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Best Food to Stockpile for Food Shortages and Family Emergencies

The best food to stockpile for shortages is non-perishable dry goods like white rice, beans, wheat, and shelf-stable canned foods. The goal is to use these foods to stockpile a minimum of 2000 calories per day to feed each person in your group. I suggest you start by stockpiling a minimum of 180,000 calories each, which is enough for three months. I bought most of my food at Sam’s Club, Costco, and local grocery stores.

As a side note, 2000 calories per day is the minimum to store for each person. the actual calorie count needed per person is as high as 4000 per day for a soldier in combat.

Next is a list of staple food that provides enough calories for one person for three months.

Chart #1 Food Stockpile List (Staple Food)

Below is a list of dry staples including the quantity to store for a 3 months supply.

Staple FoodQuantity
Hard Wheat Berries25 lbs
White Rice10 lbs
Flour-All Purpose15 lbs
Rolled Oats5 lbs
Dry Pasta4 lbs
Corn Meal1 lb
Bis-quick or Pancake Mix2 lb
Dry Cereal 6 lbs
White Granulated13 lbs
Honey2 lb
Maple Syrup1 gallon
Jellies and Preserves1 gallon
Non Fat Powdered Milk4.5 lbs
Fats and Cooking Oil____
Vegetable Oil1 gallon
Olive Oil1/2 gallon
Peanut Butter2 lbs.
Canned or Powdered Butter1 lbs
Canned Chicken/Turkey6 lbs
Canned Beef, Ham or Spam6 lbs
Canned Tuna12 cans
Dried Beans/Legumes____
Pinto, Kidney, Lentils6 lbs, or increase to use as a meat substitute
Canned Beans10 cans
Powdered Drink Mix2 lbs
Hershey’s Powder/Cocoa Mix2 lbs
Bottled Fruit Juice3 gallons
Soy Sauce1/2 gallon (used on rice or as a seasoning or marinade)
Canned Olives, Pickles, Hot Peppers, 1/2 gallon
Ketchup14 oz
Mustard19 oz

Chart #2 Food Stockpile List (Shelf Stable Food)

Shelf-stable foods include canned meat, fruit and vegetables, and a sundry of other foods. These are some of the best emergency food you can store for short-term emergencies. Next, Let’s take a look at a 3-month supply of canned and other shelf-stable foods that will provide an average of 2000 calories per day.

Canned FoodsQuantity
Canned Soup or Dinty Moore Stew24 cans
Canned Fruit Sauces1 gallon
Canned Vegetables12-28 oz cans
Canned Tomatoes (plus spices for spaghetti sauce)12 x16 oz.
Canned/ Jarred Salsa1 gallon
Salt1/2 lb
Yeast 8 oz.
Vinegar1 gallon
Favorite Spices: Black pepper, Red pepper flakes, Cummin, Nutmeg, Paprika, Chili Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Onion powder, Curry Powder, Garlic powder, Dried Italian Spice Mix, Creole Spice mix, Bay Leaf, Cinnamon, Clove, Allspice1+ oz.

Chart #3 Shelf Stable Foods

Shelf Stables FoodsQuantity
Vegetable, Chicken, and Beef Broth or Bouillon Cubes1 can each of broth or 1 jar each of bouillon cubes
Top Ramen or Dry Packaged Soup24 Pack
Side dishes like wild rice, cheese, and broccoli rice or Spanish rice4 boxes
Macaroni and Cheese 6 boxes
Scalloped potatoes3 boxes
Knorr Pasta and Rice Sides ( You can get these at Walmart for less than $2.00 a pack)6 bags
Pancake Mix2 boxes
Brownie and cake mixes2 boxes
Cliff bars, Oatmeal bars, Power bars, SOS survival bars50
Saltine Crackers4 boxes
Potato Chips, Doritos, Fritos, Pretzels6 Family Size Bags
Popcorn (kernels for cooking) 2 lb
Fruit snacks1 lb
Cookies: chocolate chip, fig newton, vanilla wafers2 lb
Jolly Ranchers, Lollypops, Worther’s, hard candy1.5 lb
Cake/ Brownie Mix4 boxes
Pre-packaged muffin, pancake, or scone mix 3 boxes
Multivitamins, Vitamin C tabs90 tabs per
Dried fruit medley, figs, cranberries, raisins2 lbs
Instant Potatoes4 lb
Vanilla8 oz.
Pam8 oz.
Cornstarch8 oz.
Lipton Onion Soup Mix2 packets

Chart #4 Food Stockpile List (Professional Emergency Food)

If you want to pre-purchase foods and throw them in a closet, consider a Duration kit of pre-packaged dehydrated and freeze-dried foods. These emergency food kits provide a specific amount of calories per day for a specified time but be warned, you’ll pay more for this type of food than if you stockpile dry staples.

CompanyFood Supply Period
Daily Calories
Ready Hour (6 Water Resistant Buckets)90 2000
My Patriot Supply90 2000+
A-Pack MRE’s Meals Ready to Eat (Ready Store)90 1700
Mountain House Freeze Dried Food Kits14 1718
Emergency Essentials902011
Saratoga Farms #10 Cans, freeze-dried and dehydrated901998
Wise Food Storage902000
Augason Farms30 1854
Statistics Taken From Emergency Food Websites. When purchasing food, compare the price of calories per day to get the best deal(s)

If pre-packaged food isn’t for you, get familiar with re-packaging and storing your food. Click here to get started with Mylar bags, food-grade buckets and Oxygen absorbers.

For a more in-depth look at daily calories, see the charts below or check out the article, How Much Food To Stockpile Per Person, or the video below.

Up next, daily calorie requirements.

Daily Calorie Requirements For Males: USDA

There are a lot of variables to consider when figuring out how many calories to store for each person. The USDA calorie requirements are based on age, sex, activity levels, and the size of your group or family. Use the figures in chart #4, below to figure out how many calories you want to store for each male in your survival group.

Your activity levels will likely be way up in a long-term survival situation. Focus on storing enough calories to fit an active lifestyle. Chances are you won’t be sitting on the couch eating cinnamon buns.

Scott, Ready Squirrel

Chart #5 Required Daily Calories (Male)

Males By Age In YearsSedentary* LifestyleModerate** LifestyleActive*** Lifestyle
76 and Up200022002400
Information Compliments of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Daily Calorie Requirements For Females: USDA

Females require fewer calories but not by much. To ensure you store enough calories, consider everyone in your group as male to pad the calorie count.

Chart #6 Required Daily Calorie Count (Female)

Females By Age In YearsSedentary* LifestyleModerate** LifestyleActive*** Lifestyle
76 and Up160018002000
Information Compliments of the FDA
*Sedentary: Just the physical activity of independent living
**Moderate, Active lifestyle activity plus 1.5 to 3-mile walk per day
***Active, physical activity of daily life plus walking more than 3 miles per day at 4 mph

Planning For Food Shortages or Disaster

At best, we can guess the type of emergency scenario that will make us break into our three months food supply, so plan for the worst-case scenario. You are on foot with no power.

The best approach I’ve seen for this is to plan like you are getting ready to hike the Appalachian Trail. You may choose the bug-in scenario where you stay put, but I wanted to bring up at least the possibility that you’ll carry everything you need to survive.

If SHTF hits, you may be on the move, on foot, or in a vehicle, without electricity, gas, or other utilities. Plan to cook like your camping or not to cook at all. Depending on the circumstances, a box of Cliff bars might be better than a bag of dried beans. You open the package and eat for instant calories.

Ready Squirrel

Types of Foods To Stockpile

The main goal of your three months food supply is to store high-calorie foods that will sustain you no matter what you’re doing. The following items are a list to get your creative juices flowing. You could decide to survive on just Dinty-Moore stew, but you might start talking in an Irish Brogue.

Store a minimum of 1 gallon of water per day per person or have the means to clean or filter it.

Balancing Carbs, Protein, and Fat

Now that you figured out daily calories plan to provide the three nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. According to KaiserPermanente.org, The following nutrients should make up the daily calorie count.

Carbohydrates: 50% to 60% of your daily calorie intake

Proteins: 12% to 20% of your daily diet

Chart #7 High Carbohydrates Food

FoodServing SizeGrams of Carbohydrates
Oats1 cup32 g
Rice1 cup45 g
Lentils1 cup40 g
Dried Peas1 cup22 g
Pasta1 cup43.2 g
Nutritional Information provided by the USDA

Chart #8 High Protein Food

FoodServing SizeGrams of Protein
Powdered Eggs1 cup (cooked)21 g
Almonds1 cup24 g
Lentils1 cup18 g
Oats1 cup6 g
Peanut Butter1 cup65 g
Nutritional Information provided by the USDA

Chart #9 High-Fat Food

FoodServing SizeGrams Of Fat
Almonds1 cup 56 g
Olive Oil1 cup216 g
Dark Chocolate10oz101 g
Coconut Oil1 cup218 g
Vegetable Oil1 cup224 g
Nutritional Information provided by the USDA

Chart #10 Typical Foods, Calorie Counts

FoodServing SizeBrand/NameCalories
Powdered Milk 1 cup Regular Powdered Milk, Calories
Non-fat PowderedbMilk, calories
Dried Fruit1 cup
Dried Apricots
Dried Raisins
Banana Chips1oz
28.44 g
Banana Chips 147
Crackers5 Crackers Crackers 81
Potatoes1 Medium Potato 163
Canned Meat 1 cup

Corned Beef Hash
Kirkland/Costco Canned Chicken
Vienna Sausages
Vegetable Soups18.5ozProgresso Garden Vegetable Soup 180
Meat Soups15oz
Dinty Moore Beef Stew
Progresso Beef and Vegetable
Canned Fruit15ozDel Monte Fruit Cocktail in Heavy Syrup 210
Canned Juice6oz
Dole 100% Pineapple Juice

Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail

Canned Vegetables14.5oz
Del Monte, mixed vegetables

Green Giant whole kernel sweet corn

Cold Cereal10.8ozCheerios 1870
Hot Cereal1 cupOatmeal


Peanut Butter2tbspJif Creamy Peanut Butter 190
Jelly1 tbspSmucker’s Concord Grape Jelly 50
Hard Candy3 PiecesJolly Rancher Hard Candy 70
Trail Snacks3 tbspPlanters Sweet and Salty Trail Mix 150
Power Bars1 BarPower Bar

Cliff Bar-peanut butter

Instant Ramen Noodles1 packTop Ramen-Chicken flavor 380
Source of Information USDA and manufacturers

Long-Term Staples

If you’ve got a year’s supply of food or plan on starting one, the staples below will be the backbone of your emergency supplies. Properly stored, you can get a shelf-life of 30+ years from many of these foods.

If you plan on using these foods, you will have to know how to cook because most of them are incorporated into recipes. Also, you will need a way to prepare them when the power is out, and you’ll want to include the water needed for preparation in your emergency stores.

Chart #11 Dry Staple Food (Calorie Count)

FoodServing SizeCalories
Wheat Flour/ all-purpose1 cup455
Vegetable Oils1 cup1984
Soybeans1 cup of roasted811
White Rice1 cup206
Sugar/White Granulated1 cup773
Pasta1 cup 75
Chicken, Beef or Vegetable Cubes1 cube/1tsp11
Rolled Oats1 cup266
Dried Legumes1 cup (cooked)245
Potato Flakes1 cup (cooked)159
Dried Eggs1 cup (cooked)357
Source of Information USDA and manufacturers

One-Year Emergency Food Supply

One person’s one-year supply of survival food is 730,000 cooked calories based on the FDA daily calorie requirement of 2000 calories per day.

Chart #12 1-Year Food Supply

Long-term food items with a 30 Year Shelf Life
(Unless Otherwise Stated)
Per Person
Type# Of Cases
(Types of grain are interchangeable depending on preference, i.e. 1 case of rice for 1 case of wheat)
Wheat24 #10 Cans4132 lbs
White Rice12#10 Cans265 lbs
Rolled Oats12#10 Cans229 lbs
Pasta 6 #10 Cans121 lbs
(Beans, Split peas, Lentils)
12 #10 Cans262 lbs
(Nonfat-Dry, 15 yr shelf life)
12 #10 Cans262 lbs
Sugar12 #10 Cans270 lbs
Dried Apple Slices6 #10 Cans16 lbs
Dried Carrots
(10 Year shelf life)
3 #10 Cans_8 lbs
Potato Flakes12#10 Cans222
Dried Onions1 #10 Cans_2
Iodized Salt8 lbs__
Baking Soda
(For baking and to soften old beans)
1 lb__
Baking Powder4 lbs__
Vitamin C Tablet (90 mg)365 Tablets__
Information Compliments of BYU Education

In addition to the long-term food items, you will need ingredients that don’t last as long. You can rotate these into your regular diet to always have stock.

Chart #13 Short-term foods in your long-term food supply

Short-term food itemsApproximate unopened shelf-life in yearsPer Person Amount Per Year
Fats and Oils (types are interchangeable based on individual preferences: storing a variety of fats helps with rotation.)__
Cooking/Salad Oil (e.g., soy, olive.)1+2 Gallons
Shortening or Frying Oil1+3 cans or 3 lbs
Butter/Margarine (stored in the freezer)16 lbs
Mayonaise/Salad Dressings13 quarts
Peanut Butter/other nut butter1+6 lbs
Fruit Drink Mix23 #10 Cans
Dried Eggs For Baking3+2 #10 Cans
Yeast5+2 lbs
Other Sweeteners (e.g. Honey, molasses, brown sugar, jams, jellies, syrups__
Information Compliments of BYU Education

11 Useful Tips For Food Storage

#1 Food You Like

Store food that your family likes to eat

Good for morale and cuts down on waste. I purchased a 50 lbs bag of quinoa and realized nobody would eat it. It made for an expensive bird-food

#2 Regular Food

Store food you can rotate into your regular diet

If you don’t like white rice now, you won’t like it when SHTF. Consider an alternative like bulk wheat or dried pasta.

#3 Alternate Cook Methods

Have a way to cook without electricity.

My preferred emergency cooking method is based on one of my favorite things: camp—weather permitting to set up an outdoor kitchen.

#4 Fuel

Make sure you have extra fuel canisters on hand.

If you depend on your propane grill or a backpacker’s stove, store extra fuel, so you don’t run out.

Please do not use any stove or cooking method in an enclosed space unless rated for indoor use to avoid Carbon Monoxide and Carbon Dioxide poisoning.

#5 Calories

Consider how many calories a food contains.

Staple food tends to be high in calories and easy to prepare; make them the bedrock on which you build your emergency food supply.

#6 Long & Short-term

Prepare for long and short-term food storage.

Maybe I’ve beaten this horse to death, but store foods for every possible scenario, short-term non-perishable, lightweight if you’re walking out on foot, etc.

#7 Carbohydrates, Protein & Fat

Plan for a blend of calories containing the three primary nutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fats.

This will take a little more research, choose foods that provide specific nutrients, and are willing to eat in your regular diet.

#8 Long Shelf-life

Store foods that have a longer shelf-life.

You can open up options for food storage if you rotate your food and incorporate it into your healthy diet because you can add foods that last a year instead of 15 or thirty years. You don’t want to replace food X yearly if you aren’t consuming it.

#9 White Rice, Beans & Wheat

Build long-term food storage around staples like white rice, dried beans, and wheat.

These foods can be the bulk of your daily calorie count and make it much easier to flesh out nutrient and calorie requirements.

#10 Vary the foods you store

Living on just beans and rice gets old.

Variety is the spice of life. One of the essential tools when it comes to survival is hope and a positive state of mind. Looking forward to a good meal with foods you enjoy is a significant morale booster.

#11 Sprouting

Consider sprouting seeds to get additional nutrients. Sprouting seeds is like a secret survivalist weapon because you can grow in almost any season. Sprouts don’t add a lot of calories, but they are huge in vitamins and minerals.


Thanks for stopping by Ready Squirrel. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments.

Keep On Prepping!

Best Regards, Scott

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