The first step to setting your Preparedness Food Storage Goals is to decide how much food you need to store. Experts (such as the American Red Cross) advise you to start with a three-month supply of food that you use every day. Once you have a good three-month supply, you can start to work on a supply of long-storage food that will last one year or more.
So how do you know how much you need to buy?
There are three ways to calculate your family’s food supply needs:
Use an online food calculator
There is a very simple calculator at this site and another one here. You just enter the number of adults and children and both of these sites will give you basic calculations for storing foods from their list of 40-45 most commonly stored foods. This site offers a free downloadable spreadsheet that is also useful not only as a calculator, but also to help you keep you inventory up to date.
OR you can go high-tech with the Food Storage Assistant app available on Google PlayStore. Like the two online calculators already mentioned, this app gives you a very basic list of 45 foods most people have in their storage. But, you can personalize your list by adding foods that your family loves. It allows you to keep a running list of your inventory. The Pro Version (cost: $1.99) has added features, such as the ability to back up your information into a CSV format and restore that information if needed.
Planners for the technology-inclined
But let’s suppose you aren’t crazy about this list of 40-45 foods. You want a more personalized approach. My all-time favorite calculator is the Food Storage Planner. I’ve used their PC version for years (my review is here.) It lets you customize your list and helps you get food storage that is nutritional balanced. There’s a function that helps you set monthly or weekly goals and budget money to meet those goals. And it keeps a record of just where your food is stored. The newest version lets you scan barcodes to keep track of what’s on your list and on your shelves. Not sure this is for you? Put it to the test with their free trial offer.
Another personalized approach is Track My Food Storage. Basic membership is free. You’ll get a personalized food storage shopping list. It helps you break it down into monthly goals. Premium members (Cost: $14.99/yr.) get added features, such checking your goals against your actual storage in hand, reminders to rotate food and printing coupons to help keep costs down.
Good Ol’ 3X5 Cards
The last approach to calculating food storage and creating an inventory is to make a recipe file. Just like the card file your mom used to have, write out the recipes for your family’s favorite meals. The idea is that you plan a two week menu of your family’s favorite meals. Then you write out all the ingredients needed for each recipe and multiply that by seven. There! That is your shopping list for a three-month supply of food. There are a couple websites with more detailed information on how to implement this plan. You can begin with this video and check out others in this series. Or try this site which has step-by-step instructions and lots of recipes to get you started.
Why Not Get Started Today?
There are so many online resources available now, that it shouldn’t be hard for you to get a handle on your food storage inventory. Choose the method that appeals to you the most and offers the features you need and get started today.