Staple Foods Storage By The Numbers, by Paul B.

Staple Foods Storage By The Numbers, by Paul B.

The most basic survival task that every person can do is to begin an emergency food pantry or stockpile or whatever term one wishes to use.  The problem I have always had is in not knowing the quantities of staple foods to store.  I know there are food storage calculators on-line that will give total amounts for various items but they don’t explain how to use those items on a day-to-day basis.  Part of the reason why this is all so problematic for me is that I never really knew that much about nutrition and what individuals need on a daily basis to survive.  You can’t really begin storing food until you know what you need.  So, I began researching nutrition to establish a baseline upon which I could build my food storage plan and to know how much food I would need for any given period of time.

In my research I discovered that the recommended intake of calories for adults is 2,000 calories daily based on moderate exercise.  I would imagine that if the SHTF then all of us will be doing more than moderate exercise.  There will be firewood to be gathered, the activities of bugging out, extreme stress, getting one’s survival location squared away, home defense, and a host of other activities that will require more calories.  So, to account for this I’m going to set the daily calorie need at 3,000 which is 50% above normal.  Further research has shown me that the generally accepted daily caloric breakdown is as follows:

Fat: 20 – 35 % of total calories (average 30 %)
Protein: 10 – 35 % (average 15 %)
Carbohydrates: 45 – 65 % (average 55 %)

The body also needs water and micronutrients like vitamins and trace minerals.  I’m not going to focus on the micronutrients because they are very easy to obtain.  All one needs is a good multivitamin and then store as many as necessary based on the recommended daily dosage.  There are also many good articles that discuss water storage so I’ll skip that as well.  If we look at the caloric breakdown then 3000 calories each day yields the following:

Protein:

3000 x 0.15 = 450 calories
450 / 4 cal per gram = 112.5 grams

Carbs:

3000 x 0.55 = 1650 calories
1650 cal / 4 cal per gram = 412.5 grams

Fat:

3000 x 0.30 = 900 calories
900 cal / 9 cal per gram = 100 grams

Let’s consider protein for a moment and look at two foods typically stored by survivalists.  I collected the following data from Self magazine’s useful web page: NutritionData.Self.com:

Beef Jerky

NUTRITION INFORMATION

Amounts per 1 piece, large (20g)

Calorie Information
Amounts Per Selected Serving
Calories                                                                  82.0 (343 kJ)
From Carbohydrate                                                  9.4 (39.4 kJ)
From Fat                                                               46.1 (193 kJ)
From Protein                                                         26.6 (111 kJ)
From Alcohol                                                           0.0 (0.0 kJ)

Carbohydrates
Amounts Per Selected Serving
Total Carbohydrate                                                  2.2 g
Dietary Fiber                                                              0.4 g
Starch                                                                          ~
Sugars                                                                        1.8%

Fats & Fatty Acids
Amounts Per Selected Serving
Total Fat                                                                   5.1 g
Saturated Fat                                                            2.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat                                               2.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat                                                 0.2 g

Protein & Amino Acids
Amounts Per Selected Serving
Protein                                                                     6.6 g

Allow me to point out that there is a considerable amount of math in this article and in some instances numbers are rounded for convenience, so if there seems to be an error then it may be due to rounding.   This is also just a demonstration.  If anyone actually follows this model then they will surely make all of their own calculations to ensure accuracy.  If you convert the jerky data to ounces (28g/oz) then an ounce of beef jerky has about 9.3 grams of protein or about 12.5 % of the daily requirement.  Thus if you were going to rely on beef jerky for your daily requirement for protein then you would need 12 ounces (112.5 / 9.3) prepped and stored for each adult in your survival community for every day of planned survival.  How much would two people need for six months?

12 oz x 2 people x 180 days = 4320 oz or 270 lbs (16 oz/lb) or 122.7 kg (2.2 lb/kg)

For purposes of calculations that I’m going to make later I’m going to break down the beef jerky data into 1 ounce increments for all three nutrient categories.

1 oz of Beef Jerky:

Protein:  9.2 g ~ 8% daily requirement
Carbohydrates: 3 g ~ 0.7% daily requirement
Fat: 7.1 g ~ 7% daily requirement

Now, let’s look at different protein source.

Kidney Beans:

NUTRITION INFORMATION

Amounts per 1 cup (184 g)

Calorie Information
Amounts Per Selected Serving
Calories                                                                     607 (2541 kJ)
From Carbohydrate                                                  448 (39.4 kJ)
From Fat                                                                     3.9 (193 kJ)
From Protein                                                            156 (111 kJ)
From Alcohol                                                              0.0 (0.0 kJ)

Carbohydrates
Amounts Per Selected Serving
Total Carbohydrate                                                   110 g
Dietary Fiber                                                              45.8 g
Starch                                                                             ~
Sugars

Fats & Fatty Acids
Amounts Per Selected Serving
Total Fat                                                                   0.5 g
Saturated Fat                                                            0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat                                               0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat                                                0.3 g

Protein & Amino Acids
Amounts Per Selected Serving
Protein                                                                   44.8 g

If you convert to ounces this serving size would be about 6.5 ounces of beans and provides about 40 % (44.8/112.5 x 100) of your daily protein requirement.  It would take 16.25 ounces of red kidney beans to get the daily requirement of protein.  Two people would need 365.5 lbs or 166.1 kg of kidney beans stored to get enough protein for 180 days of survival.  Again, let’s break kidney beans down into 1 ounce increments.

1 oz Kidney Beans:

Protein:             6.8 g ~ 6%
Carbohydrates: 17 g ~ 4%
Fat:                <1 g ~ 0%

So, one might think that beef jerky is the better choice since you need less of it each day, however a closer examination of the bean information shows that it is also a significant source of carbohydrates as well.  If one were consuming 16 ounces of beans each day then one would be getting 275 grams of total carbs which is about 67 % of the daily requirement.  So, if one relied on kidney beans for protein rather than beef jerky then they would need to store 67 % less carbohydrate based foods.  Considering the cost of beans over beef and with the additional carbohydrates, beans look like the better survival food.

Unfortunately, with everything gained there is something lost.  The other dietary component that is necessary for survival is fat.  I’m going to keep things simple and not get into saturated vs. unsaturated fats or which is better.  This is survival not Weight Watchers.  Look again at the beef jerky information and you will see that it has a significant fat content.  Twelve ounces would contain 85.6 grams of total fat which would be 85.6 % of the daily requirement.  The beans have practically no fat which means that you would need an additional dietary component to get the needed fat.

Let’s look at another darling of the preparedness community – peanut butter.

Peanut Butter – Smooth Style with Salt

NUTRITION INFORMATION

Amounts per 1 cup (258 g)

Calorie Information
Amounts Per Selected Serving
Calories                                                                  1517 (6351 kJ)
From Carbohydrate                                                  204 (854 kJ)
From Fat                                                                1088 (4555 kJ)
From Protein                                                            225 (942 kJ)
From Alcohol                                                            0.0 (0.0 kJ)

Carbohydrates
Amounts Per Selected Serving
Total Carbohydrate                                                  51.6 g
Dietary Fiber                                                              15.5 g
Starch                                                                         12.4 g
Sugars                                                                        23.8 %

Fats & Fatty Acids
Amounts Per Selected Serving
Total Fat                                                                  130 g
Saturated Fat                                                            27.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat                                               63.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat                                                32.5 g

Protein & Amino Acids
Amounts Per Selected Serving
Protein                                                                    64.7 g

This serving size is 9.2 ounces (258 g/28 g per oz).  Breaking this down into 1 ounce increments yields the following:

1 oz Peanut Butter:

Protein:             7 g ~ 6%
Carbohydrates: 5.6 g ~ 1.5 %
Fat:                   14.4 g ~ 14 %

I would have expected peanut butter to have more carbs and 9.2 ounces is not a small portion.  That’s over half of a 16 ounce jar!  Speaking of 16 ounce jars, let’s look at peanut butter in terms of 8 ounce half jar servings.  This would be a convenient bench mark for storage.  Two people would need one jar per day.

Percent Daily Requirement:

Protein:             48 %
Carbohydrates: 10.1 %
Fat:                    113 %

If you wanted to look at it more loosely you could consider 8 ounces of peanut butter as being roughly 50/10/100.  Those are nice round numbers on which the rest of your daily requirement could be based.  It makes for a very convenient starting point that could be reduced as needed to accommodate other food components.

Let’s keep going with this and start with our peanut butter foundation and add kidney beans for additional protein and carbs.  The additional 50 % protein requirement would be about 56 grams.  A review of the bean information shows that 56 grams of protein would be a little more than the 1 cup serving size.  At this point the exact math isn’t important so I’m going to say 7 ounces.  This would also give an additional 120 grams of carbs or 30 % of the daily requirement.  So, with just one half jar of peanut butter and 7 ounces of kidney beans you would have 100 % of your total protein requirement, 100% of your fat requirement, and 40% of you carbohydrate requirement.

Now, let’s look at something a little more complicated like bread.  I bake a lot of bread and my basic recipe is 2 cups flour, 2 Tbsp honey, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 0.5 tsp salt, and yeast.  For the sake of space I won’t list all of the separate nutrition charts but simply give the totals.

Flour (2 cup)           Honey (2 Tbsp)  Olive Oil (2 Tbsp)

Protein:                          32.8 g                    0 g                      0 g
Carbohydrates:             198.8 g                   17.4 g                 0 g
Fat:                                     4.6 g                  0 g                      28 g

This recipe yields two good size loaves so the percent totals per loaf would be as follows:

Protein:             16.4 g ~ 15 %
Carbohydrates: 108.1 g ~ 25 %
Fat:                    17.3 g ~ 17 %

Here is where some adjusting can come into play.  When we first did our totals for peanut butter the fat content was 113% of the daily requirement for each 8 ounces and I simply rounded this off for convenience, but that additional 13% is significant especially when pairing peanut butter with other fat sources.  Since the bread also has a significant fat content it would be advantageous to adjust the amount of peanut butter consumed rather than going so far over on fat.  If we went with one loaf of bread and a half jar of peanut butter the total fat intake would be 130% of the daily requirement therefore the amount of peanut butter needed could be reduced to 6 ounces.  Here are the total percentages for a loaf of bread and 6 ounces of peanut butter.

Protein                       38 %                                   15 %                       53 %
Carbohydrates            9 %                                    25 %                        34 %
Fat                              85 %                                  17 %                      102 %

Even with these two components we still need half of our protein requirement and two thirds of our carbs.  If we add 8 ounces of kidney beans then our totals are as follows:

PB (6 oz)           B (1 loaf)              KB (8 oz)             Total
Protein                       38 %                  15 %                      48 %                     101 %
Carbohydrates            9 %                    25 %                      32 %                      66 %
Fat                               85 %                 17 %                      0 %                       102 %

We’re still short on carbs so I’ll add some additional honey.  Rather than use ounces I’m going to use tablespoons.  The problem with our measuring system is that there is a difference between a weighed ounce and a fluid ounce.  These two values cannot be interchanged so going with a fluid measurement is better for something like honey.  Allow me to make my one man pitch for America to convert to the metric system.  Having used it on my job I can say that it is so much easier than trying to remember cups and pints and all of our other archaic units.  The original nutrition data for honey was for a 1 cup serving so this can be easily converted to tablespoons by dividing by 16.

1 Tbsp. Honey:

Protein:                  0 g ~ 0 %
Carbohydrates: 17.4 g ~ 4 %
Fat:                      0 g ~ 0 %

If we add 9 tablespoons to our equation then our final total is as follows:

PB (6 oz)          B (1 loaf)      KB (8 oz)   H (9 Tbsp)    Total
Protein                  38 %                 15 %              48 %           0 %               101 %
Carbohydrates       9 %                   25 %              32 %          36 %              102 %
Fat                         85 %                 17 %                0 %           0 %                102 %

All of the three components are met and it is clear exactly how much food is needed.  Remember, this is a daily plan.  What is outlined is all of the food needed for one entire day.  You could eat it all at once or portion it out through the day, but this is all that is needed along with a vitamin and water.

It might seem odd that I have not mentioned fruits or vegetables.  I was surprised to discover that fruits and vegetables are mainly sources of the micronutrients and in some cases carbohydrates.  Since micronutrients would be available from our multivitamin then fruits and vegetables would not be needed except for one other important thing.  They are a source of dietary fiber which is necessary for regularity and helps prevent colon cancer.  The last thing anyone wants is a bad case of constipation while trying to keep the family safe from the bad guys.  In my research I learned that the daily requirement for fiber at our survival calorie load is 40 grams.  Again, dietary fiber is available from fresh or preserved fruits and vegetables or one could simply include a commercial fiber product like Metamucil into their food storage plans.  Before we get too far afield on fiber we should go back again and look at our current food information and see that the original bean data lists 45.8 grams of dietary fiber and the peanut butter has 15.5 grams.  I didn’t list the nutritional information but our bread recipe would also supply 3.3 grams of fiber per loaf.  Doing the calculations for 1 ounce and 1 loaf increments yields the following:

1 oz Peanut Butter         1 Loaf Bread            1 oz Kidney Beans
Fiber         1.6 g ~ 4 %                    3.3 g ~ 8 %               7 g ~ 17.5 %

Our new total is as follows:

PB (6 oz)      Bread (1 loaf)   KB (8 oz)    H (9 Tbsp)   Total
Protein                   38 %             15 %                  48 %            0 %              101 %
Carbohydrates        9 %               25 %                  32 %           36 %            102 %
Fat                          85 %             17 %                   0 %               0 %            102 %
Fiber                       32 %             8 %                    140 %           0 %            180 %

So, with this daily survival diet one will be very regular, but additional fiber is a healthy bonus.  Regardless, it’s just a rough first draft.  It might be possible to reduce the honey content and substitute in something else and make other adjustments as necessary.  I’m going to call this Survival Daily Meal Plan #1.

Items per Person per Day:

6 oz. Peanut Butter
2 Cups Flour (274 g ~ 10 oz)
11 Tbsp. Honey  (165 ml ~ 5.5 fl oz)
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil (30 ml ~ 1 fl oz)
8 oz Kidney Beans (224 g)
0.5 tsp. Iodized Salt (2.4 g)

What would be required for two adults using this one daily plan for a six month survival period?

Peanut Butter: 6 oz x 2 people x 180 days = 2160 oz or 135 16 oz jars.
Flour:  10 oz x 2 x 180 = 3600 oz or 225 lbs (102.2 kg)
Honey:  5.5 fl oz x 2 x 180 = 1980 fl oz or 15.4 gal (59.4 L)
Olive Oil: 1 fl oz x 2 x 180 = 360 fl oz or 2.8 gal (10.8 L)
Kidney Beans: 8 oz x 2 x 180 = 2880 oz or 180 lbs (81.8 kg)
Salt: 2.4 g x 2 x 180 = 864 g or 31 oz or about 2 lbs
Yeast or Starter

Let’s try another one that I’ll call Survival Daily Meal Plan # 2.  This time I’ll substitute 6 ounces of beef jerky for the beans and see what happens.  I’m also going to drop the additional honey and try a different substitution later.

PB (6 oz)            B (1 loaf)          Jerky (6 oz)            Total
Protein                       38 %                    15 %                  48 %                      101 %
Carbohydrates            9 %                      25 %                   4 %                        38 %
Fat                             85 %                     17 %                  42 %                      140 %
Fiber                          32 %                     8 %                     0 %                        40 %

Our totals are way off which shows that trying to start a plan with two foods rich in protein and fat leads to overages and doesn’t allow many substitutions.  Clearly what we are seeing is that foods need to be complimentary with higher fats and proteins paired with higher carbs and fiber.  So, let’s continue with our second meal plan and substitute the jerky for the peanut butter.

Jerky (6 oz)            B (1 loaf)              Total
Protein                       48 %                        15 %                        63 %
Carbohydrates             4 %                         25 %                        29 %
Fat                               42 %                        17 %                        59 %
Fiber                            0 %                         8 %                          8 %

We need some carbs so how about another survival food – brown rice.  Here are the 1 ounce totals:

1 oz. Uncooked Brown Rice

Protein: 2.2 g ~ 2%
Carbohydrates: 21.6 g ~ 5.2 %
Fat: 1 g ~ 1 %
Fiber: 1g ~ 2.5 %

Now, the easiest thing to do would be to try and make up the remaining carbs with rice so lets do that and see what happens.

Jerky (6 oz)            B (1 loaf)              BR (14 oz)                Total
Protein                   48 %                      15 %                        27 %                        90 %
Carbohydrates        4 %                        25 %                        73 %                      102 %
Fat                          42 %                      17 %                        14 %                        75 %
Fiber                       0 %                        8 %                         35 %                        43 %

That’s not bad, but I’m going to add one more ounce of jerky to get the protein total just a little higher.

Jerky (7 oz)           B (1 loaf)              BR (14 oz)               Total
Protein                   56 %                     15 %                      27 %                         98 %
Carbohydrates         5 %                      25 %                     73 %                        103 %
Fat                          49 %                     17 %                      14 %                        82 %
Fiber                       0 %                        8 %                      35 %                        43 %

At this point we could add some olive oil for additional fat and a commercial fiber product, but let’s try a different route.  One thing that we don’t have in either of our meal plans is a dairy component for calcium so since we need more fiber and fat, a high fiber cereal with reconstituted dry whole milk would fit the bill.  Here are the totals for 1 ounce of dry whole milk and a 30 gram serving of Kellogg’s Bran Buds:

Milk                                    Cereal
Protein                       7.5 g ~ 6.4 %                        2.1 g ~ 2 %
Carbohydrates            11 g ~ 2.5 %                        24 g ~ 6 %
Fat                              7.5 g ~ 7.5 %                        0 g ~ 0 %
Fiber                           0 g ~ 0 %                             13 g ~ 33 %

Here is where things get a little tricky.  You can’t just drizzle dry milk on a piece of bread like you can with honey or olive oil.  To be palatable you need to use the recommended amount which is 4.5 ounces in water, so I’m going to put 4.5 ounces of dry whole milk and a serving of Bran Buds into our chart.

BJ (7 oz)    B (1 loaf)  BR (14 oz)    DWM (4.5 oz)    BB (30 g)    Total
Protein   56 %           15 %         27 %              30 %                   2 %              130 %
Carbs     5 %              25 %        73 %               11 %                   6 %              120 %
Fat         49 %            17 %        14 %              34 %                    0 %              114 %
Fiber      0 %               8 %          35 %               0 %                    33 %            76 %

Clearly some adjustments need to be made so I’m going to double the cereal component for plenty of fiber and take away one ounce of the jerky and four ounces of the rice.

BJ (6 oz)   B (1 loaf)   BR (10 oz)      DWM (4.5 oz)  BB (60 g)   Total
Protein     48 %        15 %            20 %               30 %                  4 %             117 %
Carbs        4 %          25 %            50 %              11 %                   12 %           102 %
Fat           42 %         17 %            10 %              34 %                   0 %             103 %
Fiber        0 %            8 %             25 %                0 %                   66 %           99 %

Items Per Person Per Day:

6 oz. Beef Jerky (168 g)
2 Cups Flour (274 g ~ 10 oz)
2 Tbsp Honey  (30 ml ~ 1 fl oz)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil (30 ml ~ 1 fl oz)
10 oz Brown Rice (280 g)
60 g Bran Buds (~ 2 oz)
4.5 oz Dry Whole Milk (128 g)
Yeast or Starter

2 Person Totals for six months:

Beef Jerky:  6 oz. x 2 x 180 = 2160 oz or 135 lbs (61 kg)
Flour:  10 oz x 2 x 180 = 3600 oz or 225 lbs (102.2 kg)
Honey:  1 fl oz x 2 x 180 = 360 fl oz or 2.8 gal (10.8 L)
Olive Oil: 1 fl oz x 2 x 180 = 360 fl oz or 2.8 gal (10.8 L)
Brown Rice: 10 oz x 2 x 180 = 3600 oz or 225 lbs (102.2 kg)
Bran Buds Cereal: 2 oz x 2 x 180 = 720 oz or 40 18 oz. boxes
Dry Whole Milk: 4.5 oz x 2 x 180 = 1620 oz or 101 lbs (46 kg)
Yeast or Starter

Now that I have some other foods to work with I think I’ll go back and revisit the first meal plan and see if I can adjust it slightly with rice instead of beans.

PB (6 oz)   Bread (1 loaf)    BR (10 oz)   H (9 Tbsp)   Total
Protein               38 %          15 %                   20 %             0 %              73 %
Carbohydrates    9 %           25 %                   50 %            36 %             120 %
Fat                      85 %          17 %                   10 %            0 %               112 %
Fiber                   32 %          8 %                     25 %            0 %                65 %

This time I’m going to lower the peanut butter by one ounce, remove the honey, and bring back some kidney beans.

PB (5 oz)   Bread (1 loaf)   BR (10 oz)    KB (6 oz)   Total
Protein               30 %          15 %                  20 %             36 %           101 %
Carbohydrates   8 %             25 %                  50 %             24 %           107 %
Fat                      70 %          17 %                  10 %               0 %              97 %
Fiber                  20%             8 %                   25 %              105 %        158 %

Well, it didn’t improve much but at least there isn’t so much honey involved.

If I were going to plan for survival based on these two meals then I would alternate them daily as the dairy portion adds necessary calcium for bone health.  Doing this yields the following totals for two people for six months.

Flour:  10 oz. x 2 x 180 = 3600 oz. or 225 lbs. (102.2 kg)
Honey:  1 fl. oz x 2 x 180 = 360 fl. oz or 2.8 gal. (10.8 L)
Olive Oil: 1 fl. oz x 2 x 180 = 360 fl. oz or 2.8 gal. (10.8 L)
Peanut Butter: 5 oz x 2 x 90 = 900 oz or 56 16 oz jars
Beef Jerky: 6oz x 2 x 90 = 1080 oz or 67.5 lbs (30.7 kg)
Kidney Beans: 6 oz x 2 x 90 = 1080 oz or 67.5 lbs (30.7 kg)
Brown Rice:  10 oz x 2 x 180 = 3600 oz or 225 lbs (102.2 kg)
Bran Buds Cereal: 2 oz. x 2 x 90 = 360 oz. or 20 18 oz. boxes
Dry Whole Milk: 4.5 oz. x 2 x 90 = 810 oz. or 51 lbs (23 kg)
Yeast or Starter

Now I know exact quantities of staple foods I need and how to use it.  This is only scratching the surface of food storage possibilities.  Any number of meals could be created using any survival foods.  The key is to use the daily dietary requirements to determine exactly how much food is needed.  Also, all of the calculations made have been for adults.  Divide by 2 when considering small children.  This is also just for temporary survival.  If the crisis lasted indefinitely then one would obviously have to transition to subsistence agriculture or find more food.

The final recommendation that I would make is to follow the 50% rule.  I don’t know if this has been put forth by anyone in SurvivalBlog before, but I have to think that surely it has turned up somewhere.  The 50% rule mandates that if you have stored enough food for six months then at three months, when 50% of your supplies are exhausted, reduce your caloric intake by 50%.  This will extend your stockpile by an additional three months.  After another three months if things show no sign of improvement then reduce by 50% again.  If you started with 3,000 calories a day then you would be down to 750.  Yes, you would get hungry, lose weight, and probably experience light- headedness upon exertion, but you would survive an additional three months.  Remember, just because you have prepared for a certain number of months does not mean that the crisis will conveniently end when you need it to.  Following the 50 % rule will double the length of time your food reserves will last.