Category Archives: Prepper Health and Fitness

What Kinds of Food Should I Store For a Disaster?

Emergency Preparedness Food

Here in the southern United States, we have our quirks. One humorous stereotype that we seem to prove true time after time is the mad rush on milk and bread every time the weather man threatens ice or snow. While I think its fair to say that the charcoal and meat sections get some attention as well as the beer cooler, you can always tell the gravity of the snow and ice predictions by the shelves in the bread and dairy isles. Another example of a product shortage recently occurred and was not limited to any one area of the nation. As the concern about COVID-19 reached a feverish level, the most primal behavior came out in many people over toilet paper. While I have yet to hear of any side effect of the virus causing such a tremendous need for toilet paper, we can see just how easily supplies can be wiped out over the most unfounded panics. With that in mind, consider the situation we might face after a major disaster or disruption. Some consideration to how food gets to your local supermarket or Walmart can help you understand how a disruption in supply is caused by just a weather report. Imagine the difficulty of getting stores supplied during or after a disaster, especially with major power outages or road closures. This is just one part of basic preparedness. You can read more about the basics on my post here.

Now that we have considered how easily we can disrupt the food supply, we also need to consider how long it will be before the stores will reopen and/or be restocked. This adds to the concerns for preparedness. The amount of stored food we have as well as the shelf life and storage needs can make the difference between running low and being relatively comfortable in a situation.

A friend of mine in central Mississippi noted that for the first several days after Hurricane Katrina passed through, everyone in many areas had gone through all of their frozen foods because they had no power to keep them frozen. We need to make sure we consider storage requirements when we plan for food preps. I’ll add other posts on potential refrigeration means in a power outage later on.

Best Emergency Preparedness Foods

As we get started thinking and studying about prepping our pantries, many of us get caught up in the “survival food” groove. By this I mean the tendency to stock up on all the latest M.R.E. meals or learn how to make our own pemmican and hard tack. Those are longer term skills and may become useful at some point, however as new and busy preppers, we can focus our efforts on food that is less labor intensive to produce, store and prepare. If you are interested in some of the old ways people prepared and stored food, you can join my email list and get a great offer on a good book called The Lost Ways by clicking the picture below.

What Are The Easiest To Store Prepper Foods?

In my attempt to learn and share the basics of preparing on this blog, I like to start out with the simplest options for all of us to start. I think the following food preps are some of the fastest and most practical for most of us who don’t have the time and money to invest in the home made methods right now.

Canned Food: From the early 1800’s we can trace the canning of foods to prevent spoilage. The original canning process used glass bottles or jars and is still in use today. My parents, who grew up on farms and now hobby farm in retirement, just completed canning of this year’s crops just in time for the last jars from last year to be used up. Canning our own foods can be rewarding, but it is time consuming. The commercially canned foods that are available at the local supermarkets are a great prepping alternative. They are well packaged and usually have some added preservatives to help their shelf lives run longer with less concern for spoilage.

Some canned food examples to keep on hand are:

Canned vegatables

Canned Fruits

Canned Soups

Jars of Peanut Butter

Jars off Spaghetti Sauce

Even Canned Bread!

Dry Foods: Many dry foods are available for long term storage. We can purchase and store dry ingredients such as flour, sugar, salt, sugar, and cornmeal, however preparing meals from scratch takes time and effort we might not want to deplete in a disaster scenario just to eat. Modern packaging and preservatives have made many foods available in a dry or dehydrated form that can last years in storage and be easily prepared with the addition of water and a few other ingredients. Many of these dry meal mixes are compatible with canned meats and produce to produce a filling and tasty meal without requiring much prep work or many appliances. Some good dry foods to have in stock are:

Dried Pasta

Powered Milk

Instant Grits/Cream of Wheat

Oats/Instant Oatmeal

Rice

Meal Kits (Tuna Helper, Hamburger Helper, Jambalaya, etc.)

Macaroni and Cheese

Ramen Noodles

Instant Coffee

Frozen Foods: I’ll do a post soon on ways to keep refrigerated food from spoiling in a power outage so, for the purposes of this post, we will consider for this article that we have plans to keep our frozen food from spoiling until we can use it up. Freezing is a great way to store cooked meals and casseroles for longer times than we can keep them in just a refrigerator. Another benefit of freezing is that we are able to keep uncooked meats and vegetables for longer periods of time as well. The main survival foods to consider for the freezer are meats, frozen meals and vegetables, many of which can be added to either canned or dry foods to add variety to the menu. Be prepared to prioritize and have some meal plans and recipes handy to make the best use of frozen food resources before they spoil.

Suppliments: In our hurried fast food culture we often lack the dietary benefits of eating enough fresh fruits and vegetables. This can be especially hard if we are forced to eat only the food we have stored so it is a good idea for us to have some nutritional supplements to add to our diet to maintain intestinal and overall health. Try using a mix like this to add to your diet.

How Long Will My Survival Food Last

While the shelf life of food varies, we do have the benefit of knowing the “best by” dates on the store-bought items we add to our prepper pantries. Foods that we freeze or can at home ourselves depend on the quality of our preparation to last so it is based heavily on our experience to determine the safe storage life of the food. With that in mind, we should have a plan to rotate our stock. FIFO is a manufacturing acronym that was created for logistics in warehouses and manufacturing plants and stands for “first in, first out.” This should apply to our pantry rotation as well. As we replenish products in storage, we should make sure that the older cans and boxes of the item in question are next in line to be used. There are ready made racks for cans that help with this as well as plans online to build a pantry system that helps us to rotate stock automatically. You can take a look at or purchase one below:

What Are The Top Food Considerations For Emergencies?

If we are storing food that we have to survive on for a potentially extended period and we know that we have to rotate this stock to keep the food fresh and safe, then It stands to reason that we should purchase food we would eat anyway. If I won’t normally eat English peas, then there’s no good reason to stock up on them for an emergency. Our pantry should be full of the goods we use regularly and we should use and replenish them constantly for inventory freshness. We should also consider the size of the cans and boxes of food we purchase. It’s tempting to run to Costco and purchase our vegetables and fruits in gallon cans because of the economy of bulk purchasing, however, without refrigeration, whatever is not consumed in a relatively short time will spoil and be wasted. Consider how many mouths you expect to feed in your most likely scenarios and buy in packaging that will fit the need per meal or day. The other considerations to pay attention to are food allergies and special nutritional requirements. Look closely at what you purchase to make sure its adequate nutritionally and non reactive to you and your family’s health.

Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate and make money on qualifying purchases.

Survival Fitness for Preppers

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Why Does Fitness Matter to Prepping?

Because a large part of this blog, as well as my YouTube channel, is documenting my continuous education in becoming prepared, it is sometimes going to be less than comfortable for me to document some topics. Physical Fitness is one of the topics I have struggled with most of my adult life and one of the things I wish i could magically change, but, alas, it requires effort and mindful work.

If we just briefly search the internet on any subject related to preparedness it becomes very evident that we, as a society, are very “gear centric.” We focus on things that we think are going to help us survive and often ignore the fundamental skills and abilities that are crucial. Being well armed with little skill makes us a very poor adversary of someone who is minimally armed, but possesses competency and skill to use what they have effectively. The same is true of fitness. The focus on our bug out bags and provisions are all for naught if we are unable to carry the pack far enough to escape whatever circumstances force us to strike out on foot. Now I am not morbidly obese by any stretch. I’m 6’3″ and roughly 350lbs as i write this, however I realize that my mobility is limited by my weight and lack of fitness and I am not in the type shape need to be to consider myself capable of the physical exertions that a survival scenario might require. I have realized that I cannot buy myself out of this or wish it away. It is a responsibility that I must make a priority and I encourage each and every person that reads this blog to take a real and honest look at where you rank your fitness and ability.

How Fit do I Need to Be?

In a perfect world we would all be as fit as professional or Olympic athletes but reality dictates otherwise. The reason professional athletes are at peak fitness levels is the same reason that the military’s elite operators such as Delta and SEAL personnel are some of the deadliest fighters ever encountered. The reason is dedication and time. As a professional, we would train for a task or event for a living. We might only be noticed on the field on a Sunday afternoon catching the winning pass just before the clock runs out in the 4th quarter, but we actually get paid for the weeks and months spent perfecting our game. Those of us who aren’t paid to maintain maximum fitness levels at all times are faced with one of the greatest detractors of personal goals, employment. Making a living necessarily takes time away from our goals so we have to plan with determination to get to a level of anything we feel is sufficient for the vast majority of the situations we expect.

To determine how fit is “fit enough” we must look at our situations. How far we would likely have to travel on foot to reach safety. How much we have to carry with us. Remember, each of us have different needs and requirements. What if we have small children with us. How far can we carry a toddler and our bag (with additional gear for his or her care)? Can we run fast enough to get to the exit of a building with a child in tow before a fire engulfs it or a riot overtakes the area? I know that I would have a difficult time with these tasks currently.

What Are Some Fitness Goals to Reach?

Focusing on weight or size isn’t nearly as important for this topic as it may be for our overall health so we will consider general health in another post. Right now I am trying to determine baseline levels and goals to reach and these may change as I go, however here are some basic fitness goals I feel I need to be able to achieve to consider myself somewhat prepared.

  1. Be able to hike over uneven terrain for 3 miles with my bug out bag and edc carry while carrying a rifle and support gear for it too. This doubles the duty of the exercise from just bugging out to doing defensive or offensive patrols if a situation required me to be a part of a security element. Disasters often leave areas vulnerable and somewhat cut off from normal police support. Consider part of preparedness to be staying in shape enough to help defend yourself and family/group.
  2. Being able to climb or pull myself up steep inclines with a pack on.
  3. Being able to carry 100lbs additional weight 200 yards.
  4. Being able to do 25 strict pushups
  5. Being able to do 5 Pull ups.

These may seem random and they are. I’ll have to revisit and update this entry as I get started on my journey to becoming fit enough to survive. These are the places that I see myself starting towards. They are in no way final goals or a mark of total fitness, however its a place for me to start. I encourage everyone to consider some goals for themselves then update them as they see how they progress towards the goals. Take a look at this inexpensive book for some ideas:

Special Considerations for Fitness

There may be physically limiting factors that we must prepare around. I have to consider my prior back injuries when i consider how hard to exercise or how much weight i can safely carry. We will always have hurdles to overcome as we improve ourselves and become more prepared. It has been advised by many experts in the field of mental focus that we try to see the opportunities present instead of just the problems. As we continue, I plan to address prepping with disabilities and other limiting factors.

Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate and make money on qualifying purchases.