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How Much Food Storage Do I Need?: Calculate How Much Food To Store Per Person

There are so many questions you must answer when stockpiling and prepping for the safety of your family, likeWhat should I be prepping?”, “Where should I store my stockpile?”, and “How much food storage do I need per person?” Or is it okay to buy instead the family home storage starter kit? Let us help you answer these questions and more!

This is important for all preppers because you want to ensure each family member will reach their calorie, protein, carb, and fat requirements every single day when eating the food you have stored.

When you begin to ration food is when your energy and mood drop, and this makes it more difficult to focus on the bigger priorities at hand. 

How Much Food to Stockpile Per Person for Immediate Use: A Week's Worth of Certain Shelf-Stable Items for Each Person

pantry food storage

A good rule of thumb when prepping is to always have at least one week’s worth of food stored somewhere cool and dry in the home, like a basement or crawlspace.

This can just be normal food you’d eat everyday. Having some canned soups, tuna, pasta, rice, and vegetables that you normally eat is your first line of defense. Just buy extra of those staples you already use so that if you can’t get to a grocery store for a week, you have nothing to worry about.

It has been recommended that every family keeps 3 days’ worth of food per person like the 72-hour emergency kit in case of emergencies like hurricanes, tornados, or any other natural disaster.

In these uncertain times, it may be safer to keep at least a week’s worth of shelf-stable food for each person in your home at all times. What if natural disasters don’t happen frequently where you are from? Not to worry—Valley Food Storage has food that lasts 25 years

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Prepping 3 days of food prevents you from dealing with the pre-storm crowd of people who stampede to grocery stores for last-minute food prep.

Having a week’s worth of food for each person in your household will allow you and your family peace of mind if you ever hear the dreaded tornado siren or emergency broadcast beeping. 

valley food storage being put into a storage bucket

Calculating the Short-Term Food Storage Needed Per Person: Consider Prepping for 30 Days

Three days’ worth of food will work fine in cases of natural disaster, because cleanup and aid usually come quickly to the impacted areas, but what if something bigger happens?

Are you prepared to eat for a month at home while still reaching your food requirements? Let’s talk about why you need to be prepped for a full month: 

Being prepped with a month’s worth of food will allow for more flexibility if job loss strikes your home. With budget-cutting and layoffs happening left and right, your family should always be prepared to deal with financial uncertainty even if you think you have job security. Follow the 10 C’s of survival.

Emergency situations aren't limited to natural disasters. It could be a personal crisis like a medical emergency that requires isolation. Or perhaps you live in a remote location, where restocking supplies isn't easy or immediate. That's when you'll realize how crucial your food stockpile is. Preparedness isn't merely a safety measure, it's a strategy for independence.

When you are strapped for cash, grocery shopping can go from a fun Saturday outing to the biggest financial burden for your family. Prepping food for a whole month for your family can help you manage your finances if something goes wrong at work or something urgent comes up in your personal life. 

Of course, with the new reality we’re living in with quarantines and disease outbreaks, it’s really easy to see a situation in which you might not be allowed in the grocery store for several weeks or a month.

If you’re in a situation with a forced quarantine for your family, how much easier will you rest knowing that you have plenty of food?

There are two different ways of approaching a short term, 30 day food supply. You can absolutely expand your one week supply of shelf stable items into a month long supply.

preparedness checklist download

It’s easy enough to have enough crackers and flour and canned vegetables to last for 30 days, but using that on a regular basis becomes much more important. If you’re stressed with a job loss or sickness, the last thing you want is to be eating two year old, stale crackers because you forgot to keep up with your food rotation. 

The second option is to buy a food storage subscription. For example, our 525 serving emergency food kit provides 2000 calories a day for 35 days and will still be perfectly fine in 20 years. It’s an easy fix it and forget it answer to a short term food supply.

Estimating How Much Food Storage Do I Need for Medium Term: A Stockpile for 3-6 Months

strawberry oat meal freeze dried survival food

When you start to look at these longer term time frames, you’re working on some more serious assumptions. You’re going to assume you can’t buy food for months at a time.

This has either occurred because of an extended financial situation like a job loss or economic collapse, or a widespread disaster or emergency of some sort. If it’s the latter, you’re also going to have to assume that at least some basic services are not longer being provided.

Perhaps the electricity is down for a while or the fresh water system isn’t working.

It is becoming all too common that cities are without power or clean water for extended periods of time.

Take a look at Flint, Michigan—they still do not have clean water to drink after 6 years. Lead contamination can happen in any city; it is not an isolated incident to Flint. You should always have water stored for at least 3 months for each family member.

rain water barrels

Investing in some rainwater barrels is crucial in 2022. You can attach these barrels to your gutters and allow them to fill with rainwater over time. This water can then be boiled clean and ready to drink!

Do you want to learn more about how to store water long term? Head over to our blog How to Store Water Long-term for Emergencies to learn the best methods and strategies.

We recommend that each family member has enough water for 2 weeks with about 14 gallons per person. Staying hydrated is essential to replenish energy and refresh your body. 

Storms such as hurricanes can inhibit food and water supplies for months. We have seen this already with Hurricane Katrina. Some New Orleans residents were left without easy access to the three basic resources (food, water, and shelter) for weeks waiting for emergency crews to reach them.

Just because a natural disaster strikes, it does not always mean emergency services will be right behind it. You should always be prepared to be your own emergency crew.  

When it comes to determining how much food to store, don't overlook the importance of variety. Maintaining a balanced diet can help keep morale high and ensure everyone is getting the nutrients they need. For example, dehydrated fruits and vegetablescan be rehydrated to add freshness to meals. Dehydrated meats provide a great source of protein. The advantage of dehydrated foods is they retain a large amount of their original nutritional value, and they're incredibly lightweight and compact to store.

mac and cheese survival food for long term food storage

Now, to food. What are some good things to store in your medium- to long-term storage? If you’re wanting to keep regular groceries like your powdered milk long term storage as your medium term food storage, you really need to think of it as a lifestyle.

You have to regularly eat from your food preps and replace what you’re eating. This ensures that your 6 months worth of food isn’t expired when you need it. In addition, you’ll want to consider all the cooking and baking essentials!

This includes but is not limited to flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and soda, yeast, pasta, freeze-dried fruits and freeze-dried vegetables, protein sources, and any seasonings you can think of. Just because it's survival food does not mean it has to taste bad! 

Remember, your storage shouldn't just be about the bare essentials. When figuring out how much food to store per person, consider including comfort foods. These foods, whether they're sweet treats or your favorite savory snacks, can provide a huge morale boost in a challenging situation. A well-rounded emergency food supply is not only about survival but also about maintaining a standard of living that can make tough times a little bit easier.

To make life a little easier,  stock up on some long term survival food that will still be good in 25 years as insurance. You can continue cooking and eating all the normal foods that your family enjoys access to right now, secure in the knowledge that you have plenty of food stockpiled in a safe place for when the time comes that it’s needed.

How Much Long Term Food to Stockpile for Each Person (12+ months)

With a noticeable increase in preparing for civil unrest, it's crucial to ask, "How much emergency food should I have to bunker down for a year or more?" Your family should be prepared if war or another pandemic strikes. America is currently in uncertain waters, both internally and externally.

The tension amongst American citizens is growing, raising concerns about the future of our nation. This is why we prepare. Thus, the question arises: How much food storage do I need to be ready?


survival food storage in a pantry

We've already experienced the repercussions of a pandemic causing chaos in the country. Are you prepared to bunker down if another deadly virus outbreak occurs, leaving store shelves empty?  While everyone else is out scrambling to find the last roll of toilet paper in the county, you’ll be watching it go down from your couch.

What about protein? How do you ensure that you're getting enough protein if you aren't able to hunt often or obtain meat, and the peanuts just aren't enough? The answer is freeze-dried meat! This meat will stay good for up to 25 years, but still give you a ton of protein–over 1,300 grams of protein per bucket!

Something else you should consider for your long term food storage is seeds! Seeds supplement your long-term food storage by giving you the opportunity to grow fresh food.

chili freeze dried survival food

Seed storage requires a bit more work. Seeds should be in an air-tight container. You want to keep this container as dry as possible so keep them in a temperature-regulated, cool area that you know is safe from tampering. 

For long-term survival it is recommended to keep the following amounts of foods:

  • 8 pounds of salt
  • 1 pound of baking soda and powder
  • 40 pounds of sugar
  • 12 pounds of dry milk
  • 40-45 pounds of beans
  • 170 pounds of wheat
  • 20-25 pounds of flour 
  • 80 pounds of rice
  • 40 pounds of pasta

Foods high in carbs like rice, pasta, and bread are very filling. However, these should be supplemented with more nutrient dense items like proteins, fruits, and vegetables.

Freeze-dried meats and tomato sauces can enhance meals, making them more nutritious and delicious. This harvesting season, consider canning your own tomatoes to add to your emergency food supply.

We recommend supplementing your food preparations with stable foods from Valley Food Storage that don’t spoil or attract pests. Our clean and nutritious emergency food options serve as valuable additions to any food storage plan.

Another component to include in your long-term food storage is seeds! Seeds supplement your food storage by offering the opportunity to grow fresh food.

Seed storage requires extra care. They should be kept in an air-tight container and stored in a cool, dry, temperature-regulated area safe from tampering.

If you're contemplating adopting an off-grid lifestyle or looking into how to start homesteading, check out our guide to self-sufficiency and how to leverage the land for your growth and enrichment. This lifestyle is also an excellent approach to food preparation, as you can consume what you cultivate.

Amount of Food Storage Needed to Feed Children

If you have children at home that you need to prep for, use this guide below to figure out how many calories your children should be eating and how many they need to be nourished for extended periods of time. 

amount of food storage needed to feed children

4-8 Year Olds

This age group usually requires between 1,200 to 1,800 calories per day. You will need 3,600 - 4,500 calories for 3 days; 16,800 - 21,000 calories for 2 weeks; 33,600 - 42,000 calories per month; and 403,200 - 504,000 calories per year. Valley Food Storage’s 175 Serving Long Term Food Storage Bucket contains about 23,000 calories, which would provide your child with food for at least two weeks at those calorie levels. 

9-13 Year Olds

This age group usually requires 1,600 to 1,800 calories per day. You will need 4,800 to 5,400 calories for 3 days; 22,400 to 25,200 calories for two weeks; 44,800 to 50,400 calories per month; and 537,600 to 604,800 calories for a year. The 350 Serving Long Term Food Kit provides about 47,000 calories, which could be used for anywhere between 2 weeks to 1 month. 

14-18 Year Olds

This age group usually requires 1,800 to 2,200 calories per day. You will need 5,400 to 6,600 calories for 3 days; 25,200 to 30,800 calories for two weeks; 50,400 to 61,600 for one month; and 604,800 to 739,200 calories per year. The 525 Serving Long Term Food Storage would provide about 70,000 calories, which equals a little more than one month of food for this age group at those calorie levels. 

Remember, it is better to overestimate than under. Some days, you just need a little extra food to keep your energy up! 

Amount of Food Storage Needed to Feed Adults

Next, we have broken down the number of calories usually needed to keep adult women and men nourished for extended periods of time: 

amount of food storage needed to feed adults

The daily recommended calorie intake is 2,000 for women and 2,500 for men. You will need 6,000 calories for women and 7,500 calories for men for 3 days; 28,000 calories for women and 35,000 calories for men for two weeks; 56,000 calories for women and 70,000 calories for men for one month; and 672,000 calories for women and 840,000 calories for men for one year. The 1050 Serving Long Term Food Kit would last a man and a woman about one month at those calorie levels. 

How much food to store is up to your particular family and its needs.

In addition to what we've already mentioned, a key part of long-term food storage is proper packaging and rotation. Make sure to package your food items in sturdy, airtight containers that are resistant to moisture and pests. Incorporate a system where you consume the oldest items first and replace them with newer ones. This rotation not only ensures that your stockpile stays fresh but also allows you to check and adjust the amount of food storage needed.

Alongside stocking up on food, having a method to prepare it in case of a power outage is also critical. Be it a solar oven, a propane stove, or a camping stove, be prepared to cook your food even if the electricity is out. Having a reliable cooking source can make a huge difference in your overall preparedness and ability to weather difficult times.

Lastly, while preparing your emergency food supply, don't forget about comfort foods. Stocking up on food is not just about survival; it's also about maintaining morale during tough times. Small items like candy bars, coffee, or your favorite snack can provide a much-needed boost to your spirit and mental wellbeing. Remember, preparation is not just for the body, but also for the mind.

At Valley Food Storage, we want to ensure your family is fed and ready for emergencies. Whether you are living off the grid, camping, or prepping, emergency freeze-dried food will always be there to fall back on (for 25 years at least!)