Week 1 of 52: Short Term Emergency Food Supply (List 1)

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The Prepper's BlueprintAcross the ages, in every survival story, a disaster of some sort plays a prominent role. Sometimes the part is played by the government, sometimes it is played by Mother Nature, and other times, the role is taken on by a random mishap. If we have learned one thing studying the history of disasters, it is this: those who are prepared have a better chance at survival than those who are not.

A crisis rarely stops with a triggering event. The aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. Because of this, it's important to have a well-rounded approach to our preparedness efforts. Due to the overwhelming nature of preparedness, we have created the Prepper's Blueprint to help get you and your family ready for life's unexpected emergencies. To make a more comprehensive, easy-to-follow program, The Prepper's Blueprint has been simplified and divided up in a way to help you make sense of all the preparedness concepts and supply lists provided. We have divided the chapters into layers of preparedness.

  • Layer 1: Chapters 1-14, prepares you for those everyday disasters that have shorter-term effects: power outages, storms, injuries, and evacuations 
  • Layer 2: Chapters 15-31 help you to get ready for disasters that turn out to be much longer-lasting: economic collapse, long term power outages, and pandemics, to name a few 
  • Layer 3: Chapters 32-56 prepares you for the long haul and a complete change of lifestyle, the end of the world as we know it: providing food and water once supplies run out, security, retreat properties, and long-term plans
  • The goal of The Prepper's Blueprint is to help you find freedom through self-reliance, and ultimately, to get you and your family to a point where you can not only survive, but thrive, in a world that may be permanently altered.


    The following chapter is part of the free 52 Weeks to Preparedness web series

    Week 1 of 52: Short Term Emergency Food Supply (List 1)

    wk 1

    Lao Tzu once said, “the journey of a thousands miles begins with a single step.” The journey to preparedness starts this way, as well. It begins with a single thought or need to want to make sure your family has everything they need to stay safe.

    I know that the subject of preparedness is an overwhelming one and it can be daunting if you don’t know where to start. A few years ago, my newsletter, Get Prepped sent out a preparedness program called 52-Weeks to Preparedness. This online program broke down the overwhelming subject of preparedness week by week starting at the beginning of prepping for small scale disasters and moving up to longer-term disasters. Each week included supply suggestions, as well as skill sets to learn. Thousands of preppers have used this program to get their family’s ready for unexpected disasters.

    I like the “slow and steady” approach to prepping because it isn’t such a budget breaker (and in this day and age, we need all the help we can get). By slowly accumulating emergency supplies, you will not feel the financial “burn” compared to having to pay for everything up front. As well, this approach removes the panic of preparing for emergencies, and in its place provides you with empowerment.

    Keep in mind what type of emergencies you are planning for, if there are any family members with medical needs, how long you want your food supply to last, and so on. This will be the basis of your emergency plan and will help you make the best choices for your family.

    Week 1 – Get Your Home Prepped with the Essentials

    The first steps of preparedness should focus on cementing the family’s emergency plan and getting the family’s pantry prepped for a two week food supply. Ask yourself what types of emergencies you may face in the near future.

    • Job loss
    • Economic downturn
    • Threats of natural or manmade disasters
    • Concern of civil disorder

    How to Start a Disaster Supply

    There are a lot of events to be concerned with in these uncertain times, but once you know what to prepare for, the steps are the same. First things first, always concentrate on your basic survival needs: air, water and food. During natural and some manmade disasters, our water sources can become contaminated and it is wise to have a way to treat water.

    Most families only have enough food and water for 72 hours, and in times of emergencies, we need the right food to give us adequate nutrition and energy. Therefore, since FEMA suggests that each family should have a 2 week supply of food and water for a home, this is the best place to start your preparedness supply. Being that most emergencies will knock a person off the electrical grid, you want to ensure that most of your supplies will be “off grid” compatible.

    Below is a list of emergency food to purchase. This is a basic supply and we will add more to the preparedness pantry in the coming weeks. Taking time to read the nutritional information on the back of the food source and knowing other considerations, will help a person make the best choices for their needs. If a person needs to use their stashed food supply, having foods high in vitamins, nutrients, and proteins will provide their body with what it needs for needed energy and mental clarity.

    Preps to Buy:

    • 1 gallon of water per day for each family member or Datrex water pouches (Ensure that you have enough water for 2 weeks and remember that having more water stored up is better than being short on this essential supply).
    • 2 jars of peanut butter
    • 2 cans of juice per family member, like this brand
    • 2 cans of meat per family member (tuna, salmon, chicken, Spam, etc.)
    • 2 cans of soup or stew for each family member
    • 3 non-perishable items such as saltine crackers, graham crackers, dry cereal, etc.
    • 1 bag small beans (lentils, navy beans, etc.) 1 pound per family member
    • 1 hand operated can opener
    • Permanent marker
    • Additional supplies for infants or elderly – 2 weeks worth (diapers, wipes, children’s medication, formula, protein/calorie drinks, prescription medications, extra pair of glasses)
    • For those who have pets: 1 large container of dry food – This amount should last 2 weeks or longer

    Action Items:

    • Date perishable goods with a marker
    • If possible, set aside $100 to use for emergencies in small bills
    • Make a disaster plan and decide what types of disasters you are planning for (weather related, natural disasters, economic or personal disasters)
    • Decide upon an out-of-area contact who can coordinate information with friends and family members.
    • Once the out-of-area contact has been decided, email or call the newly designated emergency contact and provide phone numbers and names of family members for them to call.

    This is the first step to getting prepared! Next week, we will move into basic emergency tools to have on hand. If you want to jump ahead, check out the complete 52-Weeks to Preparedness List or purchase the best-selling book it was based around, The Prepper’s Blueprint.


    The Prepper's Blueprint

    Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

    Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

    Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    Originally published April 6th, 2011
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32 Responses to Week 1 of 52: Short Term Emergency Food Supply (List 1)

  1. Erin says:

    I absolutely love this…  My family is prepared for much more than two weeks, but this is a FABULOUS start for anyone.  I’ll be sharing this all over the place… 


  2. Stealth Spaniel says:

    OMG! I love this! Trying to get “just started preppers” on board is hard. They imagine spending $6000 that they don’t have at Costco. This makes it so easy to explain the process of gradually building your supply. It also makes the process seem do-able. Thank you!!

  3. Anna Mercken says:

    This is great.  But when I went shopping, I wondered what is a can of meat (a little can of tuna), or a can of juice (the big Costco size).  A little more explanation would help.

    • Jon says:

      There are two guidelines to follow for those kinds of decisions, and they may seem obvious but many people over-think these things. First, the nutritional data on the packaging of whatever foods you are purchasing will provide you with serving sizes, the number of servings per package, and the number of servings recommended daily. In a perfect world, you could use this information to decide what serving size will be required for each of the members of your family or the group that you are purchasing for.

      Since we don’t live in a perfect world and the educated guess would be that you are preparing for rough times, the second guideline is to take into account not only that strict rationing may not just be a benefit but a life-saver, so high-calorie diets will be preferable when they can be provided, especially given that any collapse of modern conveniences will undoubtedly require greater physical exertions from people planning to not only survive, but to do so in relative “comfort”.

      With that in mind, you should consider things like the individuals that you are purchasing for, specifically their metabolic rates during high-exertion periods. It is not always possible or feasible to plan for such things, so one good estimation would be to run a daily calorie count for each individual over a period of time, and then try to provide a diet that adds a buffer of half of that number to double in order to provide a little “breathing room”. If you can do this, then even in the worst conditions you will have a little extra on the table as it were, for not only providing nutrition, but under better circumstances you may also wind up with a surplus from which you can barter or provide charity. If your kids drink two glasses of juice per day, then a small amount might seem like enough- but the more you have on hand, the longer you can stretch that ration, and they might need more once they are forced by circumstance into doing more labor-intensive tasks such as gathering or chopping wood for the fire.

      If you can afford it, go for the big can of tuna and the Costco sized juice canister. 

  4. Bonnie says:

    I really, really appreciate the work you have done on this. I especially love that so many of your tips are arranged as lists. That makes carrying out the prep easier to do — even easier to read. Thank you again.

    • Thanks Bonnie,

      I appreciate the positive feedback. If you haven’t noticed, I love lists. I know that a lot of you are exactly like myself: busy in their personal lives, home lives and professional lives… and lists seem to be the most efficient way of putting things in order and getting the work accomplished.

      Take care and thank you again for your encouraging comment.


  5. Chris Michelson says:

    Thank you very much for all the information that you have put together.  Your lists are very good.  They have made the planning so much easier.  Great job!   Thanks again. 

  6. Sheryl says:

    I also love the lists. I copied and printed out for a friend of mine. I have been talking to them about getting started. This will help them picture where we are gong.
    Thank you.

  7. Dave says:

    One of the replies hit on something had to think through. What size can of meat?
    I was buying the # 10 cans of everything because they were cheaper. Well after thinking it through that the canned food was what was going to be eaten after the food in the fridg. / freezer was ate which was kept cold with a generator. I realized that # 10 cans were too big for my wife and I to eat before it spoiled. So I started to buy the smaller cans which cost more but would serve us better.
    Just starting your lists, found you through http://www.survivalblog.com/
    I do have at least a year of supplies put back, but you’re lists may help me not miss something. Thanks

  8. Cheryl says:

    I have been  reading about dehydrating frozen vegestables…is it possible to dehydrate canned vegestables?  maby to use for soups etc.   Would you consider have a week talking about food dehydration?  I just printed off
    all the weeks you have listed to put in a binder to keep..

    Thank you so much for this information    

    • lin says:

      Canned food is not a good choice to dehydrate.  It is already cooked and processed. dehydrating it and then using those vegetables in further cooking would suck the life and nutrition out of them. Plus, most canned veggies have added salt.  this added salt interferes with the rehydration process when you go to use your dehydrated veggies.  Frozen veggies are already blanched and full of nutrition and unprocessed for the most part.  They dehydrate at 125 degrees for about 8 hours in your food dehydrator.  You would just cut open your 1 lb bag of frozen veggies, put them on the trays, and you dehydrate them easily.  Hope this helps

  9. vicky says:

    This is a good idea. One thing I found several years ago at Salvation Army was one of the old Swing Away wall mount can openers. It was barely used. It has been invaluable in my house. It always works and no more of those handhelds for me unless we’re camping! It was the best $.99 I’ve spent!

  10. Kimok says:

    In addition on the action items : prepare own or family pictures(each 2, plastic coated). and decide the meeting place when emergency. the pictures will be used for when you couldn’t meet them. write down next meeting place on the back of the picture.

  11. Gramas says:

    I love your lists and the advice you have given for us all to read and learn from. I have been a survivalist for many years and have trained my children as they were growing up how to deal with being in the woods. But now at my old age I would have to stay and protect my home, so the putting back for that “rainy day” has always been on going.
    But your never to old to learn something new as they say and keep up the great work!

  12. danny gaddis says:

    i see alot of talk about rotating stocks to keep them fresh.. i see this as extra work, especially when you deal with large amounts of supplies for a large group. i skip this and just eliminate stock that is very old or stale…i look at food storage as insurance…if pay auto insurance for a year and don’t use it..that’s a good thing…old canned meat can go to the dogs and veggies can go in the compost pile..they serve their purpose by being there if and when i need them, like insurance does…this way i can spend more time refining my prepping strategies…just found your site..so far so good

  13. Nola says:

    If you don’t usually drink juice, don’t count on it!  My son had to have an opperation due to MD.  The Nutritionist at the hospital insisted that children drink juice.  He got Diarhirra as a  result of drinking juice, which he was not used to.  He was almost sent home to wait for another date until I explained to the drs that I didnot give him juice, but REAL fruit, not the result of what was left after squeezing, filtering, dehydrating and rehydrating of fruit.  When they let him eat what he was used to, he was fine and recieved his opperation.

  14. Kim says:

    Is this list per day? I get the two jars of PB but only two cans of tuna and two cans of soup per person for two weeks obviously isn’t enough. Did I miss something? Thanks in advance for clearing up my confusion.  

    • Hi Kim,

      These lists are weekly suggestions of how you can ready in 52 weeks.

      • Nunuv Yurbiz says:

        You mean, you should be buying this list each week for the next 52 weeks? That doesn’t make sense. That would leave you with 104 jars of peanut butter per person, 52 can openers, etc. It starts off right – 1 gallon per person per day for 14 days. The rest should continue with that – 1 oz. (or whatever) of peanut butter per person per day for 14 days, etc. Anyway, that’s how I think about food: how much per person per day, and I come up with 1 gallon of water, 2 cans of meat (e.g., tuna), 2 cans of veggies, 1 oz. of PB, etc. Even better, think of it in terms of how many calories per person per day. Malnutrition takes a while, so any mix of food to get to the right number of calories should carry you for a while. 

  15. Dave says:

    If you mix a ratio of 1/3 Karo Syrup with 2/3 Peanut Butter, it makes a nice tasting meal/snack that is loaded with energy from the syrup and protein from the Peanut Butter.  It goes well on crackers as well.  Both of these items have a long shelf life and they don’t take up a lot of room in the storage pantry.

    • Kathy says:

      @Stevor and others planning on using your hot water heater as part of your water storage system; please remember to clean out your tank by draining it once a year to get rid of all of the sediment at the bottom of the tank.  If you’ve never drained your tank you can expect quite a bit of sediment.  As a bonus, this also increases the life of your heating element and all of the other guts of the tank.  (grin)

      @Tom … we too have experienced real problems with the shelf life of saltines and other crackers.  There are types of crackers that have longer shelf lives that might be looking into but every one will have to decide on cost vs. benefit.  There are Pilot Crackers which are a kind of LTS food.  Then there are Cuban Crackers which are an ethnic food but don’t pack away very well.  There are a few other types of ethnic crackers that are more like flat breads that have less fat in them than saltines so don’t go rancid as quickly.  Anyway, just a thought.

  16. stevor says:

    As to water, remember you have 20 gallons of water in your water heater that can be gotten out through the bottom spigot

  17. Tom says:

    I dislike telling you this but Saltine Crackers and Graham Crackers are perishable items. They will last about 12-18 months, yes, but nibble on one before you eat it. the reason, the chemical preservatives breakdown and make the crackers really poor tasting. Proven by experience. Use them up once they get six months past expire y.

  18. Julie says:

    has anyone ever heard of using inexpensive calf milk replacer in place of powdered milk in your survival kit?

  19. Dixie Landers says:

    Note to Dave, and everybody else: your thoughts about #10 cans…keep the ones you have, as in an emergency there will be plenty of unprepared neighbors with  whom you can share those big cans. Desperate people will appreciate your sharing, for they may have no resources!

  20. Karen says:

    Thank you for putting together this 52-week list!  I’ve been struggling with how to start prepping – overwhelmed with the amount of stuff we’ll need and the cost associated with it.  This gives me a clear plan to get there, without breaking the bank!

  21. Walt says:

    Good ideas, prepping boils down to common sense for prepping for your family and even pet’s specific needs. All the info a person needs can be found on this and other good web sites. Prepping needs to be at the top of every to do list. Water should be utmost on a prepping list. A person can survive for 30 days without food, but only 3 days without water. As terrible as this may sound, prepping is much more than stocking for a severe storm or catastrophic event, its also about surviving the masses. Besides stocking for your personal needs, a person must be equipped and mentally prepared for defensive action.

  22. Riverine man says:

    Concerning the wipes for elderly and babies…. I would suggest getting them for everyone. Having been in areas where having to use wipes for bathing I can say with certainty it makes you feel more human to be able to use them.

  23. Usiku says:

    Thanks for bringing this valuable resource together in a chewable format.

  24. ReconVeteran says:

    I am glad that my family does not live in the city or small villages. A lot of us country folks have already come together to help one another. We hunt together, the women folk cook together, can together make clothes for family members. WE might not live real close to one another but if a national emergency happens you’ll be surprised how fast we come together, and we will defend what is ours. Don’t figure to many will want to come up into the mountains of Tennessee and the Carolinas. Not a good place to go and try to steal stuff. Know what I mean?
    SEMPER FI !!

  25. White Cloud says:

    Tess, Thanks. Your list is simple. But you seem to assume that for 2 weeks one is not going to cook rice with beans and no cooked sausages. No boiled cabbage. Eating cookies and peanut butter, canned meat/fish or canned beats or anything canned is not a good idea in general. One could survive on this for 2 weeks possibly. I’d like to better understand your assumptions. Thank you.

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