A guest post by Southern Girl
[This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win - First Prize a 10 Person Deluxe Family Survival Kit, Second Prize an Herb Seed Bank or Third Prize a copy of Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat. For complete rules and list of prizes see this post.]
Our church uses the saying “Store what you eat and eat what you store”.
With this in mind; I went about trying to find the best way to do this. I read several books and I talked to many different people about how they plan for meals and did their shopping for these meals per month. Most people and books will tell you to plan a week menu.
I tried this at first but found that my family was bored fast with only these meals. So I split the avg. month in half and took out two or more days out for holidays or special meals. This left me with 14 days to plan. You will use these 14 meals 26 times for one year. Then you will add the holiday meals and special meals. (for us this is home-made Chinese food or pizza night).
I started by making a menu for these 14 days meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner and any snacks in between.
For Example: Day # 1
- Breakfast: French Toast, Cooked sliced apples, Milk
- Lunch: Tuna Salad on lettuce, Raw carrots and celery sticks, Juice
- Dinner: Roast Chicken, Vegetables, Rice, Milk
Shopping ingredients list: french toast= bread, eggs,milk. cooked sliced apples=apples, butter, sugar. Milk for drinking. Tuna salad= tuna, mayo, celery, hard-boiled eggs, pickle cubes, salt & pepper to taste, etc. You add water for cooking (this goes in long-term storage), spices, butter or oil for cooking and seasonings,everything that you would need to make this meals. You get the idea.
As part of your 14 meals, lets say you are having: Beef Stew, Roast Beef w/ mashed potatoes, Clam Chowder, Chicken w/scalloped potatoes, Meatloaf w/ mashed potatoes.You can see that each of these meals have potatoes in them, this is our example item.
Next, you need to decide if you want box items or fresh (to make it from scratch). Box mashed potatoes: water (for cooking), milk, butter; 13oz. box makes 17 servings. 5 lbs of fresh potatoes: water (cooking), milk, butter, salt & pepper for taste.
The stew and chowder you will want fresh in them, plan for 3 to 5lbs per pot based on family size. The roast beef and meatloaf you could use box or can potatoes flakes or canned slices and/ or whole potatoes. The scalloped potatoes could be a box mix or fresh as well.
My list would then look like this for potatoes.
- 12 to 20 lbs. potatoes
- 4 boxes potatoes flakes
- 2 boxes scalloped potato mix.
Which would give me potatoes for 2 each of the meals.
The main idea a course is to build up your food storage for the long-term. In one month you have decide that you need 4 boxes at 17 servings per 13 oz. box. Multiple the 4 boxes by 12 for the year,you get 48 boxes. A #10 can will give you 30 servings; so a little less than 2 boxes. You would need 24 or so cans of the potatoes flakes to equal your serving amounts.
The next step in the goal is to buy a month and a half ahead for an item or two at a time.
- potatoes flakes: 4 boxes + 6 boxes = 10 boxes
- refried beans: 4 small cans + 6 small cans = 10 small cans or 2 large + 3 large = 5 large cans
- mushrooms: 12 cans + 18 cans = 30 cans
I make a lot of my meals from scratch including my breads, noodles, salsa, etc. These items use bulk stored food like wheat, sugar, salt and are part of my buying as well. Look at these bulk items in terms as this many loaves of bread, so many pounds of noodles, this many jars of salsa.
I also buy bulk items like dehydrated diced carrots, chopped onions and tomatoes to add to soups and stews. Scrambled eggs mix, whole eggs and canned meats for when fresh in not available. I could make a giant list but each family with have a different 14 meals list that they will like.
For my family we don’t eat a lot of wild game or fish ( this will change if the SHTF); but we do like clam chowder and tuna.. Another family we know doesn’t eat much pork but loves fish. What ever makes your family happy.
I know that I need to work on my long-term at the same time I do my monthly list. I work it like this: I want 12 to 24 #10 cans of potatoes flakes for the year. I also want the same for long-term, I will then buy 1 to 2 cans per month extra.I do this with other bulk items as well.
This will build up your storage and will not leave you with 24 cans of only potatoes flakes and nothing else. By using a master list or spread sheet, I can tell what items I need to work on for the overall growth of the food storage. I try to pick at least 7 days of meals to buy extra for during the month.
This gives you your menus, the shopping list, budget and overall goals, that you will need each and every month. Now start planning your 14 days and go from there.