Week 35 of 52: Surviving with Carbohydrates

Week 35 of 52: Surviving with Carbohydrates

Have you ever noticed how many options and varieties of food there are at the grocery store? In a previous article on food pantry preparedness I wrote, “Variety is the very spice of life, that gives it all it’s pleasure.” To put it simply, having a well-rounded food storage pantry will cut down on culinary boredom, as well as balance your diet.

With this in mind, when the veritable “S” to hits the fan, you will want variety. By diversifying your emergency pantry will ensure you have plenty to choose from. Remember, food has more than one purpose. It comforts us, powers us with nutrition, and provides us with energy to withstand what may come our way. Choosing the right carbohydrates helps ensure power within diversification. Even if you don’t eat many carbs now, in a survival situation, activity levels increase due to the escalated necessity of physical labor (i.e. chopping firewood, planting a survival garden, standing guard or securing a perimeter, hunting, hand washing clothes or dishes, etc.). Harsh weather conditions can also play a role in the amount of carbohydrates we will need to consume. Bear in mind that the colder the temperatures there are, the more carbohydrates you will require.

U.S. guidelines suggest that between 45 and 65 percent of your calories come from carbs. The best carbohydrates are those that are complex carbohydrates and come from natural sources that contain a lot of fiber, such as from fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low fat milk. These types of carbohydrates take longer to break down into glucose and give you the most nutrients along with your calories. As a whole, we underestimate how many carbohydrates we need stored for a long-term emergency. For example, one adult should have the following different types of carbs in their food pantry: 150 lbs. of wheat, 50 lbs. of rice and 25 lbs. of pasta to live off of for one year. To get an idea of how many carbohydrate sources you or your family will need, use the food calculator at Ready Nutrition.  Those of you who have allergies to wheat or prefer to have  a variety of carbohydrate sources, consider these alternatives.

When putting this food source away, remember that you will need a mill to turn your carbohydrates into flour. Therefore, start researching and saving up for a quality mill now. These can be a costly, but a necessary preparedness investment. Initially, when my family started preparing for a long-term disaster, we purchased a low cost hand-powered grain mill for around $70. We practiced and used the low cost grain mill until we had money saved up to purchase our primary mill. Those of you who may be wondering, we invested in a Country Living Grain Mill; and although the cost is on the higher end, we feel satisfied with our purchase. Not to mention, now that we have two working mills, we have designated our old a back up grinder to our primary one.

Many preppers like to choose a multi-barrier system to store their food.  This barrier system is for long term purposes, and will keep natural elements such as sunlight, moisture and air out of the container when sealed. To learn more about this storage process, click here.

For the last four years, my family and I have stocked up on long-term food items from a variety of places, including super stores, the LDS food storage warehouse, emergency preparedness websites such as Emergency Essentials, Five Star Preparedness and the Ready Store.

From a survival standpoint, if you must forage to find carbohydrates, know in advance which wild food sources are available in your area. When food is scarce, chaos and fear begin to set in. However, instead of panicking, step outside and go for a walk and more than likely, food will be right around the corner or right under your nose. Consider the following:

  • Look for bees (honey)
  • Wild apples
  • Cattail roots
  • Wild potatoes
  • Wild fruits
  • Roots and tubers (cook these well).

Do you remember when we first began the 52-Weeks to Preparedness series? Our goals were simple: to find multipurpose preparedness items that will help you conserve space, provide versatility and give you the biggest bang for your buck. Well long-term storable carbohydrates are in this classification. Did you know that there are over 20 different types of grains? How’s that for a variety! Because I want for you all the make the most of your investments, most of the suggested carbohydrates have a lifespan of 20 years and longer.

  Preps to Buy:

[In Quantity]

*These items have a 20 year+ shelf life

  • Corn (whole kernel lasts longer)
  • Pasta
  • Wheat – Hard red wheat or white wheat
  • Rice – white rice
  • Oats – Steel cut oats, not the instant kind
  • Quinoa
  • Amaranth

Action Items:

  1. Get smart about survival and research the importance of having certain food sources in your diet.
  2. Further, research how versatile these foods can be for your food pantry.
  3. Use the Ready Nutrition Food Storage Calculator to find out how much protein you need to add to your storage supply.
  4. Bear in mind, daily caloric intakes are different with each person, so research how many calories you need to stay at your optimum health.
  5. Those with special needs (such as pregnant women) are advised to get more nutrition and calories daily, so keep this in mind when purchasing.
  6. Learn how to package and store your bulk foods for long-term storage.
  7. Store your purchased products in a suitable environment where it is not exposed to natural elements. Click here to learn about your food’s worst enemies

Prepper's Cookbook

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But if you follow this book’s plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months or even years. Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published February 27th, 2012
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  • Theresa

    what is the difference between “steel cut” oats and “rolled oats” (not the instant oats).  Also, can we store Biscuick?  In our mylar food storage bags?

    • http://www.readynutrition.com Tess Pennington

      The main difference is really in the amount of processing.

      There are four main types of oats: steel-cut, rolled, quick-cooking and instant. Steel-cut oats are recommended because they undergo very little processing; they are simply cut into smaller pieces. Therefore, they will last longer if stored. Rolled oats (aka old fashioned oats), quick-cooking oats and instant oats all go through a cooking process, and are dried to cut down on cooking time. Steel cut oats may take longer to prepare, but will last much longer in an emergency pantry.

      Hope this helps,


    • Kitty

      Bisquick has the oil already added to the flour.  the only way to store it long term would be with oxygen absorbers or flooded with nitrogen to prevent the oil from going rancid.  Otherwise, you can store enough to last as long as the use by date.  it would probably keep about twice as long as that date in ideal conditions, always keeping in mind the weakness of the oils in it.  Ideal conditions are below 60 degrees, low moisture, no light conditions.  below 40 degrees would be even better I guess. the higher the temp, the shorter the storage life.

  • TRose

    Also, once I have all of my food items, what will I be cooking with them?  Do you have any cook books you would rec.?

    • http://www.readynutrition.com Tess Pennington


      Way to stay ahead of the game. I have found a lot of my recipes on line through various homesteading and cooking sites. So do some searching for homesteading recipes and see what you come up with.

      Also, I cannot reccomend this book enough, “Making the Best of Basics: Family Preparedness Handbook”, by James T. Stevens. If you want a how-to guide on prepping, this is it. It also has some great recipes included to show you how you can use your food storage pantry. You can read more about it here.

  • SandyRn

    Noone ever mentions marigolds! Edible, used as misquito repellent each flower once dead has hundreds of seeds to use again and again! Planted in veggie garden keeps bugs away and rabbits and planted on your deck/ patio keeps bugs away especially misquitos

  • saffron

    And as a psychological benefit (as well as looking pretty), rub marigold petals onto pimples 3 x a day and it will greatly reduce the problem!

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