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Week 35 of 52: Surviving with Carbohydrates

In our 35th week of this series, we will discuss the role that carbohydrates will play in a shtf diet, as well as touch on some wild edibles that could also be good carbohydrate sources.

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

This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on February 27th, 2012