Did you know that we need a daily intake of fat in our diet to survive? Despite what health organizations say about eliminating fats from our diet, in a SHTF reality, this food source will actually serve a purpose in our survival.
Fats are one of the four main food sources that should be in your food pantry. The others are carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins, and minerals. Bear in mind, a 2,000 calorie per day diet equals 67 grams fat and 75 grams protein per day. 30-35 percent of those calories should come from a fat source. No matter how afraid we are of fats, having substantial fat sources in our storage is vital. Here’s why:
- Fats are an essential component in any diet for proper vitamin absorption. Specifically, Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble, meaning they can only be digested, absorbed, and transported in conjunction with fats.
- Fats also play a vital role in maintaining healthy skin and hair, insulating body organs against shock, maintaining body temperature, and promoting healthy cell function.
- They also serve as energy stores for the body.
- Fats are also sources of essential fatty acids, which are an important dietary requirement and also serves as a useful buffer towards a host of diseases. (Source)
- Fats are one of the 4 things you must eat to avoid malnutrition.
The following are some fat source considerations for you to add to your short and long-term food storage:
- Infant formula – Baby formula doesn’t have to be used the way it was intended. The main source of fat in formulas is vegetable oil such as soy oil, palm oil or sunflower oil. Coconut oil is also used in some baby formulas. This would be a great item to store in case you need to fall back on it as a fat source. The only drawback of storing formula is its short shelf life. An unopened can of powdered infant formula has a shelf life of 12 months. Once a can of formula has been opened, it should be used within a month and then discarded.
- Ensure – This supplement drink has 6 grams of fat, which provides your body with 9 percent of the recommended daily intake. It is also packed with 24 essential vitamins which would be beneficial to you in a long-term emergency. If you decide to purchase this product, get the powdered canned version, the shelf life will last longer. Further, having this type of supplemental drink can also help elderly family members or members of the family who are becoming vitamin deficient. Plan on a can of powdered Ensure to last the same as a can of infant formula, which is roughly about 12 months.
- Oil (preferably plant-based oils) – A general rule of thumb is the darker the oil the faster it will turn. Also, certain oils like sesame and flax, which are not processed heavily, will also go rancid rather quickly. A light-colored oil, such as vegetable or olive oil can last up to a year if stored properly. Once it’s opened, the oil could turn within a matter of weeks or months depending on how it was processed and the storage environment.
- Peanut butter – Peanut butter is not only a good source of protein, but has essential fats in it as well. It is a prepper essential for the pantry and has a shelf life of 1 year. Of course, if your family is anything like mine, peanut butter doesn’t last long on the shelves.
- Nuts and seeds – This food source is one of the most nutrient-dense foods and is also full of fiber to help you stay full longer. Due to the high protein count of these lightweight nutrition powerhouses, it can be an efficient meat replacement. Look for non-salted nut varieties to keep you hydrated longer. Because of the high oil content in nuts and seeds, their shelf lives are usually affected. Nuts and seeds typically last about 12 months. Therefore, planting your own or learning to forage in a natural environment can help you get some additional fats in your survival diet. Further, nuts can also be utilized as a flour alternative as well as a milk alternative, thus making it a tasty substitute for the real thing.
- Canned goods – Some canned meats, such as spam, fish and canned ham can also provide an adequate source of fat for your survival diet. Due to the high salt content of some of these canned meats, they have a relatively long shelf life of anywhere between 2-5 years.
- Chocolate– I had to save the best for last! Although chocolate is considered a high-calorie, high-fat food, it does provide some health benefits as well. Most of the studies done used no more than 100 grams, or about 3.5 ounces, of dark chocolate a day to get the benefits. Studies have shown that dark chocolate lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well as provides more antioxidants than blueberries. Chocolate has a shelf life of 12 months, however, if the chocolate is repackaged in Mylar or stored in a plastic container, it could last much longer.
Storing fats are good for short-term emergencies, however, if you are planning for extended or long-term emergencies, it is advised to get your fat sources by natural means. The following list is fat sources that one can get living in a homesteading environment and most importantly, your health will be far better off:
- Whole milk – Milk from animals can provide essential fats to our diets, and can also be used for cooking, making cheeses and other dishes.
- Eggs – Eggs have 5 grams of fat per egg. I am including this in the list as I believe that fresh eggs would provide an adequate amount of calories, protein, and fat if consumed on a regular basis.
- Fatty fish – If you have a water source on your property, consider stocking it with a fish source. Many homesteaders have found great success in stocking their ponds with Tilapia, Channel and Blue Catfish, Hybrid Stripers, Largemouth Bass, Trout, Bluegill, and Freshwater Shrimp. Other sources of fatty fish are salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, and sardines. Ensure that you have fishing gear to get those fish with.
- Fresh animal fats from animals. Livestock, wild animals can be used as a source of fat. These natural fats can be rendered for other uses or preserved through canning to have a natural source of fat on hand.
- Nut trees – Look for the dwarf variety of nut trees (and fruit trees). Dwarf trees bear their fruit earlier than the standard varieties and can produce higher yields in a shorter period of time. They have also been known to be more adaptable. Mother Earth News has a great article if you are interested in learning more.
- Fruit trees – Specifically avocado and olive trees provide a substantial amount of healthy fats for the body. Obviously, the following examples are region-specific and prefer a Mediterranean-like climate, however, check with the USDA zoning map to see if you can plant them in your area. Living in the coastal South, I have seen many gardeners who have grown avocado trees.
It’s time we got smart about our food storage. We must go beyond storing beans and rice and begin researching the best types of foods to store and why they are so important. Keep the USDA food pyramid in mind and start prepping!