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How Much Food to Stockpile Per Person for Emergency

An emergency food supply is something every person and family should have. We live in a world where getting food from its source to your table is complex, and a break in just one link in the chain can compromise your and your family’s ability to eat.

Of water per person. You should stockpile an adequate amount of food with at least 2000 calories in 1 gal. Of water per person, per day, for emergency or natural disasters, also FEMA recommends you have a minimum 3-day emergency kit stockpile with food that has 6000 calories and 3 gals.

Examples of Disaster Preparedness

  • Hurricanes
  • Earthquakes
  • Severe tornadoes
  • Flooding
  • Winter storms
  • Economic collapse
  • Civil unrest
  • Zombie Apocalypse

It pays to be prepared with a stash of emergency food list stockpile you can pull from. Even if you never face a disaster, it can help in tough times financially. Should a spouse lose a job, you have a supply of food to draw from until they get back on their feet.

The good idea is to make a baseline food supply, then add it over time. For example, create a 2-week food supply list. Then spend $5 a week adding a little bit more to it, so it slowly grows with time.

How Much Food to Store for Emergency

This is up for debate, with different sources recommending different time frames. You should have 3 days covered at the bare minimum, as help often arrives within 72 hours. FEMA recommends a 2-week supply, and if you go through the effort and put together 3 days’ worth of food, it’s not much of a stretch to turn it into a 2-week supply. A food storage list for 3 months is excellent, and some even promote a 1-year supply.

Along with your food, it’s essential to store water as well. For information on that, check out this article on the emergency stockpile checklist.

How Many Daily Calories Will You Need in an Emergency?

Before planning a long-term food storage plan for your family, you’ll want to have a rough idea of the caloric needs of each family member. These can fluctuate based on a person’s physique and metabolism, but here are some ballpark figures to get you started.

AgeSedentarySemi-ActiveVery active
2-3 years old 10001000-14001000-1400
Female Child140016001800
Male Child160018002000
Male Teen200025003000
Female Adult180020002200
Male Adult240027003000

What Type of Food to Stock Up on For Emergencies?

  1. High-calorie, high-nutrient food will give you the most value for each unit stored.
  2. Food that doesn’t necessarily require refrigeration, water, or cooking to prepare.
  3. Non-perishable food can be stored for long periods without spoiling.
  4. Familiar foods that give your family a sense of morale and security.
  5. A variety of food- if you’re eating the same thing every day, appetite fatigue will set in, and you’ll resist eating the same food again.

Emergency Food with SIX Month Shelf Life

So, with that said, here’s a list of potential items for a long-term emergency food supply, with their expected shelf life:

  • Crackers
  • Boxed powdered milk
  • Dried fruit
  • Potatoes
  • Beef Jerky
  • Raisins
  • Most boxed cookies

Emergency Food with One-Year Shelf Life

  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly
  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Cereals, uncooked instant cereals
  • Canned nuts
  • Vitamins

Foods That Last a Long Time without Refrigeration

  • Freeze-dried food
  • MRE’s
  • White rice
  • Dry pasta
  • Wheat
  • Vegetable oils
  • Dried corn
  • Baking powder
  • Soybeans
  • Salt
  • Instant coffee/tea
  • Canned (nitrogen-packed) powdered milk

You’ll also want a supply of vitamin, mineral, and protein supplements to ensure everyone gets the nutrients they need.

How to Store Food for Long-Term Survival: Some Notes On Storing Food

  • Keep your supply in a cool, dry, dark place.
  • Use airtight, pest-resistant containers.
  • Rotate your food using first-in, first-out (have your supply of food, then when you go shopping put the new items in the back and use the older items in the front. This will keep your food supply perpetually fresh).
  • Open boxes carefully, so it’s easier to reseal after use.
  • Wrap perishable food in plastic wrap, then store it in a sealed container to maximize shelf life.
  • Put perishables in airtight containers to protect them from pests.

Miscellaneous Survival Items to Help with Food Preparation and Storage:

  • A manual can opener
  • Disposable utensils
  • Garbage bags
  • Plastic wrap
  • Tupperware

Having a gas stove or BBQ is a great idea, as it will allow you to cook when the power is out. Make sure to do your cooking outdoors. A fireplace can also be used if you don’t have a BBQ or gas stove.

Canned food can be eaten out of the can. It can also be heated if you remove the lid and label it first. Never eat from a can that’s dented, swollen or corroded in any way.

Food Safety for Power Outages

  1. If you lose power in an emergency, you’ll want to eat your food in this order:
  2. Eat any perishables in the fridge or storage.
  3. Eat freezer food (if you keep the freezer door closed as much as possible, ice crystals in the food can last up to 2 days, keeping it frozen)
  4. After the above supplies have been exhausted, move on to your non-perishables.

Food Rationing During A Disaster

During a disaster, you’ll want to ration your food to make it last as long as possible. Some rationing tips:

  1. Remember, food can be rationed, but water can’t. Always drink enough water daily (1-2L depending on sweat and exertion), and worry about finding more water tomorrow.
  2. Always take in enough calories for the work you need to do. A calorie deficit will weaken you and compromise your ability to do what needs to be done.
  3. Take a vitamin, mineral, and protein supplement daily.

I hope this helps; good luck, and stay prepared!


I am by no means an expert in every aspect of this stuff. I plan to learn, and when possible, enlist the help of experts in various fields to come together and offer their knowledge. In a few years, I dream that this site will be a virtual survival encyclopedia and allow a total novice to come on here and be supplied with everything they need to prepare for anything.

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