How Much Food Do You Need?

You have probably asked yourself:  Just how much food should I store for my family’s long term storage needs?  There is no single best answer to that question since everyone’s personal situation is different.  Still, it is nice to have a set of guidelines from which to start.

Today I would like to introduce you to The LDS Online Food Storage Calculator.   Using this calculator, you can determine the amount of food your family will need to store away for a given period.  All you need to do is enter the number of adults and children in your family.  Press “Calculate”, and like magic, the recommended amounts by category appear on the screen.

The amounts you will be presented with are for a year – buck heck, that is a lot of food to purchase if you are just starting out.  My suggestion is that you take that amount and divide it 12 to get a monthly amount or by 52 to get a weekly amount.  Why?  I don’t know about you, but for most people, putting together a monthly supply of provisions is far more manageable than looking at the requirements for one year.

So how much food would 2 adults need for 30 days?  Here are results, organized in broad categories:

Grains – wheat, flour cornmeal, oats, rice, pasta60050lbs
Legumes -dried beans, lima beans, soy beans, split peas, lentils, dry soup mix12010lbs
Dairy – dry milk, evaporated milk, other15013lbs
Sugars – honey, sugar, brown sugar, molasses, corn syrup jams, powdered fruit drinks, Jell-O12010lbs
Cooking Essentials – Baking powder, baking soda, yeast5.42lbs
Salt – table salt, sea salt, soy sauce, bouillon101lbs
Fats & Oils -shortening, vegetable oil, mayonnaise, salad dressing, peanut butter262lbs

What should a prepper do?

Someone just getting started on their family preparedness journey should go to the LDS Online Food Calculator, get the annual total, then, as I suggest, divide the individual totals by 52 or 12 or some lesser period such as a month (4.33 weeks).  A spreadsheet will work great for this purpose.

When you are done, save and print out the list and start working toward storing the recommended amounts for that limited period.  You will find the amounts are manageable and achievable and because you are not trying to do it all at once, more affordable than looking at the survival food requirements for a one year period or longer.

What about the experienced prepper who has already stored a large quantity of food for long-term survival purposes?  Use the results of the calculator to assess your inventory and fill in the gaps as needed.  If the inventory looks good, extend the period out a bit and once again begin to fill in the gaps.

The goal – whether you are a newbie prepper or an old hand – is to reduce the daunting task of determining your food storage needs and to give you a flexible, mix and match checklist of what you need along with amounts specific to of your family and the specified period of time.

Tips for using the Online Food Storage Calculator

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you analyze the results of the Food Storage Calculator.

  • There is lots of room for flexibility and substitutions. Be sure to store only those items that you like to eat and know how to use.
  • Make sure you store your precious food in packaging suitable for long-term storage. Remember the three enemies: heat, moisture, and insects.
  • Rotate your stock. When using food in your daily meal planning, use the oldest products first.
  • In addition to the items listed, be sure to include condiments and comfort foods.

Also, as you review the results, keep in mind the calculation for water is for a two week supply only and not the annual period used for the other products.  After all, storing enough water for a year would require your own personal well or a reservoir.  Instead, invest in a decent 55-gallon water barrel, a quality water filter, and some water purification supplies.

And last, be sure read about Common Food Storage Mistakes to learn from my mistakes and food storage mistakes of others.

Doesn’t this all sound neat?  Go ahead, give it a try.


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 Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel:  This “Scout” is the one I own. Using this basic pocket fire-starter, you can get a nice fire going under almost any conditions. This is a small, compact version and is my personal favorite.

iRonsnow Dynamo Emergency Solar Hand Crank Self-Powered AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio, LED Flashlight, Smart Phone Charger & Power Bank: This newly upgraded $25 unit has it all in one portable package.  It can be also be powered four ways:  hand crank, integrated solar panel, Micro USB, or AAA batteries.This is a great value and in my opinion, works just as well as though costing double this amount.


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Updated Nov 9, 2018
Published Aug 29, 2011

3 Responses to “How Much Food Do You Need?”

  1. You mention pepper spray for personal protection. Another effective product is Wasp & Hornet Killer. It will spray 20 to 25 feet. Home Depot ran a sale this summer …. 3/$5.00. (one in the bedroom, and one next to my chair in the family rm and in the living rm.)

  2. Gaye, I am glad you put this up. I get asked all the time how much of the basic’s to store. This way I can just give them your page and they can do the studying themselves. Great post.

  3. I am constantly amazed at how you seem to be able to generate germane and interesting articles on a regular basis. Maybe you should do like Rawles and sell CD’s with all your blog postings on them. I’d buy one.

    I use the Mormon Food Calculator and it has served me well since 1999. I put a lot of things in storage that are extra, just things I like, to add a little variety to the list products as well.


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