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Get Prepped: Food

Get the Basics on Stockpiling, Resupply, and Food Preservation

Get Prepped: Food

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Americans like to eat—the average male consumes just under 2,500 calories a day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And we’re accustomed to an abundant supply and selection of food no matter what the season, which means that much of it has been transported long distances to our tables. But if a cataclysmic event that disrupted the agricultural industry and the supply system for food, supermarket shelves might quickly empty, and we quickly could go from feast to famine.

One big problem, says Practical Preppers consultant Scott Hunt, is that “people don’t have a good understanding of their needs.” Some will purchase what they’re told is a year’s supply of preserved food, and then find out later that their supply only allows them 800 calories a day—about half of what the typical female normally consumes, and a third of the average requirement for males of all ages. And while someone sitting in a bunker all day might be able to survive on drastically reduced rations, a survivor who is walking long distances and performing tasks with muscle power instead of relying on machines is likely to need even more calories than before. “Start cutting your own wood and using hand tools and going on patrols, and pretty soon you’re up to needing 5,000 or 6,000 calories a day,” Hunt warns. Worse yet, lack of nutritional foresight may mean a diet low in crucial nutrients such as vitamin C or protein, making a survivor weaker and vulnerable to illness.  

“If your food and water are squared away, you’ll be in a much better position to deal with whatever happens,” Hunt explains. “You’re going to have to expend a lot of energy on security to protect yourself. You don’t want to be sick and run down from just eating beans and drinking dirty water. Plus good food is a reward, a morale-boosting thing. I’m not a survivalist. I want to survive in style, and have my fresh salads and an occasional steak.”

That’s why Hunt says that preppers must plan carefully how to maintain their food supply and fill their nutritional needs in the event that chaos erupts. That plan should include storing ample supplies of food, finding sources to replenish that supply, and learning how to preserve food so that it will last as long as possible. Here are some more tips from Practical Preppers:

Stored FoodPreppers should store at least a year’s supply of food in some location where it is not only secure from theft, but will remain useable for as long as possible. Buying a large supply of canned or freeze-dried food and long-lasting staples such as beans is one way to go. But Hunt says it’s crucial to make sure that the supply provides at least 2,200 calories per day, and covers basic nutritional requirements. Additionally, he suggests that preppers try as much as possible to replicate the sort of diet that they are accustomed to eating. “Don’t buy food just to buy food,” he says. “Make sure it’s something that you’re going to want to eat.” Since dairy animals won’t produce as much milk when they don’t have high-protein grain, it’s wise to store a large supply of powdered milk.

Food Resupply Plan:   Eventually, you’re probably going to need to produce your own food to replenish your food cache. Preppers have a lot of options for becoming nutritionally self-sufficient, but they have to learn how to grow crops and raise animals, and take into account the particular pluses and challenges of their local climate zone. “You have to know what grows in your area,” Hunt explains. “In New York, for example, I could grow a lot of spinach, but not oranges. Ideally, prepper cultivators should develop the ability to grow different crops and to produce harvests throughout the year; in climate zones with colder and harsher winters, greenhouses and indoor hydroponic cultivation may help. Animal protein is a more difficult challenge. Hunting is an option, but in the event of a cataclysm, Hunt expects that local deer and squirrel populations will quickly vanish. Raising cattle is water and land-intensive, so rabbits, goats and chickens—which have the added advantage of producing eggs—are probably a better use of resources. Aquaculture systems to raise fish are another useful protein source.

Methods to PreserveAn overflowing bounty of food won’t do preppers much good if it all quickly spoils. That’s why learning preservation methods is crucial. A cool cellar for storing fruit and vegetables can prolong their shelf-life. Preppers should learn methods for preserving meat, such as canning and dehydration, and amass an ample supply of food-storage containers. Additionally, it’s vital to have the right equipment, and enough fuel to provide the necessary amount of heat to run a pressure cooker to properly can meat.



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12 comments
Debbie Calvello
Debbie Calvello

you dont need animals to survive, being Vegan will suffice.....

Gregory Faith
Gregory Faith

Well, after reading this article, I have to say that I am spot on with my preps so far stashed. My pantry is rotated with what I have in storage. Constant temp and low humidity in my basement is perfect for my stuff. Now I just have to concentrate on the bio part of prepping. Suits and gas masks are expensive and requires constant maintenance as the filters go bad sooner. More work to go.

K. Peterson
K. Peterson

Are any ladies on here interested in joining our survival & prepping group via facebook?



shin0bi272 x
shin0bi272 x

I have an issue with this article and practical preppers in general... I currently live on much less than 2600 calories a day and am physically fit and on a regular basis run 2 miles with a 50 lb weight vest on.  So the assumption that you need 5000 calories a day when you're working out is just false.  

 Maybe its just me but I cant agree with most of the assessments made by practical preppers (they're a pair of pastors out of south carolina btw).  They or Nat Geo weight their ratings by how much food and water youve got stored.  I guess they are assuming that theres going to be no water near anyone and that there wont be any animals or plants to eat (like mad max or a nuclear wasteland or something).  That makes them biased IMO towards what THEY consider prepped.  Different people prep in different ways and for different events.  Im prepping for anything short of a world buster meteor strike (including a nuke strike on every capital city of the country that eliminates all government agencies in the country) and even I know that there will be billions of tons of food and water available for scavenging.  Scavenging being going through looted and destroyed buildings searching for stuff to eat or sell for whatever the currency is of the time.  

This idea came to me when I started taking a serious look at the amount of food available in my area, nationally, and in any of the disaster scenarios in any movie or video game dealing with the concept.  I came to the conclusion that there will be a lot of people who will be farming or herding cattle and selling their food at the local market.  They will not happen overnight of course but if the situation lasts more than a few months people will start to turn agrarian again.  That will mean all food will be local and fresh within a year or two of any major breakdown of society and food storage beyond a few months worth is unnecessary.  

Basically it comes down to humans are social creatures and after the looters are all dead the rest of the people will start to try to work together and rebuild society.  Government is another argument all together but that's always been an issue.. whether or not government is a natural or a man made system etc etc etc... So in the end the only people who really need to store food in the manner that practical preppers suggest are those who live more than two days walk/ride from a farm.  Yet they grade everyone the same.  I live in a city and while that means that I need to have AR500 plates in my doors and over my windows if the SHTF it doesnt mean that I need to have a farm behind my apartment complex.  That being said I do have seeds in the freezer just in case.

Robert Plowman
Robert Plowman

Monica is one of these people who think preppers are nut's, but when the shtf, and she can't buy food or get gas for her car, feed her kid's, she'll think of us as geniuses. My adult children asked why I was buying so much food, when I told them to watch the news, read the paper, now all are onboard.

Sean Woods
Sean Woods

This lady said "monica_ms RT @joshgroban: Hey "preppers", stop ruining your kids lives so you can have fantasy armageddon camp."   monica your closed minded and sound like a fool. I would rather be ready and never need to use it then not be ready and need it. Do you think that the people in Pearl Harbor thought an attack was coming or the thousands in the WTC expected any terrorists to do what they did? If they did and all had base jumping parachutes and gear many lives would have been saved but unfortunately most people think like you don't or should I say fail to think at least ahead.  By the way my kids have a lot of fun prepping. They can cook, dehydrate food, can food and it has taught them things like math and forward thinking, self defence so they will not become victims. It has also taught them kindness and compassion as they have made extra food for quests. Their first aid is way beyond anything you could imagine. They have grown crops and harvested it and canned it themselves. I am very proud of what they have learned and can do all by themselves at 12 and 14. They have good manners and kind loving hearts. I love them more than I can put into words. So don't judge any of us saying we are ruining our kids lives because we are not!

trevor oehler
trevor oehler

Is it best to have like chickens or some other kind of backup food.

Pieter Burger
Pieter Burger

@Robert Plowman Good day Robert, Please if you can provide me with your e-mail address. I want to know more how to prep. My e-mail address pieterbur@gmail.com

Alexander C. Fillmon
Alexander C. Fillmon

@Nick Klein @trevor oehler Rabbits are definitely a good choice and very low maintenance. I'd prefer raising both rabbits and chickens however as rabbits don't lay eggs. Rabbits also serve a duel purpose of being able to fertilize any crops you grow, wether they're food crops or medicinal crops.