The idea of relying almost entirely upon your 91+Day or Long-Term food storage is not something out of a doomsday novel. I personally have known a few families who have been forced to live off of their Long-Term storage because of sudden deaths, financial tragedies, and loss of employment within their families. I have seen families live from 6-months to 2-years on food they have stored and continued to replenish over that time-frame.
Whatever your motivating factors are for your building of the 91+Day Storage, be sure that your plans adequately address these three commonly overlooked areas:
- Individual Calorie-Intake
- Appropriate Nutritional Content
- Variety of Meal Preps & Family Preferences
All too often, I observe that individuals plan food-storage based on pre-packaged meal consideration alone, with caloric-intake consideration as an after-thought at best. Even with products that I highly recommend, it is crucial that individuals and families get a proper grasp on the caloric values that their preps will provide when needed. This requires a little more effort, but getting it right is more important than simply getting it, right?
Generally, you will find a “…based on a 2,000 Calorie [Daily] Diet…” on most packaging options. This amount of calories will prove inadequate for most adults, therefore, care should be given to provide sufficient calorie amounts for the following groups:
- Infants (if not breastfeeding, formula usually is the supplement)
- Adult Females
- Pregnant Females
- Nursing Females
- Adult Males
- Elderly Adults
- Disabled individuals
Activity levels will vary within given groups. Consider a heightened activity level if using food storage during a time of crisis and participation in response efforts. An great reference point for calories and your home-food storage can be found in Chapter 8 of the late Jack Spigarelli's Crisis Preparedness Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Home Storage and Physical Survival. Although some of the information in the book is outdated (product/brands), the reference points are valuable as a place to begin
Appropriate Nutritional Content
Vitamins and minerals are often overlooked and can be sometimes intimidating to calculate and handle. I found a worthwhile resource that shares interesting facts and recommended daily amounts (RDAs). HERE is the link.
Staying active, healthy, and strong is not a result of simply eating a certain number of calories and nutrients, it also has to do with maintaining an adequate activity level. Optimum physical conditioning is quite simply a function of calories & nutrition in (Eating), calories & waste out (Physical Activity). The body is a magnificent machine that will respond to stress in many ways. The most productive and health-promoting management of stress involves strenuous physical activity that is adequate to your body and condition. Consult with your qualified healthcare practitioner to develop and execute a plan to optimize your physical conditioning. This can increase your longevity and improve your quality of life, thinking, and productivity.
Inadequate physical activity and unmitigated stress levels sustained during such a time of crises will prove a silent killer. Stress levels obviously increase in response to dramatic lifestyle changes. The nutritional component of your 91+Day preps is one-half of the survival puzzle, being appropriately and actively engaged is the other.
Variety of Meal Preps & Family Preferences
Almost all of us have read and heard the term “eating fatigue.” As it relates to food-storage, this term suggests that the monotonous consumption of a limited presentation of meals can “tire you out.” The effect of such fatigue takes a real toll on an individual's body and mind. Without a variety of foods across a spectrum of taste and texture, individuals eat less in frequency and quantity. This has harmful effects on health. It also affects individuals psychologically. 50 buckets of wheat simply won't cut it.
To secure against eating fatigue and its accompanying ills, here are some ideas to assist in creating enjoyable & varying meals:
- Compile a Favorite Recipe Booklet
- Develop 2-4 Different Presentations of a Preferred Recipe
- Choose Practical Recipes
- Plan on Serving Breakfast for Lunch/Dinner, Lunch for Dinner, Dinner for Lunch
Compile a Favorite Recipe Booklet
Every family has a set of favorite home-cooked meals that can be simplified to meet basic preparation standards. It's simply a matter of compiling them and writing them out in a basic instruction format. These can be handwritten/printed on an index-card and laminated or handwritten/printed on a sheet of paper and laminated. It's best to utilize both sides of whatever paper is used. Lamination is fairly inexpensive and will protect the instructions against weathering and damage.
A couple of images are also a neat way to enhance your home-recipe booklet. This will not only provide a simple project for the family, it will enhance organization and appeal of the recipes as a vital tool for preparation.
Develop 2-4 Different Presentations of a Preferred Recipe
I enjoy eating spaghetti. Spaghetti has got to be one of the most easily adapted foods to make! You can simply change the types of pasta/noodles, meats, sauce, and seasonings to end up with a delicious variety of presentations on that dish. Meals with beans, meats, rice, and vegetables can also be widely adapted to fit a variety of flavors.
Chicken soup is another excellent example of a meal that is easily and quickly adapted. One of my preferences for soups is due to the water that you will consume with the meal. This helps to unconsciously prevent dehydration-just be sure to keep the sodium content to a minimal here.
It's always best to space out meals. For example, I wouldn't plan on eating spaghetti 2 days in a row if it was avoidable. But if I absolutely had no option, I would eat spaghetti for lunch on the first day and then plan on it for dinner the next.
Another important consideration is strategic planning. If you know that the next day's activity will require loads of energy and strenuous physical activity, load up on carbs the night before. On the other hand, if you have had exhausting 16-hour shifts at rescue efforts, eating nutritious and light will assist your body in its rest/recovery stage. I might consider eating a soup with veggies and some hard-boiled eggs or even oatmeal. This would help give my muscles the proteins they need to recover from strenuous exertion.
Choose Practical Recipes
One particular food I am fond of is phở, the Vietnamese soup. I enjoy it with beef as the meat. The only problem though is the time it takes to make. That soup is not practical for my application for two reasons: (1) the time required to make it requires several hours of preparation, and (2) the resources used (stove & Crock-Pot®) would be too taxing on what I'm willing to expend in terms of energy. Lasagna is another favorite of mine that would be on the bottom on my list in terms of ingredients/resource demand.
Plan on Serving Breakfast for Lunch/Dinner, Lunch for Dinner, Dinner for Lunch
This point is very simple and apparent. As a child, I remember enjoying the variation of breakfast for dinner. Now I realize that this was an option because sometimes “breakfast” ingredients were the only available foods we had on-hand. But in a situation where ingredients allow for a variety of foods, switching up the meals at mealtimes enhances the experience of eating while diminishing the monotony of meal-repetition. You will find that attention to details will go a long way to improve coping and successful psychology management.
-The Berkey Guy