When stockpiling a one-year food supply, you must store calorie-dense staples that contain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to keep you healthy in dire situations. Additionally, the food must have a long shelf life and mustn’t require refrigeration.
Here’s a complete emergency food storage list for one year:
- Beans and legumes
- Powdered milk and eggs
- Meat (freeze-dried, dehydrated, & canned)
- Fruits and vegetables
- Peanut butter and other nut butters
- Butter, oil, and lard
- Iodized salt
- Sugar and sweeteners
- Herbs, baking supplies, and luxury goods
- Pet food
This article lists essential foods for stockpiling in an emergency food supply. It discusses the amount of food needed per person and even mentions some “luxury” goods to boost morale and retain a sense of normalcy during tough times. Read on to learn more.
When preparing emergency food storage for a year, water is the most important survival item. Our bodies are made up of 75% water, and a person can only survive without water for days, whereas we can survive two weeks or longer without food.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends having at least one gallon of water (5 liters) per day per person. Therefore, to have enough water for a full year, you’ll need a minimum of 365 gallons (1,659 liters) of potable water for each person in your household. People living in hot climates and pregnant or nursing mothers require more.
In addition to storing potable water, it’s critical that you have some kind of water purification method in case you run out. There are filtration systems available for purchase.
I recommend the Outback Water Emergency Water Filtration System, available on Amazon. This system filters 20 to 24 gallons (90 to 109 liters) of water per day, removing over 99% of bacteria and viruses. You can collect and purify water from almost any fresh or moving water source. When properly stored, the filters last up to a year. Gravity powers the system, so it doesn’t require electricity or pumps.
Dry grains are a must-have staple for a one-year emergency food supply and should make up the bulk of your food storage. Expect to store at least 240 pounds (109 kg) of wheat or grains per person. Hard grains hold longer than soft grains, but feel free to incorporate some soft grains (i.e., quinoa, barley, rye, etc.) in your stores as well.
Here are some grains to consider for your one-year food supply:
Rice is inexpensive, easy to find and purchase, and could potentially make up the bulk of your grain stores. When properly stored, it can last as long as 30 years. According to the American Heart Association, combining rice and beans makes a complete protein.
Every prepper should have wheat berries stored for an emergency. You can ground the berries to make flour for bread or baked goods, or you can boil the berries whole and use them to make a porridge-like meal. You can sprout the berries to grow nutritious greens for salads, and in dire situations, you can plant wheat berries in a survival garden.
Dried corn is a grain, and there’s a reason it’s a staple crop all over the world. Corn contains protein and carbs and is extremely versatile. The best corn for long-term storage is dent corn, as it lasts as long as 30 years when dehydrated and stored in Mylar bags or buckets. You can grind it to make various things, including:
- Corn grits
- Corn pudding
You can even use it as a crispy coating on different survival foods.
Oats are a good source of:
It stores well and can be used in a variety of recipes. You can use oats to make granola, granola bars, oatmeal, no-bake cookies, or even cobblers. Oats also work great as a binding agent in different recipes.
Dry pasta is a versatile food that can help with palate fatigue if you tire of oats, corn, and rice. When purchasing dried pasta, move it to Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers to maximize its shelf life. Consider storing a variety of pastas and incorporating vegetable-based noodles, such as red lentil penne or cauliflower rotini.
3. Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes contain protein, fiber, carbohydrates, iron, and other nutrients. They’re calorie-dense with little fat and can make you feel full for longer. Beans combine well with homemade corn tortillas or rice to make a complete protein. Additionally, you can use black beans to make sweet treats, such as black bean brownies.
Keep at least 60 pounds (27 kg) of dry beans per person to complete a one-year emergency supply, and try to keep different varieties on hand, including:
- Black beans
- Pinto beans
- Garbanzo beans
- White beans
- Kidney beans
- Butter beans
Dry beans are inexpensive and have a long shelf life. The main drawback is that they take a while to cook. For quick, protein-dense meals, you can incorporate canned beans into your food stores as well, including baked or refried beans.
When storing dry beans, you can keep them in their original polyethylene bags for up to a year or more when stored at cooler temperatures. Extend their shelf life up to 10 years by repackaging them in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers.
4. Powdered Milk and Eggs
Not only is milk a staple ingredient in hundreds of recipes, but it’s also an important food for pregnant or nursing mothers and young children. As such, powdered milk (non-fat, dry) should be included in a one-year emergency food storage supply. Keep at least 16 pounds (7.25 kg) of powdered milk per person.
Dried milk often comes in bags or boxes, but you should repackage it for long-term storage. Vitamins A and D are photosensitive and break down when exposed to sunlight. Additionally, the powder can absorb moisture and odors. Store dried milk in opaque, vacuum-sealed cans with oxygen absorbers to increase its shelf life, prevent vitamin breakdown, and maintain quality.
Like powdered milk, eggs are also a staple ingredient in many recipes, especially baked goods. Unfortunately, raw eggs are non-perishable, so unless you’re raising chickens, you’ll need the powdered version. Keep at least two #10 cans per person of whole, powdered eggs in your one-year emergency food supply.
5. Meat (Freeze-Dried, Dehydrated, and Canned)
Meat, including red meat and white meat, contains protein, B vitamins, zinc, selenium, and other minerals. Fish, such as canned tuna in oil, contains important omega-3 fatty acids.
There are several ways to incorporate meat into your emergency food supply. You can opt for canned chicken, beef, and pork, as well as fish, such as salmon and tuna. There are also spiced meats and other meat-based canned goods, including:
- Potted meat
- Vienna sausages
- Corned beef hash
- Beef stew
Additionally, you’ll want to include some freeze-dried meat as well. Freeze-dried meat takes up much less space than canned goods and can last for a year or more. There are even freeze-dried seasoned meats, including roasted or teriyaki chicken, among other flavors.
Finally, you’ll want to keep some dehydrated meats on hand, such as beef jerky or biltong.
6. Fruits and Vegetables
No diet is complete without fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables provide antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to keep you healthy.
In your emergency food supply, include freeze-dried and dehydrated fruits and veggies. You can snack on them as-is or incorporate them into recipes, such as:
- Meat dishes
For dehydrated fruits, opt for apples, bananas, mangoes, and raisins. You can also use pressure-canning to store jams and preserves.
Potatoes are a must-have, as they’re the most calorie-dense vegetable available. Opt for bulk instant potatoes (potato flakes), with at least 22 pounds (10 kg) per person. You can use them to make mashed potatoes, potato cakes, or extra-fluffy baked goods.
Dried onions are another must-have staple. You can use onion flakes as a substitute for fresh onions in soups, stews, or sauces, or canned French fried onions as a food topping or coating. Keep at least two pounds (1 kg) of dried onions per person.
Additionally, you’ll want to have canned fruits and vegetables on hand, such as:
- Green beans
- Mixed vegetables
- Fruit cocktail
Store at least 24 cans (#10) of fruits and 24 cans (#10) of vegetables per person for a one-year supply.
7. Peanut Butter and Other Nut Butters
Nut butters not only taste great, but they’re calorie-dense and packed with protein and fat. They can be used in sweet or savory dishes, as a binder, or eaten as a snack.
Some nut butters to add to your food storage include:
- Peanut butter
- Almond butter
- Cashew butter
You can also look into “sunbutter,” which is made from sunflower seeds, or dehydrated peanut butter, which has an even longer shelf life.
Keep at least six pounds (3 kg) of nut butters per person.
8. Butter, Oil, and Lard
Oils and other fats are some of the most calorie-dense foods that you can find. They’re a good source of energy and can add flavor to different foods. Additionally, oils and fats are necessary for cooking, and to prevent food from sticking to pots and pans.
You can include almost any type of oil in your food storage, including:
- Vegetable oil
- Canola oil
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Coconut oil
Keep at least 10 quarts (23 liters) of cooking oil per person for a one-year supply. Most cooking oil has a shelf life of up to two years.
Additionally, keep at least three pounds (1.5 kg) of shortening or lard and at least six pounds (3 kg) of shelf-stable butter.
9. Iodized Salt
When considering what foods to store in your emergency supply, salt is probably not high on your list. However, salt is a necessary ingredient — it enhances flavor and preserves food, and table salt provides an essential nutrient: iodine. Not only that, but salt is inexpensive, and it lasts forever.
Keep at least eight pounds (4 kg) of iodized salt per person in your one-year food supply.
10. Sugar and Sweeteners
In the event of economic collapse, sugar could become a source of currency — after all, we need it to survive (and it’s addicting). Additionally, sugar enhances flavor, preserves foods, and, like salt, it lasts forever.
Sugar prevents the body from using protein for energy and provides energy to the muscles, brain, and nervous system. As such, it’s fundamental for your one-year emergency food supply.
You don’t need to invest in only granulated sugar, however. You can also use the following foods as sugar sources:
- High-Fructose corn syrup
Keep at least 60 pounds (27 kg) of sugar per person in your food storage.
11. Herbs, Baking Supplies, and Luxury Goods
The items on this list are important and necessary foods for emergencies. However, sometimes it’s important to implement other, less important foods whenever possible. This not only helps reduce palate fatigue, but these additional ingredients can enhance the flavors of bland meals or even restore a sense of normalcy in dire situations.
Here are some additional foods to consider when emergency food prepping:
- Herbs, spices, and condiments – Herbs, spices, and condiments can completely transform a bland meal, and they’re relatively inexpensive. You can also grow and dry your own herbs, season-permitting.
- Baking supplies – If you expect to bake quite a bit, you’ll need baking soda, baking powder, and yeast (especially for bread making). Yeast, when stored properly, can last up to five years. You’ll need at least two pounds (1 kg) of each ingredient for a one-year supply.
- Additional canned foods – Once you’ve covered the necessities, consider adding more “flavorful” canned and boxed goods to your supply. This allows you to switch things up a bit. Consider ramen noodles, soup mixes, stovetop meals, and canned pastas.
- Instant meals or MREs – These are shelf-stable foods commonly known for their use among service members in the American Armed Forces. These nutritionally-complete meals take up little space and come in several different varieties and flavors.
- Luxury foods – Whenever possible, it’s important to implement some “luxury” foods. These aren’t needed for survival, but they can boost morale and help provide some sense of normalcy when times are tough. Foods like shelf-stable cheese (encased in wax), chocolate bars, canned pudding, freeze-dried ice cream sandwiches, sweet protein bars, coffee, and hot chocolate mix are only a few ideas to consider.
12. Pet Food
Finally, when prepping for a survival situation, don’t forget about your pets. While most bagged dog and cat food doesn’t last longer than a few months, you can invest in canned foods for your one-year emergency food supply. You may also be able to store kibble in vacuum-sealed cans with oxygen absorbers to prolong the shelf life.
Since a pet’s caloric intake depends on their size and health, you’ll have to calculate how much food to store. Take the amount of food that your pet requires per day and multiply it by 365 to determine how much food to store for your beloved companion.
For example, if you feed your dog 10 ounces (283 g) of food per day, you’ll need at least 3,650 ounces, or around 230 pounds (104 kg) of food in your emergency supply.
Don’t forget to store enough water for your pets as well. While your cat or dog may not need a gallon of water per day, it’s still wise to keep at least that much on hand for your furry friend.
For livestock, you’ll need significantly more food. Fortunately, most livestock survives on grains and forage crops.