fruit
raw chicken, ritz crackers, butter, frozen vegetables, mashed potatoes
cooked hamburger, Manwich, hamburger buns, green beans
cooked hamburger, salsa, diced tomatoes w green chili, black beans,
pasta, cheese, frozen vegetables, canned fruit
Sweet Tater Chicken
cooked chicken, sweet potatoes, green beans, rosemary, muffin mix, egg, canned fruit
Chicken/gravy over Rice
cooked chicken, gravy, rice, frozen vegetable, canned fruit
cooked hamburger, rotini pasta, baked beans, BBQ sauce, frozen vegetables
cooked hamburger, cream of celery soup, mashed potatoes, shredded cheese, garlic powder, green beans, canned fruit
cooked chicken, great northern beans, green chili, muffin mix, garlic
cooked chicken, frozen broccoli, alfredo sauce, bow-tie pasta, canned fruit
Chicken & Stuffing Bake
cooked chicken, Stovetop Stuffing, gravy, frozen vegetables, canned fruit
raw chicken, soy sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic, rice, frozen vegetable, canned fruit
raw hamburger, onion, celery, carrots, green peppers, cracker crumbs, ketchup,
eggs, mashed potatoes, frozen vegetables, canned fruit
Determine how much of each ingredient you will need and write them down. You can use a worksheet like this to accomplish this step:
Blank Ingredients Worksheet
See a completed sample HERE
Transfer the information you’ve collected to an Excel spreadsheet (which does the math for you) or manually to a columnar format (basic addition and multiplication will determine your totals).
Here’s a sample of what you want it to look like when you are done: Sample Completed Three-Month Supply Worksheet
Here’s an Excel spreadsheet you can use: Three-Month Supply Excel Worksheet
Here’s a sheet you can print and write on if you don’t know how to use Excel or you just prefer to do things by hand: Three-Month Supply Blank Worksheet
Once you get the information loaded on the handwritten worksheet, you can count across each row and multiply the totals on each row to determine the amount needed for a Two-Week Supply and for a Three-Month Supply. Remember when you are calculating that there are 13 weeks, not twelve, in a three-month period.
Now, go forth and Plan!