Step 1 – How To Begin Food Storage
Let’s keep this simple people! Food Storage is one of those topics that can make people’s eyes roll into the back of their heads, glaze over, or just simply fall off a chair sideways in boredom. But like it or not, YOU ARE NOT A GILA MONSTER! Did you know a gila monster only eats 5-10 times a year?! True story. They can eat a few eggs and be full for months. My five year old can barely get from breakfast to lunch on a few eggs.
Whether you’re packing the pantry for the next power outage, natural disaster or just to get through Tuesday, we all know it’s a good idea. We’ve heard it a million times, but it’s a daunting task. How to begin food storage is a tricky task to tackle.
While some take this task on voluntarily, I feel like I was forced into it. Many moons ago, my sweet husband and I had stars in our eyes and couldn’t wait to add a bundle of joy to our simple little lives. On an evening in August we went from a cute little couple to a family of 4. Bam! Twins!
I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed a mom at the grocery store with an infant seat teetering on the top of the cart, but now picture one on top, and one in the cart too. There was barely enough room for babies, let alone groceries. I might as well just go home. I had to start planning better.
I jumped onto the websites to build up my 1 year supply of food. The site spit out that I needed to store 700 lbs of wheat, ridiculous amounts of flour, sugar and all kinds of thing that didn’t make sense to me. After all, what was I going to do with all that wheat?
I started taking inventory of what we ate and noticed we were eating the same kinds of food all the time. I was like that kid on Sesame Street, “A loaf of bread, a container of milk, and a stick of butter. A loaf of bread, a container of milk, and a stick of butter.” A light bulb went off. Maybe that’s what I needed to be storing, the food we actually eat. I couldn’t stock up a 1 year food supply over night, but I could start with 1 month.
Here is how to begin food storage –
STEP 1: Make a 1 month meal plan….
There are a lot of apps and really cute pre-written calendars that you can use, but I usually pull out the closest scrap page, piece of construction paper, or try to find that one clean lined page in between my daughter’s latest artistic endeavors. I draw 7 vertical lines, and 4 horizontal lines. Viola! A calendar. I then write down in random boxes our favorite dinner meals with sides. After I write down my favorites or the new recipe I’ve just gotta try, I begin taking the round room survey. I ask the kids for their favorite dinners, I ask the kids’ friends their favorite dinners, I ask the lady sitting next to us while we’re getting our tires changed for her favorite dinners. The next thing you know, I have 30 meals on my calendar. As I look at the calendar, I make notes about doctor’s appointments, wrestling, dance, swimming and who knows what else we’ve signed up for. I adjust those days to be slow cooker days, or the day I pull the frozen soup out of the freezer. And because I’m realistic, and I get burned out, I plug in a night for takeout.
Here is my actual January calendar:
After I have my calendar, I make the store list. I see that 4 meals need a pound of chicken, 3 meals need pasta – oh and better grab the sauce. I write down sides, like carrots with ranch, fruit salad, rice, mashed potatoes. Next a quick inventory of what I already have on hand. Edit the list and off I go. Whether you stick with the calendar or not, it’s just nice to know you’ve got fixin’s for 30 meals sitting in the house and even better, you don’t have to go to the store.
As for breakfast, lunch and snacks… we usually eat leftovers for lunch, and I’ll add things like granola bars, extra fruit and cereal to round off my list.
I also do a quick inventory of the needs outside of the kitchen, toilet paper, soap, shampoo, trash bags just to be sure these things don’t keep me running back to the store too quickly.
Last tip – keep your calendars or put your grocery receipts in a shoe box. Or, take a picture of your them with your phone. That will give you less paper to track. No better way to track what, and how much you eat, than by tracking what you buy.
You’re going to eat anyway, why not make this your first step toward packing you pantry? And there you have it, your first baby step to help answer the question – How to begin food storage.by