How Much Emergency Food Should I have?

How Much Emergency Food Should I have? - Uppercut Tactical

How Much Emergency Food Should I have?

Having food and water on hand is essential in any situation. However, preparing an emergency food supply takes time and strategy to prepare for natural disasters and SHTF situations. We have already covered which staple foods are the best to store in your prepper pantry. We also discussed various methods to prepare emergency foods to make stockpiling food efficient for you and your family.

In this article, we will be talking about quantity—how much food you must have readily available in times of emergency, with a shelf life that will last you very long and sustain you throughout emergencies. Learn how much emergency food storage you must have to ensure your emergency preparedness. 

Find yourself asking How Much Emergency Food Should I Have? - Here's the answer.

Why Stockpile an Emergency Food Supply?


Food supplies stored for emergencies is a must in any household to be ready for any natural disaster, man-made disaster, or anything that may cause you to go into survival mode due to a SHTF situation.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), when planning in storing food for these situations, you must store daily storage of at least a gallon of water per person and 2000 calories worth of food per person. However, this can depend on situational factors like your climate and living conditions, and how long you will stay in survival mode.

Why is Shelf Life Important?

Shelf life is the length of time that food remains safe and acceptable to eat. Determining the shelf life of your food supplies is important because this ensures the food safety and sustenance of you and your family. Moreover, this shows the safety and quality of the food supplies you purchase. Whether you're buying long term food storage buckets, or running a FIFO rotation in your pantry - the longer your foods stay fresh and edible, the better. You must choose foods that have a long shelf life and great quality for you and your family’s survival.

How Much Emergency Food Supplies Should I Have?

How much food would you really need to store for emergencies? Ideally, you would need 3 to 6 months' worth of food stored in your home for you and your family’s emergency preparedness. However, it is more complicated than that. The amount of your emergency food supply will depend on the regular diet of your family. Most importantly, it will depend on the three levels of possible emergency situations, namely: Short Term Food Storage, Long Term Food Storage, and SHTF Food Storage.

Preparing for Short-Term Pantries

Short-term storage refers to food that can last for 1 to 5 years in your food storage. Moreover, it is intended to last you and your family for a short-term crisis that would require you to have a two-week supply to a month's worth of food and water. This is intended for many unexpected that you may face may it be a national crisis on food shortage, a job loss, or any natural disasters that may cause a power outage.

Your prepper pantry is recommended to be separate from your working pantry which would be stored away to ensure that you have enough food for this level of possible emergency situation. For this level, you may use perishable food, however, you must ensure the food safety of your family and check first if they are safe to eat.

For short-term food storage, it is recommended that you have a month’s worth of food of the following food supplies and items: 

  • Canned food (canned fruits, canned meat, canned veggies)

  • Rice (white rice, brown rice)

  • Lentils (both rice and lentils are base for meals)

  • Dried beans

  • Granola bars

  • Baking soda

  • Instant coffee

  • Powdered milk

  • Peanut butter

  • Brown sugar

  • Refrigerated or frozen foods

Stocking Long-Term Food Storage

Long-term food storage must entail three months’ worth of food that can last 20-30 years if stored properly. Shelf stable foods, such as basic dry goods, that can provide you and your family the basic calories and nutrition are the best for this level of emergency. You may choose foods that have long shelf life than usual food storage options, therefore non-perishable foods are the best for this type of emergency food storage and fresh foods are not preferred for this level.

The food options for this situation can be from the same menu from short-term food storage but with longer shelf lives. Here are our recommendations for food items appropriate for long-term food storage: 

  • Dried fruits

  • Infant formula/ Powdered milk

  • Dry goods (wheat, flour, oats)

  • Bulk wheat

  • White Rice

  • Canned goods

  • Peanut Butter

  • Non-perishable food

SHTF Food Preparation 

For any prepper beginner out there SHTF means “shit hits the fan”, which describes events that can be catastrophic. It can be a situation that is community-wide, national, or even a worldwide crisis that will leave you in a position where you have to fight for your survival with limited options and resources. 

For this level of food preparation, non-perishable food is the best. A great option would be emergency food kits and Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) packs which last up to 30 years in food storage. This is fitting for SHTF situations because this level usually is prepared for the most unexpected times—that means that it can happen next month, year, or decade. Other foods from other levels are also great options for the SHTF level, however, you must prepare at least some of these food supplies to ensure your survival.

Additional Emergency Supplies

In case of emergencies, you will also need the following emergency supplies to have a well-balanced meal, ensure your food supplies’ efficiency, and for your survival:

  • Chafing dishes

  • Propane grill (to heat food or for food that requires cooking in case of power outages)

  • Disposable plates

  • Garbage bags/plastic bags

  • Glass jars (to store food or liquids)

  • Clean plastic containers (for store packaging of cooked food such as cooked rice)

  • Personal hygiene items per person

  • Carbon monoxide detector (to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning)


Always remember that it’s better to be late than sorry but at this moment you are never really late to store foods for your food storage for emergencies! You still have time to prepare for any situation or disaster. You may also prepare a meal plan and use various storage methods for preppers to save money and ensure your food security in times of danger and emergencies.


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