There are only a few serious rules that I think are super important with prepping. Others may have more or different rules but mine are this:
- Buy/store only what you love to eat.
- Figure out a way to “control” your food. You have to be able to use the oldest things first. Rotate your stash. First in/first out.
- Keep a list!
Today I’ll talk about the foods to buy.
Buy What You Love:
I’ve told this story before but when I was a child, our hurricane supplies always included vienna sausage which we NEVER ate.
We try to plan for having nutritious meals but we also plan for things we can eat if there is no power or if we’re dead tired and need something quickly. What are some easy to eat foods that you love? Here are some of the items I always have:
- Sardines. We both love these and eat them often – even when things are “normal”.
- Tuna. We both love canned tuna – chunk light in water. My preference is to mix it up with boiled egg, mayo, celery, sweet relish, chopped apple, green onions and toasted pecans but we’re fine just eating it out of a can.
- Peanut Butter. We keep regular peanut butter but we also buy peanut butter powder at Walmart. It isn’t bad. We can mix it up with water and use it for peanut butter & jelly, or with bananas or a bit of chocolate syrup over it.
- Dried Fruits and Nuts. We buy cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, etc. at Aldi or Walmart. Same with mixed nuts, peanuts, walnuts, almonds. The nuts have a shorter shelf life than most fruits so be aware of that. These are great to have when you need a snack and will even do if you have to miss a meal.
As far as foods, I’m not taking into consideration special dietary needs – these ideas are just everyday foods for those of us who eat anything and everything.
How long would you think you’d need to plan for? I would recommend a minimum of one month. With this pandemic, most of us are lucky that grocery stores are open but I feel like it’s a very real possibility that we could face a situation where NOTHING is open! Not saying it’s going to happen . . but it could.
Let’s think about breakfast and let’s assume there are two people to be fed for 30 days. Most of us go to the store a couple of times a week and I don’t know that we realize how much food we’re really consuming so let’s do a little planning.
Let’s say you each eat two eggs half the time so that’s 4 eggs x 15 = 60 eggs. Do you want eggs for baking? Boiling? Pancakes? If I were planning eggs, I’d plan at least 8 or 9 dozen for 30 days. So, you’re probably not going to eat 2 eggs each for 15 of those 30 days. Other breakfast ideas:
- Toast with peanut butter and jelly
Cereal is a funny thing. I had 7 boxes of cereal and I thought that would last us for however long we were staying home but they weren’t big boxes and with Vince eating cereal some days for snacks, a box of cereal was lasting us two days. I quickly realized 7 boxes of cereal wasn’t a lot of cereal. So we’ve limited the amount of cereal we’re eating.
Even with eggs, adding things like grits or hash browns, bacon or sausage, and toast or biscuits, most of us can get by with 1 egg at breakfast but you never want to have to worry about being short on food.
Next, we need to think about dinner or a late lunch. We have breakfast and one more meal most days.
It’s probably pretty common to have a meat, one or two veggies, salad of some sort and bread for the main meal. Vince and I eat way less meat than we used to. With chicken breasts being huge these days, we mostly split one breast for a meal. If you were cooking out of your freezer or pantry for 30 days, how much meat would you need. Things like stews, chili, chicken/broccoli/cheese/rice casseroles go a long way but you’d need all the ingredients to make those.
Salad is a hard one because fresh greens don’t last very long. We’re lucky to have lettuce, spinach, kale and beets in the garden but those things are bolting quickly so we won’t have them much longer. We can make pea salads with canned peas, or pasta salads. Soon we should have fresh tomatoes and cucumbers but salads may not be something we can count on.
If you’re new to this and not feeling very confident, make a menu for two weeks. Don’t worry – you don’t have to live by it . . yet. Put your favorite dishes on there but put things that are fairly easy to fix. Put every meal on there that you’re going to eat for two weeks. Sometimes it can be leftovers. Most casseroles make more than you can eat at one meal so include leftovers in your menu. Then make a list of everything you would need if you were cooking those 14 days without going to the store. It’s an eye opener.
It would not be bad to have a 14 day meal plan because when something crazy happens and you can’t get to the store, knowing you have food, and knowing how and when you’re going to fix it can help alleviate a whole lot of stress.
I will do a 14 day menu and link it to recipes and share it in the next few days.
Be thinking about what you would put on your 14 day menu and if you get so far as typing it out, email it to me. If I can figure out a way to add it to a blog post without having to retype it all, I’ll add some of your menus.
Fourteen days may seem like a lot but we’ve been eating at home now for 25 days now, and with the exception of having bought milk, celery, bananas, potatoes, cream, cilantro and butter, it’s been totally what we’ve had here.
Being prepared is all about planning!