By Mike Thayer
You'd be surprised to learn how many households don't have much of a food supply in the pantry. This is typically true for folks that don't like to cook, preferring instead to eat out a lot or order in.
Do you have meals you can put together from your pantry if the power goes out, there's a bad storm or something as simple as an unexpected visit from family or friends?
Every well stocked pantry should contain enough dry and canned goods to feed a family for at least 72 hours, that's three breakfasts, three lunches and three dinners. With that in mind, here's a grocery list of essential pantry items for that power outage, the storm preventing a trip to the store, or some unexpected visitors.
- A box of cereal
- Nonfat dry milk
- Vegetable oil
- One box of Bisquick
- A can of fruit
- A jar of jam/jelly
- Instant oatmeal
- Instant potatoes
- A packet of gravy mix
- 2 or 3 cans of soup
- A can of tuna
- A box of pasta
- A bag of white rice
- Two cans of chicken
- A can of tomato paste
- Three cans of vegetables
- A can/box of juice
- A bag of bread
- Peanut butter
If you're a saavy shopper, that list of 20 items can be purchased for about $30 - $35. That's three days worth of food for a family of four, for the cost of one meal at a McDonald's or Burger King. A single person can purchase a three-day supply of food for about $14, including bottled water.
Here's what you can do with that grocery list:
|Item||Day 1||Day 2||Day 3|
|3 Lunches||Peanut Butter/jelly Sandwiches||Soup||Tuna sandwiches|
|Canned Chicken||Tomato Paste||Canned Chicken|
|Canned Vegetable||Canned Vegetable||Gravy mix|
And here's the beauty of this list - believe it or not you won't consume it all (keep portions small in an emergency). You'll have leftover Bisquick, jam, oatmeal, peanut butter, dry milk... It's something you can build on. The other great thing about building a food reserve in your pantry is you'll save money down the road. Once you build up a reserve to cover a 72 hour period, it's easier to stock up for a week's supply, then a month..... You'll be fighting food inflation (prices are always rising in case you haven't noticed) and your grocery list can become more flexible. There's no reason NOT to do it, even if you're not much of a cook.
So the next time you grocery shop, don't use the "What sounds good for dinner?" mentality, use the mindset of building your pantry for another 72 hour period in addition to your regular grocery shopping. Don't think menu item like lasagna, think in terms of I need to buy some kind of grain, some kind of bean, some kind of oil, a sugar, a spice. Mix things up a little, buy some dried beans, a small bag of brown rice, a jar of honey, perhaps some dried soup mixes. Down the road, you'll find that your pantry will hold a range of variety for you, making menu planning so much easier and not nearly as hard to shop for.
And something else you may not want to overlook, bottled water. Floods, power outages and other events can put a temporary stop on your access to tap water. Always have some bottled water on hand. A family of four needs about 12 gallons for a 72 hour period. That figure includes water use not just for cooking and drinking, but the little things too like brushing your teeth, some washing/cleansing or perhaps medicinal use.
It's easy to start building a food reserve!