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Adapting Food Storage to Where You Live,
Your Budget, and Your Diet Restrictions

     A common misconception among those who are starting a food storage plan is that specific foods must be included if you are going to be obedient to the counsel to have food storage. That idea often refers to wheat and, now, even freeze dried foods and powdered eggs. That is not true, though some foods are specifically recommended because they are good sources of nutrients, store well and are, usually, widely available at reasonable prices.
     What if itís hard to find traditional long term storage foods? What if they are too expensive for your budget or, for health reasons, you cannot eat many of them? Are you wrong to store something different? Not if you store a nutritionally balanced supply of food that meets your needs and circumstances and can also be stored long term.
     First, letís discuss the general recommendations and why they are important nutritionally.
     The recommendations for long term storage are general categories not specific foods. They are grains, legumes, milk, fats, sugars and salt. In 1978, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the booklet Essentials of Home Production and Storage recommended 300 pounds of grains, 60 pounds of legumes, 75 pounds of powdered milk, 60 pounds of sugars, 20 pounds of fats and 5 pounds of salt per person for one year. In 2002, a letter signed and issued by The First Presidency of the Church recommended a second option of 400 pounds of grains, 60 pounds of legumes, 16 pounds of powdered milk, 60 pounds of sugars, 10 quarts of fats and 8 pounds of salt per person for one year. The current recommendation on www.providentliving.org is 25 pounds of grains and 5 pounds of legumes per person per month or 300 pounds of grains and 60 pounds of legumes per person for one year. Other items such as oil, sugar, milk, salt, baking soda and foods containing vitamin C and other essential nutrients can be added. The reduced number of categories from six to two is a result of addressing a world wide church population.
     If you understand what each food category contributes to the diet, you will understand its importance to the overall plan and the advisability of adapting each category to your circumstances. Whole grains are a source of carbohydrates, B vitamins, fiber, protein, phosphorus and iron. Legumes are a source of protein, carbohydrates, fiber and thiamine. Milk provides protein, carbohydrates, calcium, riboflavin and phosphorus. Grains, legumes and milk all provide a variety of vitamins and minerals in varying amounts. The only vitamins missing are vitamins A and C unless you sprout grains, store amaranth or have vitamin A enriched milk. Fats provide fat and a small amount of vitamin E. In addition, butter also provides some vitamin A. Sugars provide carbohydrates. Molasses and honey also provide some trace minerals. Salt provides sodium.
     You can choose specific foods in each of the six categories that fit your circumstances of availability, cost and health requirements and have nutritious long term food storage. You may have to search for different sources than others use for supplies but you can still have a varied and interesting food storage program.
     Decide what you can afford to order and have shipped, if anything, but also research what is available locally in grocery stores, health food stores, food co-ops, farmersí co-ops, farmersí markets, local farms, Amish stores, the LDS home storage center, restaurant supply houses and wholesale clubs. The options available locally for most people are increasing making food supplies a lot easier to replace when they are depleted. Sales on smaller quantities at local stores are often less expensive than buying bulk. Remember to compare cost per unit measure (ounce, pound, etc.) and include the cost of shipping when comparing items ordered and shipped to locally procured items.
     Determine how the six categories can fit your diet restrictions. If you are gluten intolerant, donít store wheat and other gluten containing grains. Store grains that are gluten free. If you are allergic to cowís milk, store powdered soy milk or other milks available in shelf stable boxes. If you are diabetic, store accordingly. If finances allow, consider storing foods you canít eat but could be easily shared with others. Wheat, rice oats, legumes, sugar and salt have a very long shelf life when properly stored. They can be shared with others when the need arises and they will allow you to reserve the foods you are able to eat for yourself. Donít forget the need for sugar and salt in home canning, either.
     Using the recommended amounts and kinds of food for long term storage as guidelines to adapt them to your location, your budget and your diet restrictions will allow you to have a varied, interesting, affordable and nutritious food storage program.
     Contact us for a basic food storage worksheet to help you adapt the general guidelines to your specific circumstances.

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Last modified: 07/15/2013