There are five essential and basic foods that you should store in your emergency pantry in order to have an adequate and well-planned short- or long-term food stockpile.
Do you know what those five foods are — and why you should pick each of them up every time you shop?
The First Food: a Protein (Start With Peanut Butter)
Peanut butter, jerky, beans, tuna, trail mix and power bars are good sources of protein. Pick one of these protein staples each week you shop, and change it up each week so you have a variety of protein sources in your stockpile. Protein, of course, is one of the building blocks of life. It supports muscles, blood, enzyme and hormone production. Protein also is responsible for building and repairing cellular tissue.
The Second Food: a Carb (Start With Bread)
Bread, rice, crackers, pasta and flour are good sources of carbohydrates. Pick one of these carbs to add to your grocery cart each week (and change them up each week as above). Carbs are responsible for energy. The fiber in carbs supports digestive health as well as heart health. Fiber can lower cholesterol levels, too.
The Third Food: a Fat or a Condiment or a Spice
Mayonnaise, oils, butter and cheese are essential fats for cooking. Fats are necessary in sautéing, greasing baking pans, making tuna salad and grilled cheese. Also in this category are condiments like ketchup, mustard, salt, pepper and other spices.
Fats are responsible for healthy skin, hair a healthy brain (did you know the brain has a large percentage of fatty tissue?) and the transport of non-water soluble vitamins (such as A, D, E and K) throughout the body. Fats also contribute to immune system health, insulin levels and blood sugar control.
The Fourth Food: Produce
Of course, fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of a broad array of vitamins and minerals and fiber, all of which are essential to good health. Fruits and vegetables will provide you with potassium, Vitamins C & A, and folic acid. For stockpile items, choose ones that can store long-term (dried or frozen).
The Fifth Food: Comfort Food
In times of stress, you are going to appreciate easy-to-prepare foods. These are your comfort foods. The best stockpiles factor in your family favorites: canned soups, canned stews, mac and cheese, chocolate, potato chips, cheese, coffee, sugar and bread (freeze it!). Comfort food can make for an easier adjustment during a transitional or tough time, particularly with children.
In Practice: Change it up
Would you rather have 78 jars of peanut butter and no other protein source, or would you rather have a variety of different protein sources? Buy a variety of items.
Try to group the five you buy so that you can make a meal or two with the five ingredients. For example, the first week buy peanut butter, bread (freeze it), cheese, dried apricots, and canned soup. With those five foods, you can make a peanut butter sandwich, a grilled cheese sandwich, soup on the side, and dried fruit for a snack. The following week, buy tuna, mayonnaise, flour, canned tomatoes and coffee. Your meal? Tuna fish sandwiches, homemade pasta from the flour and a sauce from the tomatoes.
By adding these items to your cart each time you shop, you will be able to gradually and easily build or maintain your food stockpile.
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