Food Storage Calculator: How much food should I have stored?


Food Storage Calculator

Your pre-made calculator guide to help you plan your food stores, including how much to have from all the necessary food groups. You may decide to invest in a food dehydrator or freeze dryer as well as other food preservation methods to save money in the long run.

There are lots of reasons to store food. Storing food means you are prepared for an emergency but it also means you’ll never run out of something if you need it in a pinch. No matter what your reason for storing food is, you need to understand how much food to store and what categories of food to include.

Below I’ve laid out an easy-to-read table with the amounts of food a single adult will need for 2 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, or a year. This guide has everything you need to get your emergency pantry started on the right foot. 

Should I Freeze Dry My Own Food

This is a question we get a lot now; especially since food prices have started to rise. I personally think owning a freeze dryer is essential today. (If your budget won’t allow that a food dehydrator will still help you preserve food.) Instead of wasting left overs you just freeze dry it and build your food storage up that way.

Plus you can do like I am doing and raise rabbits and quail for meat as well as having chickens for eggs. And so I put that all in the freeze dryer to store real food that we know we will eat. I also have a garden and all our extra vegetables we freeze dry for the same reason. We keep our freeze dryer going 24/7.

Here is a video I did showing myself freeze drying a bunch of raw eggs using my Harvest Right freeze dryer. I go through it step by step and show you how easy it is to freeze dry your own food.

How Much Food Should I Stockpile? 

The Red Cross and U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommend having a minimum of a 3-day supply of food and water for your whole family. FEMA suggests having a two-week supply. 

In the last few years, it seems like there’s a major natural disaster every few months that leave people without electricity for weeks at a time. I would recommend having at least a two-week supply of food and clean water on hand and I would stockpile more than that if you have the storage space. 

How Many Calories do Men and Women Need Each Day?

The average woman needs about 2,000 calories per day and the average man needs 2,500 calories per day. The amounts of food calculated below should be sufficient to meet these dietary goals. Factors that influence how many calories you may need include your weight, height, and activity level. 

If you want to get very precise you can use a calorie counting app like Cronometer to get an average of the number of calories you eat every day. The answer may surprise you but will help you prepare your pantry better. 

How Many Calories do Children Need Each Day?

To store food, you should consider children as anyone seven years or younger. Older than that and you should treat them like an adult in terms of how many calories they need in a day. You may want to overestimate your storage if you have teenagers. 

Children under seven consume around 1,500 calories/day. If you have very young children or may have a baby soon, be sure to store baby formula and pre-made baby foods. 

How Much Water Should I Store Long-Term?

Plan to store at least 1 gallon of water per person per day.

How Were These Numbers Calculated?

The numbers in the table below are calculated based on the CDC and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Home Production and Storage manual. Remember these are baseline numbers and you can adjust them how you see fit. 

You may notice some of the items have the same amount for more than one period of time. For example, mayonnaise is listed as 1 quart for both two weeks and three months. You can adjust these items for your personal taste. For me, I can’t imagine going through more than 2 quarts of mayonnaise in a year since I don’t eat it very often, but if I’m going to buy it, I probably wouldn’t buy less than a quart at a time. 

Grains

With so many folks allergic to wheat these days, it could be a good idea to stock up on gluten-free items. Substitutes for wheat and flour include almond flour, coconut flour, and cassava flour. If you are storing whole wheat, make sure you have a non-electric way to mill it. 

Item2 Week Supply3 Month Supply6 Month Supply1 Year Supply
Wheat9 lbs50 lbs100 lbs200 lbs
Flour2 lbs8 lbs15 lbs30 lbs
Corn Meal2 lbs8 lbs15 lbs30 lbs
Oats2 lbs8 lbs15 lbs30 lbs
Rice3 lbs18 lbs35 lbs70 lbs
Pasta2 lbs8 lbs15 lbs25 lbs
TOTAL GRAINS17 lbs98 lbs195 lbs390 lbs

Fats and Oils

Additional fat and oil items you may want to consider: coconut oil and ghee. Ghee is dairy butter that has had the milk fat taken out, has a long shelf life, and gives your food a buttery taste. 

Item2 Week Supply3 Month Supply6 Month Supply1 Year Supply
Vegetable/Olive Oil1 gal1 gal2 gals3 gals
Shortening1 lb1 lb2 lbs4 lbs
Mayonnaise1 qt1 qt2 qt2 qts
Salad Dressing1 qt1 qt2 qts3 qts
Nut Butter1 lb1 lb2 lbs4 lbs
TOTAL FATS2 lbs7 lbs13 lbs26 lbs

Legumes and Beans

Dry beans and legumes are great sources of protein and fiber. Consider how much work it takes to soak and cook beans when you lay away these items. It may be worth it to buy prepared beans in addition to (or instead of) lots of dry beans. 

Item2 Week Supply3 Month Supply6 Month Supply1 Year Supply
Dry beans2 lbs10 lbs20 lbs30 lbs
Lima beans1 lb2 lbs3 lbs5 lbs
Soybeans1 lb3 lbs5 lbs10 lbs
Split peas1 lb2 lbs2 lbs5 lbs
Lentils1 lb2 lbs3 lbs5 lbs
Dry Soup Mix1 lb2 lbs3 lbs5 lbs
TOTAL LEGUMES7 lbs18 lbs35 lbs60 lbs

Sugars

The total sugars in this table are way under what the average American consumes in a year. An average American will consume 152 pounds of sugar in one year. I don’t advocate for high sugar consumption, but I will say that comfort food in an emergency is highly valuable. Additionally, sugar does add a quick source of energy so if you’re someone with a sweet tooth you may want to store more than listed in this table. 

Item2 Week Supply3 Month Supply6 Month Supply1 Year Supply
Honey1 lb1 lb2 lbs3 lbs
Sugar2 lbs10 lbs20 lbs40 lbs
Brown Sugar1 lb1 lb2 lbs3 lbs
Molasses1 lb1 lb1 lb1 lb
Corn Syrup1 lb1 lb1 lb3 lbs
Jams1 lb1 lb2 lbs3 lbs
Fruit Drink, powered1 lb2 lbs3 lbs6 lbs
Flavored Gelatin1 lb1 lb1 lb1 lb
TOTAL SUGARS9 lbs15 lbs30 lbs60 lbs

Milk and Dairy

See my article on What Foods Can or Cannot be Freeze-Dried to find creative ways to store dried milk and milk alternatives. You can freeze-dry several dairy products (even some cheeses) as well as ice cream to liven up your pantry and give yourself a source of fats. 

Item2 Week Supply3 Month Supply6 Month Supply1 Year Supply
Powdered Milk3 lbs18 lbs36 lbs60 lbs
Evaporated Milk1 can4 cans8 cans12 cans
Other1 lb4 lbs8 lbs13 lbs
Total Dairy4 lbs22 lbs44 lbs75 lbs

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are an essential source of nutrients but are some of the harder items to store long term. Check out my article on 15 Fast and Easy Ways to Preserve Eggplants to get some ideas on how to store vegetables in more creative ways. 

Item2 Week Supply3 Month Supply6 Month Supply1 Year Supply
Canned Fruit and Veggies14 qts80 qts160 qts320 qts
Dried Fruit and Veggies4 lbs23 lbs45 lbs90 lbs
TOTAL FRUIT and VEGGIES14 qts plus 4 lbs80 qts plus 23 lbs160 qts plus 45 lbs320 qts plus 90 lbs

Meat

Meat is an excellent source of protein. Check out my guide on 10 Ways to Store Meat Without a Refrigerator for additional meat storage ideas. 

Item2 Week Supply3 Month Supply6 Month Supply1 Year Supply
Canned/Dried Meat1 lb5 lbs10 lbs20 lbs

Cooking Essentials

Don’t you hate it when you’re about to make bread, only to realize you don’t have baking soda? Don’t let this happen in an emergency. Note that one gallon weighs eight pounds. 

Item2 Week Supply3 Month Supply6 Month Supply1 Year Supply
Baking Powder1 lb1 lb1 lb1 lb
Baking Soda1 lb1lb1 lb1 lb
Yeast1 lb1 lb2 lbs2 lbs
Salt1 lb2 lbs3 lbs5 lbs
Vinegar1 gal1 gal2 gals3 gals
TOTAL12 lbs13 lbs23 lbs34 lbs

Water

Humans can live for several weeks without food, but only a few days without water. Above all else, make sure you have a secure source of water stored up. 

2 Week Supply3 Month Supply6 Month Supply1 Year Supply
Water14 gal129 gal183 gal365 gal
Bleach.5 gal1.5 gal3 gal6 gal

How to Store Water Long-Term

Water storage can quickly take up all your pantry space if you save enough for an entire six months to a year. Water should only be stored in FDA-approved food-grade containers. Don’t be tempted to recycle old milk jugs as these are hard to properly clean and the residue can spoil your water. Likewise, never use a container that previously held something toxic like bleach. 

You can purchase food-grade water containers at camping stores. Another option for long-term water storage is to buy cases of plastic water bottles. 

A more practical option if you live in a climate that supports it would be to have a good water filtering and cleaning system in place in addition to a few weeks’ worths of water.

Safety Tips for Storing Water

  • Replace your water stores every six months
  • Label the water and put the date on the container
  • Don’t store the water in direct sunlight, as this can cause the plastic container to break down.
  • Try to store water somewhere that is between about 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit for maximum freshness. 
  • If using a large barrel to store water never scoop water out with your hands or an unwashed bottle. 

David

Hi! I’m David. For most of my life I have been interested in emergency preparedness. Over the many years things have changed a great deal. From freeze dried food, to LED lanterns, preparing for an emergency has never been easier. The continual research I have done over the years have become the basis for this website. Now it is one of the most trusted sources to learn about emergency preparedness. Read More

Recent Posts