Could you and your family survive a one-week cut in the food supply chain? It’s not an end-of-the-world scenario, but it’s a possibility that should be prepared for by more than just hardcore preppers. Think about a mysterious illness such as SARS spreading rapidly due to our interconnectivity. Or a heavy snowstorm taking out the power and causing a run on basic supplies at the local supermarket.

For these sort of unexpected circumstances, having food stocks in place is a prudent move for anyone. Because while a short-term power outage is hardly the zombie apocalypse, the negative effects on food supply could be the same for you and your family.

How Much Food to Keep

As you might imagine, even “expert” opinions vary widely when it comes to the amount of food to keep on hand. At a minimum, you should have a week’s worth of food and water – two weeks to a month is even better, and three to six months is ideal if you have the space. The Mormon Church encourages its members to have a one-year food supply on hand for themselves, their family and to help others in the community in the event of a disaster. The short answer is that more food always is better, but you likely have a limited amount of space. Two weeks to a month is a bare minimum, and anything more than a year is probably overkill.

What Kind of Food to Keep

One good way to kickstart your food supply is to buy a massive amount of beans and rice. That way, if the food supply dries up tomorrow, you’ll have something to eat. These may not be the most appetizing choices, but using this approach will at least give you peace of mind while you build up and diversify your food supply.

Things to consider while diversifying your food supply:

  • You’ll need enough calories for you and everyone in your family to survive and thrive.
  • Foods like beans, rice, pasta and oats can be used a variety of different ways, giving you a varied menu without buying too much food.
  • Keeping high-calorie, high-carb snacks on hand will be helpful during emergencies by giving you a quick supply of calories to burn.
  • You can never have too much protein in your emergency food stores.
  • Don’t forget cooking basics like oils, salt, sugar, flour, baking soda and powder and vinegar. The same goes for coffee and tea if you’re a big fan of those.
  • Convenience foods can really pay off in a disaster scenario. You might not have the wherewithal to make pancakes when there’s a hurricane outside, but you can probably make some “just add water” pancakes to bring a smile to everyone’s face.
  • Comfort food is a must, so keep some popcorn, pudding and hard candy around. Even things like pickles and applesauce can help morale when times are tough.
  • Backups – and backups for backups – can be had on the cheap. Having a backup supply of meal replacement bars won’t take up much space or much of your budget. Backing that up with MREs is worth its weight in gold.
  • Keep track of what you have and rotate as needed. Even emergency supply buckets generally go bad, so know when things need to be replaced.

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