A three-month emergency food supply is a solid amount of food to hold back. It doesn’t really matter what the emergency is; it could be a job loss or a natural catastrophe. To get started with your 3 month supply, start by purchasing extras of the non-perishables you already eat.
Stockpile 180,000 calories for one person for three months, based on the Food and Drug Administrations’ requirement of 2000 calories per day per person. To figure the calorie count needed for larger groups, multiply the number of people by 180,000 to get the total calorie requirement.
When it comes to the actual calorie count needed per person per day, the numbers vary from 2000 all the way up to 4000 per day for a combat soldier in the field. 2000 calories per day is a good start.
Storage Tip: Avoid buying foods you haven’t tried just because they are on sale. Purchase small quantities first to see how they will fit into your food plan. I learned the hard way by purchasing a 50lbs bag of quinoa that nobody will eat.
Chart #1: Emergency Food Supply: 1 Person for 3 Months
There are a million ways to come up with a 3 month food plan. Below is an example of a 3 months food supply for one person to give you some direction.
You may notice there is quite a bit of food in the following list. There is a little extra, so you don’t go without. Use this general outline to plug in the foods you prefer eating.
|Emergency Drinking Water||90 Gallons For 90 Days (minimum of one gallon per day per person), don’t forget to include the water needed for food preparation.|
|Hard Wheat Berries||25 lbs|
|White Rice||10 lbs|
|Flour-All Purpose||15 lbs|
|Rolled Oats||5 lbs|
|Dry Pasta||4 lbs|
|Corn Meal||1 lb|
|Bis-quick or Pancake Mix||2 lb|
|Dry Cereal||6 lbs|
|White Granulated||13 lbs|
|Maple Syrup||1 gallon|
|Jellies and Preserves||1 gallon|
|Non Fat Powdered Milk||4.5 lbs|
|Fats and Cooking Oil||____|
|Vegetable Oil||1 gallon|
|Olive Oil||1/2 gallon|
|Peanut Butter||2 lbs.|
|Canned or Powdered Butter||1 lbs|
|Canned Chicken/Turkey||6 lbs|
|Canned Beef, Ham or Spam||6 lbs|
|Canned Tuna||12 cans|
|Pinto, Kidney, Lentils||6 lbs, or increase to use as a meat substitute|
|Canned Beans||10 cans|
|Powdered Drink Mix||2 lbs|
|Hershey’s Powder/Cocoa Mix||2 lbs|
|Bottled Fruit Juice||3 gallons|
|Soy Sauce||1/2 gallon (used on rice or as a seasoning or marinade)|
|Canned Olives, Pickles, Hot Peppers,||1/2 gallon|
|Vegetable, Chicken and Beef Broth or Bouillon Cubes||1 can each of broth or 1 jar each of bouillon cubes|
|Top Ramen or Dry Packaged Soup||24 Pack|
|Canned Soup or Dinty Moore Stew||24 cans|
|Boxed and Bagged Meals, Breakfasts, and Desserts||__|
|Side dishes like wild rice, cheese, and broccoli rice or Spanish rice||4 boxes|
|Macaroni and Cheese||6 boxes|
|Scalloped potatoes||3 boxes|
|Knorr Pasta and Rice Sides ( You can get these at Walmart for less than $2.00 a pack)||6 bags|
|Pancake Mix||2 boxes|
|Brownie and cake mixes||2 boxes|
|No-Cooking Required: Snack Foods||_____|
|Cliff bars, Oatmeal bars, Power bars, SOS survival bars||50|
|Saltine Crackers||4 boxes|
|Potato Chips, Doritos, Fritos, Pretzels||6 Family Size Bags|
|Popcorn (kernels for cooking)||2 lb|
|Fruit snacks||1 lb|
|Cookies: chocolate chip, fig newton, vanilla wafers||2 lb|
|Jolly Ranchers, Lollypops, Worther’s, hard candy||1.5 lb|
|Cake/ Brownie Mix||4 boxes|
|Pre-packaged muffin, pancake, or scone mix||3 boxes|
|Multivitamins, Vitamin C tabs||90 tabs per|
|Canned Fruit Sauces||1 gallon|
|Dried fruit medley, figs, cranberries, raisins||2 lbs|
|Canned Vegetables||12-28 oz cans|
|Instant Potatoes||4 lb|
|Canned Tomatoes (plus spices for spaghetti sauce)||12 x16 oz.|
|Canned/ Jarred Salsa||1 gallon|
|Baking And Spices||____|
|Powdered Eggs||16 oz.|
|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, Allspice||1+ oz.|
|Lipton Onion Soup Mix||2 packets|
Chart #2 Prepackaged 3 Month Food Supplies
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 that provide a specific # of calories per day for a specified amount of time.
Be warned you’ll pay more for this type of food than if you D.I.Y. bulk food storage with dry staples. If pre-packaged food isn’t for you, get familiar with re-packaging and storing your own food. Click here to get started with Mylar bags, food-grade buckets and Oxygen absorbers.
|Company||Food Supply Period|
|Ready Hour (6 Water Resistant Buckets)||90||2000|
|My Patriot Supply||90||2000+|
|A-Pack MRE’s Meals Ready to Eat (Ready Store)||90||1700|
|Mountain House Freeze Dried Food Kits||14||1718|
|Saratoga Farms #10 Cans, freeze-dried and dehydrated||90||1998|
|Wise Food Storage||90||2000|
Check out Ready Squirrel’s article 102 Non Perishable Foods That Last A Long Time
Daily Calorie requirements vary depending on your age, sex and physical activity.
For a more in-depth look at daily calories, look at the charts below or check out the article, How Much Food To Stockpile Per Person or the video below.
Daily Calorie Requirements For Males: USDA
There are a lot of variables to consider when figuring out how many calories to store. USDA calorie requirements are based on age, sex, activity levels, and the size of your group or family. Use the figures below to wire how many calories you want to store per person and group.
Storage Tip: To make it easier and bake some extra calories into your storage, consider everyone in your group male burning calories under high activity levels like chopping firewood. This will put some extra padding into your calorie count and make things easier.
In a long-term survival situation, your activity levels will likely be way up. Focus on storing enough calories to fit an active lifestyle. Chances are you won’t be sitting on the couch eating cinnamon buns.
Chart 2: Calorie counts for Males by age and activity level
|Males By Age In Years||Sedentary* Lifestyle||Moderate** Lifestyle||Active*** Lifestyle|
|76 and Up||2000||2200||2400|
Daily Calorie Requirements For Females: USDA
Females require fewer calories but not by much. To make sure you store enough calories consider everyone in your group as male to pad the calorie count.
Chart 3: Calorie counts for females by age and activity level
|Females By Age In Years||Sedentary* Lifestyle||Moderate** Lifestyle||Active*** Lifestyle|
|76 and Up||1600||1800||2000|
*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 Your Natural Disasters Or Emergency
At best, we can guess the type of emergency scenario that will make us break into our 3 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 be carrying 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 3 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.
- Non-perishable food to last 90 days
- Ready to eat canned meats
- Canned Soups
- Ramen Noodles
- Power bars
- Peanut Butter
- Dried Fruit
- Canned Juice
- Food for Infants
- Hard Candy
- Backpack meals or Freeze-dried meals
Store a minimum of 1 gallon of water per day per person or have a 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 #4: Foods High In Carbohydrates
|Food||Serving Size||Grams of Carbohydrates|
|Oats||1 cup||32 g|
|Rice||1 cup||45 g|
|Lentils||1 cup||40 g|
|Dried Peas||1 cup||22 g|
|Pasta||1 cup||43.2 g|
Chart #5: Foods High in Protein
|Food||Serving Size||Grams of Protein|
|Powdered Eggs||1 cup (cooked)||21 g|
|Almonds||1 cup||24 g|
|Lentils||1 cup||18 g|
|Oats||1 cup||6 g|
|Peanut Butter||1 cup||65 g|
Chart # 6: Foods High in Fats
|Food||Serving Size||Grams Of Fat|
|Almonds||1 cup||56 g|
|Olive Oil||1 cup||216 g|
|Dark Chocolate||10oz||101 g|
|Coconut Oil||1 cup||218 g|
|Vegetable Oil||1 cup||224 g|
Chart # 7: Typical Foods, Calorie Counts
|Powdered Milk||1 cup|| Regular Powdered Milk, calories |
Non-fat PowderedbMilk, calories
|Dried Fruit||1 cup|| |
|Potatoes||1 Medium Potato||163|
|Canned Meat||1 Cup|
Corned Beef Hash
Kirkland/Costco Canned Chicken
|Vegetable Soups||18.5oz||Progresso Garden Vegetable Soup||180|
|Dinty Moore Beef Stew |
Progresso Beef and Vegetable
|Canned Fruit||15oz||Del Monte Fruit Cocktail in Heavy Syrup||210|
|Dole 100% Pineapple Juice |
Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail
|Del Monte, mixed vegetables |
Green Giant whole kernel sweet corn
|Hot Cereal||1 cup||Oatmeal |
|Peanut Butter||2tbsp||Jif Creamy Peanut Butter||190|
|Jelly||1 tbsp||Smucker’s Concord Grape Jelly||50|
|Hard Candy||3 Pieces||Jolly Rancher Hard Candy||70|
|Trail Snacks||3 tbsp||Planters Sweet and Salty Trail Mix||150|
|Power Bars||1 Bar||Power Bar |
Cliff Bar-peanut butter
|Instant Ramen Noodles||1 pack||Top Ramen-Chicken flavor||380|
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 8: Foods Common In Long-term Storage
|Wheat Flour/ all-purpose||1 cup||455|
|Vegetable Oils||1 cup||1984|
|White Rice||1 cup||206|
|Sugar/White Granulated||1 cup||773|
|Chicken, Beef or Vegetable Cubes||1 cube/1tsp||11|
|Rolled Oats||1 cup||266|
|Dried Legumes||1 cup (cooked)||245|
|Potato Flakes||1 cup (cooked)||159|
|Dried Eggs||1 cup (cooked)||357|
One Year Emergency Food Supply
A one-year supply of survival food for one person is 730,000 cooked calories based on the FDA daily calorie requirement of 2000 calories per day.
Chart #9: 1 Year Food Supply
|Long-term food items with a 30 Year Shelf Life|
(Unless Otherwise Stated)
|Per Person |
|Type||# Of Cases||Approximate|
|(Types of grain are interchangeable depending on preference, i.e. 1 case of rice for 1 case of wheat)||–||–||–||–|
|Wheat||24||#10 Cans||4||132 lbs|
|White Rice||12||#10 Cans||2||65 lbs|
|Rolled Oats||12||#10 Cans||2||29 lbs|
|Pasta||6||#10 Cans||1||21 lbs|
(Beans, Split peas, Lentils)
|12||#10 Cans||2||62 lbs|
(Nonfat-Dry, 15 yr shelf life)
|12||#10 Cans||2||62 lbs|
|Sugar||12||#10 Cans||2||70 lbs|
|Dried Apple Slices||6||#10 Cans||1||6 lbs|
|Dried Carrots |
(10 Year shelf life)
|3||#10 Cans||_||8 lbs|
|Potato Flakes||12||#10 Cans||2||22|
|Dried Onions||1||#10 Cans||_||2|
|Iodized Salt||8 lbs||_||_|
(For baking and to soften old beans)
|Baking Powder||4 lbs||_||_|
|Vitamin C Tablet (90 mg)||365 Tablets||_||_|
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, so you always have stock on hand.
Chart #10: Short-term foods in your long-term food supply
|Short-term food items||Approximate unopened shelf-life in years||Per 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 Oil||1+||3 cans or 3 lbs|
|Butter/Margarine (stored in the freezer)||1||6 lbs|
|Mayonaise/Salad Dressings||1||3 quarts|
|Peanut Butter/other nut butter||1+||6 lbs|
|Fruit Drink Mix||2||3 #10 Cans|
|Dried Eggs For Baking||3+||2 #10 Cans|
|Other Sweeteners (e.g. Honey, molasses, brown sugar, jams, jellies, syrups||_||_|
12 Useful Tips For Long Term Food Storage
- 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 then realized nobody would eat it. It made for an expensive bird-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 alternate like bulk wheat or dried pasta.
- 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.
- 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 cook method in an enclosed space unless rated for indoor use to avoid Carbon Monoxide and Carbon Dioxide poisoning.
- 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.
- 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 your walking out on foot, etc.
- 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.
- 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, say, a year instead of 15 or thirty years. You don’t want to replace food X every year if you aren’t consuming it.
- 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 a lot easier to flesh out nutrient and calorie requirements.
- Vary the foods you store. Living on just beans and rice gets real 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.
- Consider sprouting seeds to get additional nutrients. In my opinion, 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 on vitamins and minerals.