Food & Water 1.0 – the Basics

April 6, 2012 4:54 pm

Food & Water 1.0 – the Basics

Whether it is a natural disaster, a terrorist event or a financial collapse of society we know it is just a matter of time! Any one of these events will trigger consequences that threaten our relatively comfortable way of life. So how do we deal with these issues and potential chaos that follows?

The Basics

  • How much water will we need?
  • How do we replenish our supplies?
  • How much food is enough?
  • How many calories, carbohydrates, protein, fat are necessary?
  • How much space do I need?
  • How much can I carry with me if I am on the go?
  • What types of food supplies work for me?

Begin with a Survival Mindset

At Survival Operations we begin with a threat analysis which guides us through our planning. Then it is time to ‘go to work’ to prepare to implement our plan. Regardless of the event that causes the disruption the result will be civil unrest and the collapse of our society in various degrees for varied periods of time.

We all have some basic needs: shelter, water, food, weapons, medical supplies and each of us can add a few more priority items that relate to our individual lifestyle.

We address shelter, weapons and medical supplies in other articles. Refer to the adjacent tabs. This white paper will deal with the basics of water and food.

However we evaluate our situation we know there is always the impact of time. We refer to this as IMPACT 2222 – 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 years. This is never more critical when it comes to our expendable supplies of water and food. Our preparations for 2 days are distinctly different than for 2 months or longer.


When faced with a survival situation clean, drinkable, potable water is the most important consideration. People can live without food, shelter or other ‘necessities’ but without water we will perish in days. Even one day without water will impact our ability to think, perform and survive.                When our body and in particularly our brain is dehydrated, we become incapacitated and delusional.

FEMA recommends we have one gallon per person, per day. That is ideal, if necessary we could survive 5 -10 days with no water at 50 degrees Fahrenheit, however, you can only survive 1 – 2 days in the desert heat. Rationally you need 1 – 2 quarts a day to maintain good health and some of this may be incorporated with food preparation. Additional water for cleanliness and hygiene is also required.

Using the 2 quarts per day, per person; you can figure a family of 4 will require 56 quarts or 14 gallons per week this weighs 120 lbs. For one month you require 56 gallons, almost 500 lbs. (7.48 Gal. = 1 CF; 1 CF = 62.4 lbs.) and you never have too much water.

Consider that you must store the water and/or carry it for days. Fortunately, water is a renewable resource under certain conditions and we can find water in many locations in our home or naturally in the ground or from rain. We address the water sources and purification in another article.


Food is not a renewable resource in early stages. We store it, we eat it; it is gone. In time, we can replenish our food stock from seeds but that will take time and it takes considerable effort to maintain a garden or farm to properly nourish a family.

So what foods do we need? There are lists of food supplies and storage techniques all over the internet. The Mormon faith believes in storing food for the family sufficient for one year. Their preparations are sound and reliable if this suits your program. There are lists of food supplies, dehydrated foods, buckets of grains, etc. for each family’s needs.

We have provided a link to our list for your evaluation. We have noted numerous times in our articles it is not our intent to tell you what to do in every situation. First, everyone deals with each situation differently and there are more situations than we could ever define. It is our goal to help you understand the issues and help you prepare your list under your terms that suits each of your situations and as IMPACT 2222 influences your family’s preparedness.

Food Basic Facts

In a survival situation will be dealing with stress and complex issues. We each need to be at our best, however, we have limited availability of basic necessities. The quantities of various foods and their nutritional value are important to consider. 

Nutritionally; calories, carbohydrates, fats and proteins are primary elements along with sodium, potassium, and fiber. We are not nutritionists and each person by virtue of age, digestive traits has their own preferences. But think about a ‘balanced’ diet that is varied and easy to maintain.


  • Men normally require 2500 calories per day with 1500 minimun
  • Women normally require 2000 calories per day with 1200 minimum
  • Calorie requirements decrease with age, increase with activity, weight
  • A balanced diet consists of Carbohydrates 40%, Protein 30%, Fat 30%

If you go below 1200 calories per day you will be mentally and physically impacted. On the other hand, with no food for 6 – 10 days you can survive with discomfort. Hunger pains will dissipate after 2 – 3 days but it is not going to be a happy time. If you have just a few sugar snacks and some fats, energy bars you can survive 30 days or more. Getting past the mental anguish is an issue and you must have water daily. In these cases we recommend you eat one meal a day with two planned snacks. Always save expendable supplies for future day’s consumption. Ration your supplies; never eat the last 10%! This is NOT our food preparation plan.

Our Recommendations

We probably all can manage 2 – 3 days with the foods we have in our cabinets or just some water. FEMA recommends you maintain 3 days of non perishable foods in your emergency plan.

We suggest you initially set aside a minimum of 2 weeks of food for emergencies. Just look in your pantry and fill in with a few items. Many federal agencies recommend you maintain a 10 day supply. Probably given what we have on hand and a strict, rationing plan we can still survive 2 weeks if we also have water.

Each of these programs presumes you have some non perishable foods and the ability to preparing them for your family. These issues are addressed in other articles

When we go beyond 2 weeks and approach 2 months food issues start to get interesting. We suggest you plan for this period by expanding what you normally have in your family menu. This takes some planning based upon the number of people unique dietary issues and your overall situation as it will develop. Don’t forget the children. They have less understanding and no patience; some extra candy bars, snacks and treats will make your life and their life better.

General Shopping List

  • - With a little preparation we can live more comfortably. We recommend you maintain a meaningful supply of the following based upon your family’s situation:
  • - Canned foods, soups, meats, sauces, vegetables, beans, fruits  – stuff easy to eat, can opener required
  • - Vacuum dry packed meals, rice, potatoes, soups – just add heated water
  • - Pasta, rice, flour – added to canned items makes a good meal
  • - Cereal, oatmeal granola, powdered milk – breakfast or dinner
  • - Vegetable oil, vinegar, bouillon cubes, spices, salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard, your favorite spices
  • - Peanut butter, jelly, syrups, dried fruits, nuts, crackers – mid day meal
  • - Powdered drink mixes, coffee, tea – makes water interesting
  • - Candy, all kinds, hard candy, chocolate, fruit bars, snacks – a delicacy
  • - Energy bars, vitamin, supplements – fills in the nutritional side
  • - Food service items, cooking utensils, soap, stove, fuel, matches, etc.

Think about your food plan, nutrition is important but splurge with special snacks, etc. to improve ‘daily life’. Note you will be living on less water, different foods, odd schedules; these will affect your digestive system so buy some laxatives softeners or similar remedies.

Go shopping at your local food store or membership discount store and stock up. You will find many other items that fit these categories. Go with a list but buy what you know you will eat. In ‘good times’ the shelves are stocked with a wonderful variety. With modern packaging and food preparation you will have ‘normal’ foods that will last you 2 months or more.

If you prepare your supplies with the foods and accessories you use in your everyday life, with some exceptions, you will have a stockpile and the foods will be rotated 3 – 4 times a year. So there are no long term storage issues. You may need to locate a back up pantry in your retreat but it’s no big deal and it sure offers piece of mind.

The Emergency List

We also suggest you prepare a list of food supplies you can purchase to supplement your pantry stocked supplies. Before the possibility of a threat becoming critical take the initiative, if possible, increase your supplies BEFORE the hordes hit the stores. If you purchase more of the same foods you use every day, you can find them at your local market on sale and you will have them ‘just in case’. This supplemental purchase is good insurance. The foods will not go to waste; you just did some early shopping. If and when the threat materializes you will have 4 – 6 months or more of supplies before you have to invade you long term supplies.

If you use your short term food supplies in 4 weeks you will be stressed, unhappy and possibly hungry.. How much would you have given to have an additional few weeks food supplies on hand? The key is to be conscious of the threat conditions. Buy early and avoid the chaos. Buy earlier than others would buy – before the hording begins.

Long Term Food Supplies

You may also consider long term food storage. There are many quality suppliers of dehydrated and freeze dried foods prepared for long term storage. These food supplies can be purchased in cans or buckets in volume and can be stored for 7 – 25+ years. You will need to research and try various alternatives. Taste, texture and cost will influence your decision.

By example, a 1 year supply for 1 person with 2000 calories per day may include 168 #10 cans in 28 cases. Together they weigh 525 lbs, require 28 cubic feet of storage space and costs approximately $3000. Long term food supplies are an important consideration for your long range plan. We review and evaluate many food options in related articles.

Stay or Go! – How much can you store or carry?

Whether we planning to stay at home or get out of town food supplies are a factor. Food and water are heavy and take up space. When added to clothes, other supplies, weapons, ammunition, medical supplies, flashlights, your decisions require thought. Plan ahead. What’s your plan for dealing with the various risks you will encounter?

As you exceed the 2 month period food issues become more critical. There are many alternatives to consider and solutions are readily available. It is all your choice. Whether you stay in your home or get out of town; whether you live in a rural retreat, a suburban home or an urban apartment you have options.

When preparing for the longer term you should also consider long term storage food supplies along with gardening, livestock, hunting, etc.

You may refer to our related article at Supplies Preparations, Food & Water 2.0 or check our expanded list of food supplies and preparations on Survival Operations links.

Survival Operations: preparation & operational security for threatening times.

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Copyright 2012, All Rights Reserved.