How-To & Advice

How Much Food Should I Store for an Emergency?

When thinking about survival during disasters, it’s always important to ask yourself, how much food should I store for an emergency?

Preparation is the first step to survival, especially in the event of a natural disaster. If you’re one of the millions of households looking for ways to prepare their home for the worst case scenario, this guide is designed to help.

Here, we will discuss how much food is needed for your family as well as the best ingredients to have on hand.

The Recommended Minimums

It’s highly important that your household strives to collect more than the minimum when it comes to storing food. However, there are recommended amounts of items to help you get an idea of how much you should be putting away.

The minimum that you should have on hand at any time is seven days worth of food. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each family member and pet should also have one gallon of water per day. With that said, it should be seven days of rations for every member of your household including your pets.

With the higher rates of natural disasters, families are creating their own minimum allowances for preserved foods. Many find that having at least a month’s worth of food and water gives them the peace of mind they need.

It’s important to remember that in the event of a disaster, you won’t have any indication of how long you will have to survive off of your rations. Therefore, the more you have, the better.

Being a Good Samaritan

Are you someone who goes to check in on their neighbors in the midst of a power outage? Do you have a lot of friends who know where you live? If so, it’s important to take them into account as well.

In this case, you’re not only going to need to ask yourself, how much food should I have for an emergency for my family but for others as well. Otherwise, be prepared to turn them away at the door.

It’s very likely the people around you don’t have their own emergency preparedness stash established. This will lead them to friend’s and family member’s houses in the event of a disaster. If you have the intention of being a good Samaritan, you’re also going to have to take others into account.

If this is the case, it’s recommended that you add two or three extra people to your stash. You’ll want to make sure that they will have the same amount of resources as you and the others in your family.

Additionally, it’s recommended that you keep an extra stash of pet food, especially if the people who live around you have pets. It’s very common to feel some type of moral obligation during an emergency, as it is human nature. With that said, you simply need to make sure you are prepared for it.

Tips for Emergency Preparedness

Now that you are able to answer how much emergency food should I have, it’s time to consider some tips for emergency preparedness. These tips will help you to establish your stash as soon as possible, so you’re ready for a natural disaster.

1. Start Now

The best tip for answering, how much food should I have for an emergency, is to start preparing now. In fact, there’s no better time than doing it as soon as possible. For this, the main thing to remember is that disasters are unpredictable.

If you have ever lived in an area during hurricane season, for example, you know that all surrounding grocery stores will sell out of essentials in a matter of hours.

Instead of being one of the thousands in your area attempting to stock up on water and non-perishable goods in the last minute, you’ll already have your resources. This will help you to allot more of your time protecting your home.

2. Stick to Your Goal

When it comes to shopping for emergency goods, it’s easy to get off track. Since you already are able to answer, how much emergency food should I have, it’s important to stick to that goal.

Again, you should acquire a minimum of seven days worth of rations for everyone in your family. Otherwise, you could find yourself led astray by things that wouldn’t be classified as necessities.

3. Buying the Right Items

One of the most important things to pay attention to is the nutritional value of the items you are buying. Although it might be inexpensive to purchase certain non-perishable goods, they might not be sufficient enough to keep you and your family healthy.

With that said, it’s better to find coupons for highly nutritious foods than to opt for the less expensive options. The most recommended nutritionally dense foods to look for include:

  • Peanut butter
  • Cereal
  • Nuts and trail mix
  • Dried fruits
  • Canned soups
  • Canned vegetables
  • Powdered milk
  • Plenty of multivitamins

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right items that you need for emergency preparedness is important. However, you first need to know how much of everything you need.

The minimum recommendation for food is seven days worth of rations and at least one gallon of water per day for each family member and pet. It may seem like plenty of effort, but having a thorough emergency stash will be more beneficial than you think.


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