Many newbie preppers make the mistake of buying a packaged long-term food storage system withoƒstarut looking at the details, and they just assume that they are now magically “prepared”. But anyone who is shopping for packaged food storage systems should look with a discerning eye at any claims such as: “a six month supply for four adults.” Often these estimates are based on the manufacturers’ absurd assumption that a daily ration is around 1,500 calories per day. But that is actually a starvation ration that would not maintain the body mass index for anyone with an average body stature. In actuality, the average adult needs around 2,500 calories per day for normal activity and something closer to 3,700 per day for times of heavy exertion, such as strenuous manual labor or combat patrolling. You want to be living in Survival Acres, not Dachau! Once again, look very closely at those calorie counts.
Next, consider the quality of the foods themselves. There should be plenty of essential fats and oils. If the food storage system omits fats and oils or if it includes lots of Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) as filler, then beware. Your family will need plenty of quality foods, not junk. Also look for complete proteins, such as meats or “complementary” combinations of beans and rice. Palatability is another issue. Be sure to get a sampler pack and try the foods before you buy. Also, be sure to store (and/or grow) plenty of dried herbs and spices to make your stored foods more tasty.
It is important to store good quality multivitamin and mineral supplement tablets that will make up for any unforeseen shortfalls in the vitamin content of your selected storage foods, and for the inevitable loss of nutritive value over time in storage. Lastly, do not overlook rotating your vitamin supplements tablets once every four years. Without complete proteins, or without the requisite fats and oils, or without fresh vitamin supplements, you will unwittingly be starving yourself.
For true long-term-preparedness, you need to have a transition plan for self-sufficiency, so that you can produce your own protein. That obviously requires large-scale gardening and some small livestock. Practice gardening now, and lay in a large supply of non-hybrid (a.k.a. “open-pollinated” or “heirloom”) seeds. If you live in an apartment or in an urban house with no useful yard for gardening, then you can at least do some sprouting. Fresh sprouts produce amazing nutritive value at very little cost and can be grown in a space not much larger than a shoe box.
In closing, get smart about food storage. If you rush into it without enough study, you may be making costly mistakes—and possibly fatal mistakes.