This article was originally published by Rich M on www.askaprepper.com
Anyone who has even looked at prepping whatsoever knows that prepping is an expensive addition to our lives. This is one of the biggest excuses people give for not getting into prepping. Food is expensive and many people have trouble paying their grocery bill now, let alone with adding money for stockpiling extra food for an emergency.
Part of that problem is that they think of emergency food stockpiling just like they think of buying their normal groceries. But that’s not realistic; not only from a cost point of view. We mostly buy fresh, frozen and junk food for our families.
The fresh and frozen food won’t survive without refrigeration and the junk food is the last thing we need to be eating at a time when our diets are restricted.
An emergency survival stockpile for eating when everything goes to pot needs to be considerably different than what we include in our daily fare.
There are some authors who have written that we should stockpile the same foods our families are accustomed to eating. Obviously, those authors haven’t thought things through or they never would have said that. Those who know what they are talking about prescribe a totally different diet for survival.
Just What Is A Survival Diet?
We’re all used to hearing about the “ideal” 2,000 calorie per day diet, which for most people is actually more like 2,500 to 3,000 calories per day. Back in elementary school we were taught that, along with the “food pyramid” that’s supposed to make sure that we get the right nutrients in our diets. Yet most people don’t actually eat like that, even while paying lip service to those ideals.
Please note that such a diet is not a survival diet by any means. First of all, we don’t need a full 2,000 calories a day to survive, let along eating 2,500 calories. For survival purposes, 1,300 to 1,400 calories is a good number to figure on. In more extreme cases, as food starts running out, that number can be dropped to 1,100 or 1,200. But 1,400 is a good starting point for building a stockpile.
Now, Just How Do We Break Those 1,500 Calories Up?
If you talk to a nutritionist or read anything about nutrition today, you’re going to read a lot about micronutrients; things like antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids. The assumption seems to be that we’re all getting plenty of the macronutrients, so they focus on these things, as they are reportedly necessary to maintain our health.
But what if we’re not getting enough of the macronutrients? If we’re talking survival, aren’t they going to be the things that we need to focus on?
The answer to that rather simple question is a resounding yes. We can actually survive just fine without all those micronutrients, just as long as we’re getting enough of the macronutrients.
That doesn’t mean we want to live on a macronutrient diet forever; but survival has to come before maximizing our diet for best health. Besides, what those nutritionists believe today will probably change in a few years, just like it has, many times before.
So, What Are These Macronutrients And How Much Of Them Do We Need?
- Carbohydrates – Our body’s main source of energy. Saliva starts the digestion process, breaking carbohydrates down into simple sugar, which our muscles then use to power movement. Fifty to 60 percent of our caloric intake needs to be carbohydrates in a survival situation.
- Fats – Fats are also broken down by our digestive system into simple sugars, but the process is much slower. This is advantageous, as the combination of carbohydrates and fats gives our bodies a one-two punch of energy. When we run our of energy from the carbohydrates, the energy from the fats is just starting to arrive. Our survival diet should include 30 to 35 percent fats.
- Protein – Proteins are the basic building blocks of life, necessary for the forming of new cells. Since our bodies are always producing new cells, there’s always a need for protein. If we don’t get enough protein in our diet, then our bodies are forced to cannibalize healthy cells to get that protein; a very inefficient process. We need 10 to 15 percent of our survival diet to be proteins, if we can get it.
Everything else is secondary to these three macronutrients in a survival situation.
Buying That $100 Stockpile
I don’t care how you cut it; $100 isn’t a whole lot to spend on a three month food supply. With that being all we have to work with, that means a very limited diet. But we’re talking survival here, so we need to be sure that we think in those terms, not in having what we want to eat.
Eating two meals a day, for three months we’re talking about 182 meals. So whatever we do, it has to be able to provide that many servings. I’d recommend buying in bulk quantities at Sam’s Club or Costco to make that $100 go as far as it can. Based on the prices shown on the Sam’s Club website, I’ve been able to come up with a diet that will work for three months, sticking to that $100 price tag.
It’s not a very appetizing diet, but it will provide enough to keep alive. Keep in mind that we’re talking a stockpile for one person here. It would be necessary to multiply this by however many people are being fed.
The Basic Menu Consists Of
- Rice & Beans
- Pan Bread with Peanut Butter
Let’s look at how that breaks down:
- Rice – buy a 50 lb for $17.54 – that gives you 400 servings at 206 calories; eat two servings per meal
- Pinto beans – buy a 50 lbs for $30.72 – that gives you 600 servings at 42 calories; eat three servings per meal – pinto beans are a great source of proteins
- Cooking oil – buy two 2-packs totaling 3 gal for $20.76 – that gives you 384 servings at 124 calories; giving us enough for two servings per meal, used mostly in making the pan bread
- Flour – buy 2 25 lb. bags for $15.46 – that gives you 225 cups at 455 calories; eat one per meal, with peanut butter on it. The peanut butter is a great source of protein and fats
In addition, we need to buy:
- Baking powder – $4.98
- Salt – $1.52
- Peanut butter – 2 pack of 40 oz jars for $6.52 – that’s 188 calories per serving, once per day
Total cost for that shopping trip is $97.50, leaving $2.50 to splurge on something you like; maybe a pack of gum. But you’ll probably have to buy it elsewhere, as Sam’s is only going to have huge packs that will cost more than that $2.50.
What If You Had More Than $100?
While this proves that a basic stockpile of food to survive three months can be purchased for $100, I don’t think anyone would really want to live on it.
Some people might even go so far as to say they’d rather die than try to live on that diet; but I’m not so sure they’d follow through with that, if they were stuck in the situation where that was all that was available to them. It’s amazing what people will eat when they are actually starving.
Nevertheless, this is an ideal starting point for someone just starting out as a prepper. Once that basic stockpile is built, then it can be added to, rounding out the diet with more variety, as well as tastier foods. Here’s what I would add to that, as my next stage if I had a bit more money to work with:
- Spices – to make the food taste better. Buying spices in restaurant sized containers, like they sell them at Sam’s Club, is much cheaper than buying them in the local supermarket.
- Beef and chicken bouillon – gives us the capability of turning our rice and beans into soup, along with any vegetables or meat that we can find, including road kill. Anything, with spaghetti sauce on it, tastes like spaghetti.
- Pasta and spaghetti sauce – who doesn’t like spaghetti?
- Powdered eggs and milk – allow the flour to be used for baking other types of breads
- Sugar – also for baking; sugar, like honey will keep forever in a sealed container
While those items are more expensive than our basics, they really aren’t expensive foods. More than anything, they are going to add to the flavor of our diets, although they will do little to increase the overall nutrition.
But if you’re anything like me, you’re not going to be satisfied with that. You’re going to want to go on with improving on your stockpile, as soon as you can.
What Else Should You Add For That $100 Stockpile?
- Jam or jelly – to go with the peanut butter
- More baking necessities – baking powder, baking soda, etc.
- Fruits (canned)
- Vegetables (canned)
- Canned meat (this one’s getting expensive) – there’s actually quite a variety available – tuna, salmon, chicken (which is pretty good), Spam, Vienna sausages, corned beef, corned beef hash
- Dried meat (even more expensive, but great for soups) – this can include both dehydrated and freeze-dried meats
- Honey – a better, healthier source of sugar, as well as being a good natural antibiotic
- Dried vegetables – do it yourself for putting in soups
- Coffee and/or tea
By now things have started getting a bit expensive; especially when you add in the meat. If you can, buy meat in bulk, such as buying a side of beef or an entire steer. Have it butchered and then start dehydrating it yourself.
Make sure that it is well stored to protect it and that it is dehydrated with a lot of salt. But properly stored, it should last well.