Building a Survival Food Supply – Getting Started


Getting started with food storage can be a daunting experience. There is so much conflicting information out there about what to store, how to store it and how long it will store, that it’s no wonder most new preppers feel overwhelmed when they first start out building up a survival food supply. This is a great guide for beginners just getting into food storage that will give you step-by-step instructions on how to put away a ton of food and be prepared for the next big disaster.

This list is not going to identify or list any foods for extended, long-term storage. These items typically have a shelf life of a few years. Although there is a place for highly long-term food storage, this article will identify and explain how to put away foods you already eat, are easy to prepare and can be acquired for very little investment.


For long term storage, it’s hard to beat a 20 pound bag of rice. Ii is one of the foundations of food storage and is very inexpensive and easy to store. Brown rice will go bad quicker than white rice but has more nutritional value than white. A meal of stir-fried canned chicken or tuna, rice and canned vegetables is a perfect survival meal, it’s easy to store and costs just a few dollars for enough to feed the whole family.


As the saying goes: “Beans, Bullets and Band-Aids”. Dried or canned beans are a great source of protein and complex carbohydrates. Like rice, they are a great side item to go with any survival meal. Always make sure to soak dried beans overnight. If you want to avoid the long prep time of dried beans, shoot for the canned variety of pinto, kidney and black beans.

Canned Vegetables

You should be eating vegetables at every meal, especially in a disaster situation. Vegetables ease digestion (which can be crucial in a disaster scenario). Canned veggies are also a great bugout food as most can be eaten without heating, or can be heated directly in the can with a small fire or survival stove.

Canned Fruit

In a disaster situation, anything that can satisfy a sweet tooth is going to be a welcome luxury. Fruits are an important part of your survival food supply for more than just creature comforts. If you have children, you should definitely have canned fruits in your preps. There is nothing quite like a sweet treat to calm down a scared child.

Canned Meats

One of the main staples of any disaster pantry, canned meat is a critical part of your survival food supply. Cans of tuna, chicken, beef or sausages (or the infamous SPAM) can be turned into delicious meals when added to a basic starch like beans or rice and a canned veggie. Canned meats are typically fully cooked as well, so in a bugout situation it makes a great quick meal. To reduce weight, try out the many varieties of meats that now come in the sealed pouches. They are similar in price to canned meats, have the same long shelf life and weigh about 1/3 of a can.

Peanut Butter

Pound for pound, peanut butter has more protein and fat than a ribeye steak and has a practically unlimited shelf life when stored correctly. As far as portability, peanut butter is about as easy as you’re going to find. There’s no cooking involved and a few spoonful’s has enough calories for a small meal in and of itself.


This is no-brainer prep. Store salt. Lots of it. Salt is miracle prep. It can help with storing meat and making your meals taste better. Salt is also necessary for our bodies to survive.

Pasta and pasta sauce

Pasta is very high in calories, which in a disaster scenario, is very important. A pot of boiling water is all you need to make a very filling pasta meal.

Coffee and Tea 

Over 80% of the country lives on caffeine. A SHTF disaster is NOT the time to experiment with caffeine withdrawal! Store your coffee or teas in sealable bags, and to extend their shelf, life, seal them with a vacuum sealer.

As you continue to add to your survival food supply, more and more recipe ideas will come to you. Write these down and keep them with your preps. In a disaster scenario, there will be much more important issue to worry about than coming up with a recipe for your canned veggies and meats. Now get out there and start storing food today!



  1. Rhonda

    Very nice start to food storage. Thank you!
    Will you share ways to store these items in future posts?
    Honestly, I only ‘store’ food to take advantage of the best sales so we are paying the least for our groceries. I need to do more canning, of meats, especially in order to be truly prepared.

  2. Cheryl

    What is the best way to store large amounts of salt?

    1. Ready4ItAll

      Hi Cheryl, in our opinion, the best way to store salt for long term is in sealed mylar bags inside of a 5 gal. bucket. Here’s a link to a good discussion about this over at the Survival Podcast forums. http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=33947.0

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