How Much Food To Store for Emergency Situations


I was thinking about how everybody tells you that you should be prepping like stockpiling food and storing water. Still, everyone tells you that you must have food for x amount of days or months, but no one tells you how to calculate this, or even what to consider when planning the whole thing.

It’s already been determined that you should be prepping a long time ago. Now, a big part of prepping is to stockpile food. After all, without food, you won’t survive long. Still, it’s not just about storing any food. That’s almost an art to it. You must have the right strategy to ensure that you won’t run out of food before the time you planned for.

So, how much food to store for an emergency? According to my research, you should determine the number of minimum daily calories per individual, multiply by the number of days, set a budget, and then execute. Now, it’s way more complex than that. This is why we’ll go into more detail below.

To be honest, you have to consider so many things that it can be overwhelming. A good rule of thumb is to start with the fact that men need 1800 calories per day minimum and women 1200. Now, since you don’t want to count calories, especially because this is not a diet, you can think about your eating habits.

You, better than anyone else, know the amount of food that you eat in a day. Take that into consideration when planning how much food you’re going to stockpile. Also, take into consideration that is always good to have extra food. You never know if you’re going to need more.

So, if you consider your pre-established eating habits, the caloric intake, and the fundamental nutrients you need, you’re good to get started. When we talk about basic nutrients is that you can get the minimum calories by eating a bunch of candy, but that’s obviously not the best strategy.

So, besides taking into consideration the amount of food you need per day per family member and multiplying by the number of days that you want to stockpile food for, you can include 1-2 fictional people so you have extra food. The point is that above all else you should have at least the minimum for everyone.

Before you think what’s the difference between this and hoarding food, remember that you have a strategy for emergencies. You’re not just buying a bunch of food that you don’t need and leaving the grocery store without anything left for other people. It’s very different.

Anyway, now that you know the very basic that you need to have food for an emergency, it’s time to go a little deeper into your strategy. If you can plan ahead, an emergency will never be a major problem like it is for everyone else who never preps and thinks that it’s weird that you have food and basic supplies for the same emergencies.

If you have the space, growing your own food should be an option. Click here for a plan that will help add to your stockpiled food.


The first thing to find out how much food you need is to understand caloric intake. As mentioned above, men, on average, need 1800 and women 1200 calories. Now, this is an average estimate that does not take into consideration your weight. Also, how much do you need for the kids, if you have any? For children, if they’re really young, it’s 1000 and then it goes up all the way to the aforementioned numbers.

You can find out how much calories a day you need by using a 5-step process that involves multiplying your weight by 4 other variables that are related to your gender and level of physical activity. This will give a pretty accurate number of calories that you’ll need.

Now, being realistic, most people don’t care much about calories. If you have a good notion of the amount of food that you eat on any given day, then you know how much you need to stockpile. Calories become important only when you are rationing food.

In this case, the minimum calories that you need a day, become a very important number to know. So, it’s maybe not as necessary for minor emergencies, but it’s always good to know how much your minimum caloric intake is.


Once you know everything there are about calories, you should worry about nutrients. These two are the least fun part of planning what food you are going to stockpile, but they’re important. Having the right nutrients for a healthy diet means you have fewer chances of getting sick, which is even more important during an emergency.

So, you should start worrying about proteins, fat, and carbs. Then, you can also worry about vitamins. Give priority to proteins and healthy fats. They’ll give you a lot of energy and help you maintain a healthy diet.

The energy part is the most important because during an emergency you don’t want to eat more than necessary. The protein found in meats, for instance, help you keep the satiation feeling.

Fats and carbs are also important because they also give you energy and help vital functions of your body to work correctly. Even though most people formed the belief that fats and carbs are bad, they are crucial to your diet. Especially during a crisis.

Now, about the vitamins, you should also include them on your plans. Let’s say that a natural disaster happens and you’re unable to go outside for a few weeks. You need vitamins from the sunlight, for example. So, you should have food that will provide you with the vitamin sources that you need. There is highly nutritional compact food powder that you can store and stockpile. Find out more about this “Superfood” here.


With the number of calories and nutrients that you need, you have to consider how many days you’re prepping for. You already know the important information to survive for a day, now it’s time to decide if you want the food to last for 72 hours or 1 year.

This is a really important part of your stockpiling strategy because it affects everything else. You must know how many days you want to prep for. Now, the Department of Homeland and Security advises you to have food to last you for 72 hours.

You know that when the government tells you to have 72 hours of food, you should have even more. A good tip is to have for at least a month. If you have food for a month, you’ll be able to go through most of the natural disaster with a certain ease.

Now, if you really want to graduate as a master prepper, you should start with 3 months. This is the general threshold for everyone. When you have food for 90 days, you can be more certain that you can survive 99% of any possible scenario.

So, after you figure out you the number of calories and nutrients a day for every family member, you should decide on the number of days that you want to prep for.


Now things get a little more interesting than just talking about calories and nutrients. They are important, but let’s be honest, they’re not fun. So, your next step is to think about the budget. You probably have, at this point, the number of days that you want to prep for as we discussed above.

Unfortunately, you may want to prep for 1 year, but not be able to because you don’t have the budget. So, the next step is to figure out your budget. Even if you don’t have the budget for the number of days you consider ideal, you can start slowly and build up on top of it with time.

If you’re on a tight budget, a good tip is to buy in bulks and go to certain types of stores that sell items with huge discounts. The point is that if you have the right strategy, you can get all the food that you need. Just buy when the price is good and slowly create your stock.

Another thing is to make a list that separates the essential things from the less essential ones. This way, if you really can’t come up with more money, you make sure that you have everything that you really need.

Canned Food

Now, this is in every prepper’s strategy; canned food. You want to know how much food to have for an emergency, and you should start by buying canned food for that. It’s non-perishable, for the most part, and you get all nutrient groups that you need. You can get vegetables, meat, fish, and nuts. The possibilities are nearly limitless.

Canned foods are also perfect to buy in bulks and find huge discounts if you know where to look for them. Adding to that, there’s the fact that they’re really easy to store. You can pretty much pile them in any small room that you have in your house. This can be a time savior.

When it comes to canned food, you do lose the taste in comparison to freshly cooked meals, but you do get a reliable option for any kind of emergency. All you have to worry about is where to store all those cans.

You can calculate how many cans you’ll need a day. This way you can better prepare for how many cans you’ll need to buy. You can pretty much calculate one can a person a day. A lot of people will eat a little less than that, but at least you have a ballpark number that you’re guaranteed to not run out of.

Non-Perishable Food

Even though canned food is non-perishable, not every non-perishable food is canned. That’s why there’s another section just for all the other non-perishable foods. Especially if you’re on a budget, you can’t afford to constantly have to replace your stock. So, what you need to do is get non-perishable food so you won’t have to do that.

Again, use this as your main strategy. Leave food that is indeed perishable out of your list or just as something extra. Here, you have many options so go according to your tastes:

  • Dried food (it lasts up to a year but it’s so long that it got its place on the list)
  • Peanut butter
  • Grains
  • Pasta
  • Noodles
  • Nuts

The secret is to have some variations. You should still use the calories, nutrients, and days as a guideline here. With that information, take into consideration how much you know you eat. Get everyone’s perspective on this so you have a general idea.

Then, mix it up and go shopping. Again, a good tip is to have at least a month’s worth of food for emergencies. This number ensures that you have what’s necessary for any natural disaster or major incident that can happen.

How Many People to Feed

The next step is to get all the information you got so far and include the number of people that live in your household. Obviously, if you want to include people of your family that don’t live with you, you should take that into consideration as well.

Another thing to consider is the gender, the age, and the peculiarities of every person. As you saw above, gender and age are huge factors when it comes to the minimum calories someone needs a day. The peculiarities are related to allergies and the amount of food someone eats. This is not only about weight since a lot of people are skinny but eat way more than one would expect for their weight. So, remember to take these 3 factors into consideration

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Peculiarities (weight, eating habits, and allergies)

Once you do this, you get really close to the perfect number so you can prep right. Obviously, this whole section is not as crucial if you’re prepping only for yourself. Now, even if you are, you should take into consideration your eating habits and allergies. For example, you’re not going to buy canned nuts, if you’re allergic.

Good Samaritan?

The next step is to start prepping for the unpredictable. You have to think about beforehand if you’re going to basically feed those that didn’t prep. This includes all the way from relatives and neighbors to complete strangers. It’s important to consider this in your strategy because then you don’t need to decide about this later, and you are prepared for everything.

Maybe your cousin that lives two blocks away didn’t prep at all. Or maybe it was your neighbor whose son plays with your kid. Those things are important to consider.

Now, if you decide that no matter what you’re not going to share your food with anyone else that doesn’t live in your house, that’s more than okay, but it’s important that you consider it. This way, you already prepped for it.

With strangers, it may be a little easier to say no right away, but it’s important to think about. The point of this reflection is not to tell you that you should share, but just to make sure that you consider all this. You don’t want to find yourself wanting to help and not being able to.


One thing that most people forget when they talk about prepping is animals. You have to include them, especially in your water storage and food stockpiling strategies. After all, you don’t want your dog or cat to starve to death.

Now, on average, dogs need 25 to 30 calories per pound a day. Cats needs on average 250 to 300 calories a day. Obviously, if you have other kinds of pets, you should do your research for that.

Still, when we throw these calorie numbers, it sounds not very practical. So, an easier way, instead of counting calories, would be to calculate the amount of food you’re going to need to have based on how much food you already give the pets a day.

Once you have the amount of food you need to have per day and multiply by the number of days you want to prep for, it’s time to include in your strategy and more importantly, on your budget.


So, you have the amount of food that you need to buy, you have a list of the food that you’re going to shop for, and you have the budget that you can come up with. It’s time to think where you’re going to store all this food. Don’t think about this after you’ve bought all the canned food, for example.

The best places in your house are places that only you have access since you don’t want every visitor to know that you’re a prepper. You also want places that have protection from sun exposure. This can spoil food faster.

Lastly, whatever room that you pick must have, obviously, the room to store all the food, water, and medicine that you’re going to acquire. So, make sure that you have a room in your house that checks all the necessary boxes.

Anyway, if you follow all these tips you should be able to have enough food for an emergency. More importantly, you’re going to have food for everyone. Now, to recap everything, consider calories, nutrients, eating habits, number of days, and everything else. To save on space you might want to consider a “Superfood” that has a long shelf-life and compact. Find more about it here.

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