More Of GP’s “90 Days” Preps Series

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Surviving for 90 Days Part 2-B – How Much Food Do You Need?

For this post, we’re skipping ahead a little. We want folks to start thinking and start planning. Next week’s post will go into greater detail on the different types of long term storage food.

This is where preparing gets challenging. Most of the folks that sell long term storage food get you excited by the number of servings that they include in their price. Anyone who has had company for Thanksgiving knows that serving size is meaningless. Cousin Eddie eats like a horse. Aunt Sal eats like a sparrow. Heck, when the wife and I get a rack of ribs, she eats less than half and I eat the rest.

We’ve got to plan based on how many calories are required, not serving size.

So, how do we know how to do this? Well, our medical community has actually studied this for us. They have come up with information that has determined how many calories a person needs in a day broken down by age and gender, and how active these people are!

 

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So, how do you use this information?

We’ve taken it one step further to figure out how many calories are needed for more than one person, such as a family!

If you take the chart shown above and add a few columns, you will have a sheet that computes your total family daily requirements!

 

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Here is an example of a chart like this filled out. Let’s say for example that you are a family of four, with the husband being 32 years old, the wife 30, with two children, one 4 years old and one 9 years old.

Filling in the numbers of people, you see that you will need between 7000 and 8850 calories per day for your family.

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If we take a look at #10 cans of some typical items, we find out that different things produce different calorie counts.

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It’s interesting to see that different items provide very different calories per serving and even more importantly cost per calorie.

For those on a budget, you may want to explore recipes that make use of the higher calorie contents (like Red and Black Beans in this example) to be able to create adequate calorie counts with less money spent.

Once you have your basic essential food stuffs on hand, there are certainly other considerations, such as snacks, fruits, etc. These will be covered in a later chapter.

And these are just examples. You can create a spreadsheet like this, input the things you like to eat and/or already have in stock, and see where you need to adjust to create adequate calorie counts.

Now comes the fun part – planning your menus! If we go to a sample calorie count sheet, you’ll see that we took ten #10 cans of vegetables and meat and figured out the calorie count per serving. That chart also computed the number of calories produced by the total of the 10 cans.

These ten cans produce 29,152.75 calories.

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Computing our from your daily requirements, you see that these 10 cans of food will feed your family for 3.29 to 4.16 days. Adding it up for 90 days tells you that you will need 216 to 273 #10 cans of food.

Of course this is based on a number of factors that can change. It’s based on you having nothing other than long term storage food. You might have other food options such as MREs, commercial and home canned food. For planning purposes, I’ve worse-cased it.

If you are on a budget, you can certainly adjust out higher calorie food for lower calorie food. Whatever food stuffs that are planning on, you can do the same computations.

It’s not serving size, its caloric requirements.

The beauty of using a “calculator” for computing your requirements is that you can “play around” with different menu items to increase calorie content and reduce costs.

Let’s see what the lowest costs could be.

We learned very early in our preparing process that the expensive part was meat. Freeze dried and other long term storage meat was very expensive. For example, in our scenario of a family of four, using “real” meat versus TVP meat increases your food storage bill by over $2000 over the 90 days! If there were no other options, it might make you want to become a vegan!

We tried TVP meat. Used in casseroles and stews, it actually isn’t bad tasting! The cost per calorie for TVP meat is far less than “real” meat.

We looked at different options. The first was to mix TVP and real meat on a 50-50 basis. It certainly works out, and cuts your food storage bill by $800 or so.

Another option was to home can meat! We practiced that and found it not only to be fairly easy to do and an incredible cost savings, but it is also very good to eat! Our challenge is to keep it in storage instead of using it and eating it regularly!

A later chapter will discuss home canning of meat.

We can’t state strongly enough that the key to planning for food storage is to first determine how many calories you and your family needs to survive.

Once you’ve figured that out, you need to explore different menus. If you have all the money in the world, you can pretty much replicate your day to day foods via long term food storage. If you are like most of us, you are on a budget, and some menu adjustments will have to be made to maximize caloric input versus cost per calorie.

These spreadsheets will make it easier to compute and adjust different items. In our examples, we only used dehydrated and freeze dried food. You can use these spreadsheets for any kind of food, be it canned goods from the grocery store or any other food. Input the serving and calorie count and you get the results you need.

The strongest recommendation that we can make is to try these menus now, before you have to live on them. There is nothing worse than having to eat things that you can’t stand. Most folks just won’t eat it, or won’t eat enough of it. Calorie intake is critical.

When we were in the Army, there was an old saying when you wrote plans and other instructions. People always referred to a concept that Napoleon used when issuing guidance to his subordinates. He would always have the instructions read to one of his corporals. He figured if they understood it, then everyone else would too. The notion became used in the Army as finding your “Napoleon’s Corporal” before you sent something off.

Well, we had this chapter read by our Napoleon’s Corporal, and we got some feedback that we figured we needed to address. He told us that he had read and understood the “storing by calorie” concept, but wasn’t sold completely on long term storage food. “After all, you are the one that said that commercial canned goods don’t really have an expiration date. Why couldn’t I just buy that?”

He raises a good point, so here is a little better examination of commercial canned food.

We went to Walmart’s web site and got some prices for some of the more common commercial foods that folks might eat. You can see that cost per calorie is very similar to long term storage foods!

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Heck, if you got it on sale it might even be cheaper than that. So far, long term storage food doesn’t have a price advantage.

Let’s look at some other things. Fat content and sodium content generally is incredibly higher in commercial canned foods than in long term storage. We were shocked to look at the labels and see that many of these items had fat as almost 50% of the calories that you got from eating it! The sodium (salt) per serving, not per can was often as much as 30% of your daily allowance.

Long term storage foods have fat and sodium counts that are controlled by you. You make the meals and you get to choose. Advantage goes to long term storage foods.

When we talked about how long commercial canned food lasts, we were talking about how long it is safe to eat. Canned food can last a long time, but it does lose its flavor and nutritional value over time. Freeze dried and dehydrated food doesn’t have this problem.

We have always been adamant about the fact that there is no one single type of food to put in your storage. We have a mix of all of the types (except frozen) because all of them have their advantages and disadvantages. Some commercial canned food can be useful, not only for how quick it is to prepare, but also its ease of transport if you are out and about.

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Food post2

 

JCD

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

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13 thoughts on “More Of GP’s “90 Days” Preps Series

  1. A good read,one needs to have some in my opinion a mixed supply,you may have no choice but to hit the road and perhaps no car/truck travel even safe,thus,things like pictured Datrex bar/jerkies/can find a safe spot caches ect. a good part of plan if you can.There is a link on how to feed a family of four for a year on 300 or so bucks,will dig it up,boring/bland,need a safe space(I mean a real safe space,not some college dorm room what have you!),boring but with water and other issues handled will eat,makes a good base start.I like pics in other article that showed storage four our 4 footed family members

  2. Another delightful and much needed article…which verifies
    we’re on the right track on our food preps. Thank You for posting,
    and thanks to GP for taking the time to compose the info.

  3. Useful and good post. One observation. It is not calories that count (in the long term), it is nutrition.

    You can stuff your face with MREs or other processed high calorie “goods” (lots of calories — almost zero nutrition) but within about two weeks you’ll begin suffering symptoms of malnutrition. In a month your body will begin breaking down.

    On deployment the Old Men began “eating local” as soon as possible. The children insisted up eating only MREs. The children always returned sick.

    S//

  4. To me I see eating local beyond what you have stashed/hold onto is hunting/fishing/foraging local nuts/berries/ect.,good to know your region’s edibles now and locations.Depending on situation you may have a lot of competition and what they may bring about,you a say 1% survivor of say a plague guess you are all right at least in that area.

    • “Competition.” That is a good point. If people were sane it ought not come down to that. If people were sane they would cooperate. JCD and I had this discussion a while ago. What is the first thing the Platoon SGT does after the objective has be seized? Redistributes persons equipment and ammo.

      When SHTF, “I have mine fuck you” simply is not going to cut it.

      S//

      • Exactly. Problem is that when you start advocating that you are called a communist and we know where that argument goes. The morons that say crap like that have never been in a bad spot and had to rely on their Brother to get them out. That selfish mentality will be the death of them, and to that I say “good riddance”. They couldn’t listen to reason when they had it given to them on a silver internet platter, die in your ignorance, knowitalls.

  5. Tis one of many good links, http://americanpreppersnetwork.com/2012/08/a-year-of-food-storage-for-300-for-a-family-of-four.html, as I said just a good base and need a good space/water but something to build on along with local edible knowledge.I understand that many cash strapped so just start with say a 1/4/heck a 1/8 of it and build as you move forward.I realise folks should have started long ago but every day folks open their eyes and till things go wrong can get ready,as I like to say,the smalls add up.To folks new on this site and starting to get some supplies you can do this.

  6. Long term storage to provide for your family is good and prudent.

    If you are hoarding with intention of denying provision to your (not as prudent as you) neighbor you are wicked.

    That is not addressed to you personally. It is addressed generally.

    (One huge deficiency of the English language is that it has no impersonal plural “you.”) At least German has “Ihn, or, ihnen,” Which sometimes avoids many hurt feelings. 🙂

    Even “thee,” thou,” “thine,” are deficient.

    Maybe correspondence should be in Latin. That might avoid misunderstandings. (laughter!)

    Yes. Barry woke up in a playful mood this morning.

    S//

    • Sgt.Barry,the reason I prep for a large part is to help others(no wife/kids ect.)and do this realizing may get me killed.By that same token will not stand around or hide if I see evil being played out on others in a major breakdown,or,for that matter in daily life,and again,realize it may get me killed.I am not suicidal and have thought about this long and hard thru the years,will say hope I am not put to the test because things going very wrong then but will try me best.

      I say in a break down the gods will have a laugh at me expense as I went to great medical lengths to make sure I don’t have kids,thus,in a breakdown will probably be inundated with orphans,sigh…..,will in that case do the best I can.I do have plans with others but travel a lot for work and never can say where I will be,thus some stashes across the regions with friends and a few ,well,just stashed.

      • I do understand. My own prepping is to get through the first winter and crop in the ground in the spring. But my major effort is to convince those about me that we’re all going to be in the shit together and that if we don’t work together and pool resources and skills there will not be any “local” to keep.
        S//

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