Food is something that you cannot live without, and just like about any other basic survival topic a whole bunch of books are being written about it, what and how to store, prepare etc.
While I am not going to write book about food, I will mention few basic things that you need to consider, based on my SHTF experience.
Have What You Like to Eat?
Yes, it make sense to store food that you kinda like to eat. But on the other hand if you hate canned tuna, for example, and there is sudden huge discount of canned tuna why not buy it and store it, you can trade it, or simply (trust me) you will eat it if you have to.
Do not miss a great deal just because you do not like some food (or you think you do not like it)
Other point here is that SHTF is stress for your body (and mind), huge stress.
Your body will need food that is balanced and good (healthy) for you more then ever. So if you have wrong eating habits, eat too much unhealthy food, maybe it is about time to change your habits, learn some stuff, start to eat good food, and start to store it.
When SHTF you will need your maximum strength, and since you ‘are what you eat’ you can conclude that stuff in your pantry will have a big role in how tough you are going to be when SHTF.
It is matter of being practical, or having common sense (again).
You are storing food for SHTF, so it make sense to think about few things that food needs to “cover”:
1. It needs to be in amounts big enough to cover your or your family needs over a certain period of time, so do some calculations in order to have clear picture what amount of food will get you through how long a period of time
2. Needs to be packaged in a way that gives you options to move it quickly or hide it in different places (small packaging, cans, vacuum sealed, MREs, sealed buckets, small packages of sugar,and similar packaging is preferable), that also gives you less chances of spoiling whole storage if something goes wrong (water, infestation etc.)
3. Preparation of the stored food preferably needs to be as simple as possible, not time consuming, and need to have as little impact as possible on your other resources (for example if you store food that needs a lot of time to be prepared and lot of wood to burn in order to make it ready for eating you are doing something wrong). MRE’s are a good example of foods that require ‘minimum’ preparation.
In lot of cases you will have just enough time to eat something quickly, not to spend a couple of hours to make complicated meals.
Yes and no. If you are preparing on a budget then forget about fancy items, stuff like junk food items, useless candy stuff and similar.
On the other hand if you covered your basics really good then why not. Have things that you can use for trade, because in any situation there are always going to be people with extra money (or resources) who will want to spend it on “fancy” things.
Also think about items that may be kind of “comfort food” for you and have some of that stored too. There will be days when piece of food like that will make a huge difference for you.
I just want to be clear, make sure you have all of the ‘basics’ well covered before you worry about adding ‘fancy’ items to your food supplies.
“It Is All In Your Head”
But still, do not forget about mental aspect of everything.
Here is one small memory from the war, from the first period of “adapting” to it, it is not a pleasant memory, but I cannot erase it, let s try to use it here in order to make my point more understandable for you:
I was visiting my buddy, his father had broken ribs as a result of being partially buried under the rubble after shell hit house.
After checking his ribs, and giving some advice, they offered me meal, and of course I took it.
Me and my buddy went out at the yard with two bowls of macaroni, we sit down in pitch dark with our backs to the house wall and we ate and look at the city with sporadic explosions and fires in it.
At the moment we had Czech 22 sniper rifle so we were trying to see something in dark, hopeless, but we simply were eating in the dark, chatting, scoping… some kind of weird SHTF break I guess.
It was hot summer weather, and when you close eyes and “catch” break between explosions and gunfire you could almost imagine barbecue and beer.
And then I felt something weird in my mouth, I was paralyzed for a second, then I moved to the corner of the yard in order not be visible when I lit my lighter, and I checked what exactly is in the bowl.
Bowl was almost empty, some macaroni were left there in water, but also together with that there were bunch of worms floating there.
I checked again, yes-bunch of small grey worms, was not sure but I could swear that some of them was still alive.
I felt immediate urge to throw up. I close my eyes and remembered that I did not eat whole day, that macaroni was my first and only meal that day, and I started to repeat to my self: “do not throw up, do not throw up, I need that full stomach, do not throw up…”
And in next second I throw up everything.
I walk to my friend and ask him “what the f… you gave me to eat, it is full of worms”?
He answered me:” I know man, all what I have is infested with it, it is like that for weeks, I do not mind, and I thought you not gonna notice it in a dark”
I was angry, for a moment, I felt urge to shoot him in the face, then I was angry at myself because I did not check the food.
And then minute later I was angry because I saw worms, I checked it, and now my stomach is empty.
Biggest “highlight” was that my stomach is empty.
It was in the let’s say “adapting” period of SHTF.
Later, I have learned to eat what was available. Expired food, infested food, raw food, weird food.
Over the time you simply want to fill your stomach with something, hunger gets into your pores somehow and you do not mind for some things.
Often I would intentionally go into the dark with my bowl, just not to check too much is there anything else inside.
I assure you, as the situation deteriorate, you will eat lot of stuff that you would not usually eat.