How much food to store: when do you have enough?

For what length of time should your stored food last if there were an emergency?

One of the most common questions you will come across as you build a prepper pantry is, “How do I know how much food to store?” or, “How I you know when enough is enough?” There is really no right or wrong answer to this question. It is completely up to you, and also depends on what kind of situation you are prepping for. To know how much you need for how long, you need to take into account the size of your family, as well as how much food and supplies they use on average each week.

For us and for where we live, that would mean storing enough for six adults to use over maybe three months. For you, it might mean storing enough for five adults and two children to last six months or longer. (Which might be challenging, of course.) Once you have a weekly average amount figured out, I highly recommend you use that to start building a two week supply pantry as a test. This will show you how much space these supplies take up, and how much more you can fit into the space you have available.

how much food to store in jars and containers on vintage wood shelves

How much food to store based on how much a person eats every day

If you want to go the technical route on figuring out how much food to store, you can calculate based on calories. On average, a man will need about twenty-five hundred calories per day. The average woman will need about two thousand. For children, the number varies by age; for example, kids that have not reached puberty yet do not need as much as those that have. Your average six to twelve year old needs a minimum of sixteen hundred calories a day. Meanwhile, a child that has reached puberty can need anywhere from twenty-five hundred to three thousand calories to accommodate increased growth and activity. As you calculate and build up your stock of reserve food, make sure you are gathering nutritious calories.

As calculating caloric needs can get tedious, I prefer to calculate based on food quantity and serving size. How many people does one can of green beans feed? How many cups of rice feed your family at one meal? I feel this is far easier, but since kids grow, the amount they eat can change. So, you would need to adjust your needs over time to accommodate this. Avoid starchy snack foods, candy, and sodas. Instead, invest your space in rice, beans, protein bars, peanut butter, canned fruits and vegetables, and even vitamins and supplements. You want the most bang for your buck when it comes to creating a prepper pantry.

How much does a person drink every day?

Not everyone needs to store water and some folks may be better served by purchasing a filter. But, for some people, it would be wise to store water. The best rule of thumb to follow when it comes to staying hydrated goes like this…

Drink half your body weight number in ounces every day. So, if you weigh one hundred pounds, you should be drinking fifty ounces of water every day. Hydration is extremely important, so be sure to take into account how much water you and your family will need in order to survive the length of time you are prepping for. Water is also used for cooking and bathing, so set aside a reserve for these things as well.

Knowing how much you need to provide for each member of your family is the best guideline for determining the length of time for which you store food. This information is what you need to figure out how much you can fit into the space you have available to you. Then, you can get into the details of extra supplies depending on the disaster for which you are preparing.

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