5½ Easy Tips For Building Your Emergency Food Supply

how to build your food storage supply


A wise man (spoiler: it was Mark Twain) once said, “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.”

We all know the first step in a new direction is the most difficult. It can be scary walking into unfamiliar territory and trying something for the first time. It takes courage and a little discipline, but once that first step has been taken, no matter how small, something in us breaks—in the best way—and we suddenly feel capable and brave and accomplished.

Believe it or not, those initial feelings of fear and worry about doing it wrong, are the sentiments we hear about most when people realize they need to build an emergency food supply. Maybe starting to build your emergency food supply makes it a little too real that something bad could happen around or to your family. And facing that is scary.

But trust us—there is a right and EASY way to gather and build a food supply that could quite possibly save your family from disaster. And we’ve got the simple tips for building an effective two-week food supply (and beyond!) that can decrease your fears and empower you to provide the best emergency food insurance for your family.

Now, all we have to do is take that first step...

5½ Easy Tips For Building Your Emergency Food Supply

As crazy as it might sound, you’re doing part of a step simply by reading this. Preparing your mind for the task ahead is a key component of building your emergency food supply. You have to know a little about what you’re getting into and researching tips for the best way to build your emergency food supply is essential! So BAM—step .5 complete! Super proud of you.

As for the next simple steps for building up your food supply, read on!

Step 1: Make A Plan 

The first thing you really have to do to get the ball rolling is sit down and make a legitimate plan. You can start by writing down a list of staple foods and dishes your family lives on that you’ll want to make sure are part of your food supply if possible. Comfort and a sense of sameness go a long way during an emergency so don’t be afraid to add things like peanut butter and honey or even a fam-favorite candy to the list.

The next step in creating your emergency food supply plan is to write down a possible meal plan spanning at least 14 days. (FEMA strongly recommends a 2-week food supply for every member of your family!) Don’t forget to take these things into account as you design your emergency food plan: just how much food each family member will need, special dietary needs or restrictions, the water necessary to rehydrate food as well as for drinking, recipe notes, and even food for pets!\

This 2-week meal plan doesn’t mean your supply is set in stone from here on out. It’s just a good starting point around which to base your actual emergency food supply. You may find that compromises on specific family-loved meals are worth the returns of ease of preparation, affordability, and long-term storage potential. And that is totally fine!

Step 2: Create Your Budget

Step two in building your emergency food supply is to decide on a budget. 

Just like you manage your weekly or monthly grocery budget, you need to decide how much of your income can regularly be put toward your food storage. Keep in mind that starting small is a good way to go for most people—this doesn’t have to mean sacrificing a massive part of your salary upfront (or ever, if you build your emergency food supply the smart way!).

One option is making sure there is enough money in your food storage budget to add one essential item each time you go to the grocery store. It could be a flat of black beans or a gallon of water—that’s up to you based on your family’s needs.

Another option is to invest in inexpensive ready-made emergency meal buckets upfront so you know the basics are covered for you as you continue to add to your emergency food supply.

The budget part of building an emergency food supply is going to be unique for each individual and family, so don’t be afraid to get creative and find space in your budget for the importance of preparing for the future.

Bonus Tip: Try a family “fast” from fast food for two weeks, knowing that whatever money saved will go toward your emergency food storage fund.

budget for your emergency food supply


Step 3: Start Small

Once you’ve got the plan and the budget established, it’s time to pull the trigger on some actual food storage purchases. The key here is to start small.

Overwhelm is NOT the right path to take when building your emergency food supply. This is a line-upon-line situation, and no one will be benefited by freaking out and giving up before the supply can come to fruition and actually help you in a disaster. (Shocking, we know.)

So, little by little, week by week, you’re going to put one foot in front of the other as you work toward the goal of creating the best emergency food supply for your family. Got some rice this week? Awesome. Planning on some just-add-water pancake mix tomorrow? Excellent.

You’re doing it—you’re working to build an emergency food supply for your family—and that is incredible.

Step 4: Rotate Your Emergency Food Storage

Do not skip this step! This is one of the smartest things you can do in building your food supply as it ensures every ounce of your budget is used wisely and nothing goes to waste while you’re waiting for an emergency to strike.

This means keeping track of best by dates and when bulk packages were opened. It means wisely supplementing your standard grocery runs by bringing in that big jar of peanut butter if it’s going to expire next month and replacing it with a new jar, pushed to the back of the line.

Bonus Tip: This step is also greatly enhanced by giving thanks that your family is getting to use this all-important food supply NOT in emergency circumstances. Yet.

Step 5: Continue Building Your Emergency Food Supply

This step speaks for itself mostly, but we do have a few things of note to mention.

The best emergency food storage is continually and specifically curated for your family’s needs. So as you add to your supply, you’ll also want to keep track of any food allergies or sensitivities that have developed in your family since you started building your emergency food supply. This could mean swapping certain food items out by rotating them into your pantry (so long as they won’t put anyone in danger) or even trading with another family who could benefit from something that no longer works for you.

You should also note that not all food storage options are created equal. You definitely want to build up a mixture of short- and long-term items, but investing in high-quality, long-lasting, nutrient-dense, and great-tasting freeze-dried foods is an option that many people look to for good reason. Most canned foods and other pantry staples are not set-it-and-forget-it food storage solutions. But the right freeze-dried food comes as close as you can get to exactly that while ensuring you always have a solid foundation on which to build the rest of your emergency food supply.

Hibernate Makes Food Storage Simple

Remember that in an emergency, you’ll be dealing with more than enough already. Preparing painstaking meals—no matter how delicious—will likely NOT be how anyone in your family wants to or even can spend their time.

That’s where easy-to-store, easy-to-use, delicious pre-packaged food storage comes into play.

Hibernate’s 2-week food supply and 1-month food supply are extremely popular for all those reasons. Not only are they affordable bases on which to build the rest of your emergency food supply, they’re just-add-water easy and filled with the nutrition your family will need when disaster hits. They’re the stress-free solution to building the best emergency food supply for your family.

With nothing short of a 10-year shelf life, and many of our most popular and high-quality freeze-dried foods lasting over 25 years, Hibernate offers stackable, lightweight, buckets of delicious meals your family can love for literal decades to come. No worrying about constant rotation or heavy cans in case of a move or evacuation. Just the constant battle of trying to keep everyone out of the cheesy rice and vanilla pudding once they’ve had a taste…

Building an ample supply of emergency food is critical for every family. But now that you know where to start, we’re confident you’re going to be way ahead of the pack, come what may.


More On Food Storage: 

Nutritional Benefits Of Dehydrated Food Storage

What Food Never Expires?

The Case For Food Storage