I’m certainly no stranger to dehydrated and freeze dried field rations. As a United States Marine, I lived on Meals Ready To Eat (MRE) for weeks at a time. So I understand the need for wise food storage.
The value of these MRE meals were that they provided a heavy dose of calories with very little, if any, preparation time required. When time allotted, we would use heat tabs to warm up our meals in order to make them more comforting. But regardless of how much tabasco sauce, salt, or pepper that we added to these MRE’s, the outcome was usually the same…the taste was horrible and our digestive system paid one hell of a price!
The fact that these meals could be stored almost indefinitely made them ideal for us Grunts (Infantry Marines.) However, the ingredients and preservatives that these MRE’s contained were less than desirable… To say the least.
MSG, super high sodium content and unpronounceable ingredients used as preservatives were all contained in this dark brown MRE plastic bag. I thought of these meals as more of a chemistry experiment than actual food. The appearance and texture of these MRE’s would make you think twice about feeding them to your pet. But it’s what we had so…it was what we ate.
I finished my tour as an active duty Marine and realized that certain events in the world just didn’t make sense to me, so I decide to step-up my preparedness game to be ready if a disaster were to occur. I was able to address my water, security and other key needs. But when it came to food… I was not satisfied with what I had stored away up until that point.
Wise Food Storage
I had enough experience to realize that nutrition is key in any crisis. If I wanted to perform at my best during any emergency, I needed to maintain my health and energy levels with proper nutrition. I was also aware of how a tasty meal can raise the morale levels for both me and my family. When SHTF, we need all the help that we can get to stay motivated.
I knew that I had to find a real solution for my long term food storage needs.
I decided to investigate the available options for long term wise food storage. To my surprise… Things had drastically changed since my days in the Marines and… for the better!
Due to the increase in number of people focusing on preparedness and emergency management, many companies decided to enter the market with their emergency food rations. I began purchasing samples from multiple companies and was extremely pleased with what I was reading and tasting!
Where the hell were these meals a couple of decades ago when I could have really used them as a young Marine?!
I was able to gather up some viable information that I want to share with you on why these long term storage meals may be a great option for both you and your family during a crisis.
So Let’s Get Started…
Long Shelf Life:
Most of the long term food storage meals have a shelf life of at least 25 years! I want to make sure that every dime spent on preparedness is justified. Stocking up on emergency food rations is a no-brainer. All that I needed to do was to purchase a bit each month, store it away, and I was good!
Knowing that my food needs were addressed for my family instantly put me at ease.
There is no need to rotate your goods like other perishables. With this type of long term food storage capability, you can even store extra food that can be used as currency and bartering during emergency scenarios.
Can Be Used For On The Go Meals:
My primary purpose for long term food storage is certainly geared towards emergency situations. But with the options that are available to us these days, they have become a great source of on the go meals for me. I enjoy spending time on the trail and in the field, and I keep a few servings of my favorite dehydrated and freeze dried meals in my pack.
If I’m out in the field for a couple of days training clients or reviewing some new gear, I do not need to worry about addressing food needs. In addition, if the fish aren’t biting, I know that I have backup food in my pack.
I may bring along some vegetables, nuts and fruits to complement the dehydrated meals, but I do not need to focus on a menu, which allows me to concentrate on the mission at hand.
Convenient To Prepare:
The majority of these long term food storage meals are dehydrated or freeze dried. So all that I really need to do is to boil some water, add in my meal, stir and eat.
Yes, it really is that simple!
Many of these meals do not require boiling water. You can just add room temperature water to various fruits, cereals and other snacks in order to prepare your meal. This makes the long term storage meals extremely convenient.
When we are in the middle of an emergency scenario, there will be so many things that need to be addressed, and our stress level will be through the roof! It is comforting to know that preparing a meal for me and my loved ones will, most-likely, be the easiest part of my day.
In a crisis, we need to keep things as easy as possible. The simple process for preparing these stored meals make them a truly viable option for your emergency food needs.
These Meals Taste Great:
Going back to my U.S. Marine days… Our MRE’s tasted horrible! They all had different names but the general taste and consistency were the same. BLAND became a 4-letter word to us while we were in the field. Most of our meals consisted of hot sauce, ketchup, mustard or any other condiment that we could get our hands on. This certainly helped to mask the taste of these awful meals.
Fortunately, the long term storage meals available today are tasty; Some are outright delicious! I look forward to my chow break while I am on the trail or even at basecamp. Simple preparation is one thing, but if the food tastes like crap… Who really cares how simple it is to prepare?
I mentioned earlier about how our group meals correlate with morale. With the choices available today, you and your group can look forward to a few daily positives with each meal that is served. Never underestimate the value of a tasty meal in an emergency situation. It may be the only thing that you and your family have to add a bit of sanity to an otherwise horrible situation.
These Meals Are Nutritious:
We are now aware that these meals are convenient and tasty but can they provide the right amount of nutrition required in a SHTF scenario?
Our immune system is going to be taxed to the max in an emergency. Our stress and cortisol levels will be high and we probably won’t be sleeping too well. In order to help our chances of remaining fit to perform and do work, we need to intake as much quality nutrition as possible.
Keeping that in mind… I teach my NTC Members to follow certain principles when it comes to food and nutrition.
One of those principles is to “Read The Ingredients.”
On each food item in the U.S. there is a USDA nutrition label. That label lists the ingredients contained in the package in order (most of to less of.) If there is an ingredient that you need a Master’s Degree in Chemistry in order to decipher and pronounce, than I would bet that it probably won’t do your body much good.
Luckily, there are a few good nutritional choices when it comes to long term food storage options. Now, I’m aware that we won’t be as picky when the SHTF situation is upon us. But just like everything else that we focus on, preparing now is the key. By adding as much clean food to your storage as possible, you will be well equipped once the emergency actually occurs.
Stay away from fillers, preservatives, GMO, MSG and other far from All-Natural ingredients. Make sure that your long-term storage food is grown and prepared in the U.S.A. The cleaner the food that you consume, the easier that your body can utilize and assimilate the nutrition.
The fact that most of these long term food storage meals are dehydrated, makes them relatively lightweight. This works well for me if I encounter a Bugging-Out On Foot scenario. This also adds to my reasoning for utilizing these meals while I’m in the field and on the trail. As long as I have access to water, I am good to go.
In the past I would lug heavy canned goods and other foods that would add a great deal of weight to my survival kit. In addition, I would also need extra mess gear to prepare these meals. With the new food options available to us, I can carry multiple servings of tasty and nutritious meals without, literally, breaking my back.
Easy To Store:
Long Term Food Storage meals do not need any refrigeration. You can basically place them in a water tight container and just forget about them. You want to keep them away from extreme temperatures but other than that, there is not much concern when it comes to storage.
Since the meals are mainly dehydrated, they pack really well and take up much less shelf space. If you are limited on space the same way that I am, then this is certainly a great plus! I have stored gear and goods all over my home. My wife is all in favor of preparedness as long as I stop taking up more living space.
I do get carried away at times. Not only do I want 1 of everything… I want 10 of EVERYTHING!
However, when it comes to long term food storage, I can just stack our meals in containers or buckets and store them in crevices that would otherwise be unutilized. And since the wife stays happy… I am able to gather more stuff!
The best long term food storage providers pay close attention to detail. Besides them addressing all of the points that I brought up in this article, they also contain their meals in high quality mylar bags that are resealable. This allows you to use the servings multiple times without the fear of ruining or losing your food to the elements.
As people focused on preparedness, we look for gear that has multi-purpose. The beauty of these mylar bags is that they can be repurposed once they exhausted their initial food-container application. These mylar bags can be used in a pinch to gather water and keep other items away from weather and critters. They can also serve countless purposes that are only limited by your skill set as well as your imagination.
Something For Everyone:
Regardless of your eating lifestyle, long term food storage offers something for everyone. Whether you are a vegetarian, paleo, gluten-free or vegan… There are long term food storage meals that will fill your needs.
Perfect Practice Makes Perfect!
I am well aware that in an emergency, when we are STARVING, we won’t be anywhere near as “selective” as we may be in our current situation. But as I stated earlier, I also use these meals while I’m camping, trekking and hiking. Having the varied options allows me, my NTC Members and family to incorporate these meals into our current lifestyle.
Meals Are Affordable:
Due to the competition in the long term food storage sector, prices have become quite affordable. As a matter of fact, my food storage meals cost me much less than what I would spend on standard quality food. Since these meals are manufactured in bulk, there is a great deal of savings passed onto consumers like me and you.
There are even options to subscribe to monthly deliveries of your meals at considerable discounts. This allows you to devote a bit of your budget each month to food storage when bulk purchasing may not be an option for you.
One of my go to companies for this option is Valley Food Storage. They offer various subscription plans and excel at all of the points that I brought up in this article. They also offer meals containing multiple servings, starting at under $10. This allows you to sample and see if this type of long term food storage is something that would be an option for you and your family.
Prepping your own food is the preferred way to go. However, if that is not an option for you then take a close look at long term food storage options.
My reaction was one of surprise once I learned about and tested various long term food options. I have to admit that I was a bit jaded because of my MRE experience in the Marines. Luckily, the current options have far exceeded my expectations.
My best advise would be to experiment with what works best for you. But at the very least…
Be sure to actually address your emergency food storage issue!
If you wait for an emergency to happen, before you have your food requirements addressed, you will lose that battle!
Many of the companies that prepare these convenient meals tend to offer free samples. That right there should tell you something about the quality and taste of these newer products. These companies are obviously proud in what they have developed and are eager to gain your business.
Give it a try… I have a feeling that you will be pleasantly surprised!
If you’re looking for useful survival gear that you can’t make at home, check out the Survival Life Store!
In need of a few more wise food storage products? Check out these options:
- Use the same products as Helder with the Healthy Freeze Dried Survival Food for Emergency Preparedness from Valley Food Storage.
- For extensive preparation, check out the Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook.