Food is one of the most important things you should plan for when preparing for emergencies.


Three types of food should be acquired:


First: Emergency Evacuation Food. This is food that will be stored with your Emergency Evacuation Bag (72-Hour Kit, Bug-Out Bag). It should be enough for 3-5 days or longer. This food is the variety that is High Calorie, easily stored and carried, easy or no preparation needed and long shelf life food (MRE’s, Backpacking Freeze Dried Meals, Heater Meals, etc…).


Second: 90-Day Food Supply. This should be food that does not need refrigeration. Ideally, it should require no or little preparation either. It should be food that you typically eat so it can be easily rotated. Food that needs no refrigeration will last longer when the power is out. Food that requires no preparation does not require cooking fuel or supplies when they are not available. Your 90-Day Food Supply could include: Canned Spaghetti or Ravioli, Pop Tarts, Granola Bars, Canned Chili, etc… If you include some simple cooking methods and fuel, a few meals requiring basic cooking might also be added.


Third: Long-Term Food Supply The third type of food storage is your longer food storage or what we have often called the “One Year Supply”. This food is not designed to be glamorous but rather just enough to keep you alive. It is mostly long shelf life foods like wheat, white rice and pinto beans. These foods will provide you with complete proteins and allow you to stay alive. After you store your life sustaining basics, you can consider adding variety by adding canned or freeze dried meats, fruits and vegetables.


Why a 90-Day Food Supply?


Imagine a worst case scenario where your family is quarantined in your home with no utilities for up to 3 months. What will you eat? The first 2-3 days could include food from your refrigerator or freezer before it starts to spoil. After that time, you will need to rely on your nonperishable food storage.  Food that fits in the category of your long-term food supply, such as whole grains and beans, cannot be eaten without considerable preparation. This type of food requires a lot of water, cooking fuel and time to make it ready to eat. When utilities are down, or conditions are not ideal, (imagine yourself sitting on your roof waiting for flood waters to subside) cooking your food may be very difficult. Foods that you can eat right out of a can would be very important to you in such a scenario. Cooking does not need to be ruled out however, with some foresight, you can plan several meals that require simple heating or cooking measures by preparing the needed fuel and resources to make your 90 days worth of meals, even when the utilities are down.


Cooking Your 90-Day Food Supply


If you decide to include meals in your 90-Day Food Supply that require some  level of heating or cooking, keep it simple. Plan on meals that are easy to cook and don’t require a lot of fuel. Meals that can be cooked by boiling water or “one-pot” meals are good choices. Many methods of cooking are possible when the power is out if you plan ahead. The least expensive is firewood if you have the means to collect it for free in your area. If you plan to purchase your fuel, charcoal is the cheapest. Propane and Kerosene are good fuel options because of their long shelf-life and alcohol and butane are good alternatives when you must cook indoors. Efficient cooking methods such as Rocket Stoves, Volcano Stoves and Wonderboxes can make your fuel last longer. If you live in an area with plenty of sunlight, a solar oven can provide you free cooking energy on any sunny day. See more information about Cooking without Electricity at


Buying Your 90-Day Food Supply


When buying food storage or anything else preparedness related, use you head. Just like any other expense, don’t impulse buy and certainly don’t go into debt to buy your food storage. Plan out your meals > ingredients > shopping list ahead of time so you can make smart, money saving choices. Buy items when they go on sale or when you have coupons for them. If you have limited funds to invest in preparedness, buy a few extra cans of food each time you go to the grocery store and slowly build your storage until you reach your goal. If you haven’t allocated a set amount of funds to go towards preparedness each month, do it today!


Storing and Rotating Your 90-Day Food Supply


Having a 90-Day Food Supply is more than just making a shopping list, buying the food and sticking it in your pantry. When we started buying our 90-Day Food Supply, we added it to the kitchen pantry with the rest of our food. The problem was that we were using it and not replacing it. Some people make a spreadsheet to keep track of what they use so they can replace it. But, when all the food is stored together, it’s hard to tell if the tomato sauce you are using is from your everyday use or your 90-day Food Supply. It might be a good idea to separate the 90-Day Food Supply from your other food so it is easier to know when you need to replace something. This can be done by separating it by shelves or separating it into a different pantry or closet. Remember that many items in your 90-Day Food Supply has a relatively short shelf life so, replace it periodically and add the older product to your everyday food supply.


Planning Your 90-Day Food Supply


Meal selection is a critical component in planning out you meals for 90 days. Keep your meals simple. To help you do this, remember the power outage and being stuck on a roof waiting for flood waters to subside scenarios to gauge whether you could prepare the selected meal in those circumstances. Remember that the menu items you have included in your Long-Term Food Supply can supplement your 90-Day menus if conditions are right for you to do so. You might be able to add fresh bread to your meals some days in that situation. But, don’t rely on it. 90 days worth of meals include 90 Breakfasts, Lunches and Dinners. There is no reason to not plan 3 meals a day. You can also include snacks and desserts. Three meals plus snacks and treats are important because in an emergency you may be working much harder than you normally do and need the additional calories. Also, food is comforting and helps promote rational thought, both of which can be vital in an emergency, especially when children are concerned. I recommend planning out a week’s worth of meals, listing out the ingredients to make these meals and multiply that list times 13 to get your 90-Day Food Supply shopping list. Just as easily, you could plan out 9 days and multiply it times 10 or 10 days x 9 or 30 days worth of meals times 3. I do believe that 7 days gives you plenty of variety while maximizing the use of foods you normally eat which facilitates food rotation. Don’t forget to practice making these meals so you can make sure the quantity is sufficient to feed your family and the supplies met your cooking and serving needs.

90-Day Food Supply Planning Guide