The most basic way to stockpile food would be to calculate the number of people x 3 meals per day x 14 days. For one person, 42 cans of soup will meet this requirement. Most people like a bit more diversity in their menu however, so planning meals day by day (oatmeal for breakfast, powdered milk, soup for lunch, and freeze dried meals for dinner, throw in some granola bars and cookies, etc) will give you a better, more comprehensive food stockpile.
When you buy your food, it is a good practice to buy the things you like to eat so that you can rotate the stored food into your regular pantry then restock on a regular basis. You also want a good mix of instant food (just-add-water soups and oats), pre-prepared food (things which don't need water to prepare), canned goods, and dry goods (like dried beans, rice, and legumes). Don't forget to have a manual can opener on hand.
If you do have food stockpiled that is getting close to its expiration date, consider cooking up a bunch of food and freezing it in meal-sized portions, donating the food to a local food bank, or cooking up a big meal with these items for your next party or gathering.
You also don't need to go out and buy hundreds of dollars worth of food in one fell swoop--you can add a few extra items to each grocery run and eventually you will have a pretty good stockpile. Here are some ideas to get started on your stockpile.
Some more tips for your food stockpile:
- grow a garden
- go fishing and hunting and freeze these items
- learn the best places to forage for wild foods in your area
- preserve bulk food by freezing, canning, drying, etc
- glean farmer's fields after harvest (with permission of course)
- trade garden produce with friends and neighbors
- shop ethnic food stores for great prices on staples
- for a big family, having a freezer is a great way to preserve a good amount of food
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