This past summer I worked hard to get our 3 day emergency items together for our family. One of the things we needed planned out was food. I have small children who are unable to cook for themselves and probably won't understand what's really going on in an emergency. They may wonder why we can't just go home and have a regular meal. And if they don't like what I give them they probably just won't eat it. So I decided that I needed to put together food for the whole family that everyone would eat. I planned out our meals and have it all in a large box with a portable stove and cooking items/tools. So if we ever have to evacuate I just need to grab this box (and our adult 72 hour backpack, our kids' backpacks, and emergency binder) and we are set.
Let me note here that there is still food and water in each of the backpacks. The food in the backpacks are items that each of the children can eat on their own and does not require cooking.
I created a document to help me plan my meals and I have made it available for you too! I love the visual and everything I need is right in front of me. I used this to gather everything I needed for our whole family but you could use this for each bug out bag as well. So let me show you how this works.
- Print out your blank worksheet (This is a PDF document on Google Drive.)
- fill in the meals you plan to have
- fill in the ingredients (including water) for each meal
- add snacks to your list (include comfort food)
- calculate the amount of water you need for drinking, cooking, and washing
- decide and gather the items you need for cooking/eating
- and most importantly, GATHER ALL ITEMS and place in one container (or your bug out back if this is for one person)
When I planned out our food I used mainly THRIVE food items because my family likes this food and is familiar with it. Plus, the shelf life is much longer than other foods I looked at and it is healthier than other choices available. The THRIVE Express items I loved because they are just add water meals, cook in minutes, and are really good. My family likes oatmeal for breakfast so I got a few pantry cans of quick oats, brown sugar, and instant milk. For drinks I have juice and hot cocoa. Snacks are some of our favorite Freeze Dried Fruits and a few more longer lasting items from the grocery store.
- Store food that has a long shelf life so you don't have to rotate the food every few months.
- Foil is has so many uses in outdoor or indoor cooking. Just grab some and throw it in the box whether you plan to use it or not. You might need it to place under your stove so you don't start a fire where you shouldn't, to create packets to cook food in, to eat out of, to store food in, etc.
- Water for washing does not have to be the same quality of water that you would drink. You can use empty milk gallon containers to store water to be used for cleaning purposes. You do NOT want to drink this water because eventually this container will leach chemicals into the water but it is fine for washing. This is a cheap container and easy to carry. Mark the container so you know it is not for drinking.
- Water for drinking and cooking should be stored in proper containers and rotated at least once a year. You can get water bottles from the grocery store or larger water storage containers like these: the water brick, 5 gallon water container, H2O Reserve, etc.
- Make sure you include some comfort foods. I included hard candy (lasts long), popping corn (you can pop it in foil packets), and hot chocolate. We all need something comforting when life is unsettled.
- Check serving sizes and make sure you have enough for everyone!