Friday, August 17, 2012

Getting Started with Food Storage

When you start thinking about planning a food storage and rotation system for your family it can seem like it is going to be an overwhelming task.  I assure you it is not.  Even for those on a very tight budget you can begin putting food back to have in case of an emergency.  You just have to take one step at a time.

The first thing I recommend that you do is to sit down and make a list of all the foods your family eats....the things you buy consistently.  If you are a meal planner and list maker this will come easy for you.  If you are not a meal planner then I suggest that you begin planning your meals at least a week at a time.

The second thing I recommend is to take an inventory of every food/beverage item that is currently in your home.  What you have, how many of each, and exp. date.  Include canned goods, dry goods, baking supplies, spices, herbs, frozen foods, fresh veggies, dressings, juices, kool aid, water, basically everything you can consume through eating or drinking.

Third step - figure out how many meals you can make from what you currently have in your home.  Take some time and decide how many days of food storage you want to work towards keeping consistently.  I recommend 30 days if you are just starting out.  If you have been working on this already then move to 3 months.  If you already have 3 months then move to 6 months.

Fourth step - take a look at your current budget.  Do you currently have "extra" money you can spend to begin building your food storage or do you need to use only your grocery budget to begin building your storage?  Determine what you must spend on food to make your weekly meals.  Even if you can only spend $5-10 per week on buying extra foods you will be surprised at how quickly your storage will grow.  I found a great article on The Survival Mom website titled You Can Prep for $5.

You will want to make sure that what you buy to store you can use in your every day meal planning.  Your goal should be to store the foods your family eats, and use those foods on a rotation basis once the supply is built up, replacing them as you use them.

Determine what recipes you use frequently and you will probably see that many of the ingredients you need for them over lap...several things will work in many recipes.  So as you are purchasing basic pantry ingredients you can be assured that you WILL be able to use those things.

To help you get started I found some useful, already created documents to help you begin the process of building your food storage.  Stay tuned for what to do once you have your 30 day food supply (or 3-6 months).

Pantry Inventory Sheet

Master Pantry List

Pantry Basics - List of foods to keep for frugal cooking

Weekly Meal Planning sheet - just one of many that can be found by a quick internet search

~Live Prepared~

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