Bugging In At Home: Is Your Pantry Ready?

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

Peter Sands, the executive director of the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis, and Malaria said that food shortages may be the next world health crisis. Sands states that after two years of shutdowns due to the coronavirus, governments may have to prepare for a much bigger threat. He’s urging governments to strengthen their health systems to deal with malnutrition due to food shortages according to the New York Post.

Many farmers echo these concerns. Their cost of fuel, fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides have all increased. These increases will be seen further on down the supply chain. Even if we do not face food shortages, inflation in food prices is almost guaranteed moving forward. Due to this, it’s important to take stock of your pantry now and see what you need to be sure it is prepared in case you have to bug in. In this situation bugging in would simply be avoiding the grocery store at the height of panic when people realize prices are not going back down. Of course, bugging in could also mean having food in your home when store shelves are empty.

The ultimate goal is a year’s worth of food. One simple way to see if you have a year’s worth of food is to pick 30 recipes and their ingredients. Then multiply these ingredients by 12. To make it simple let’s go with breakfast made of quick oats, sugar, and water. In our imaginary scenario, I would eat quick oats every day for breakfast for a month. One container of quick oats has approximately 30 servings. That means I would need 12 containers of quick oats to make sure I had a year’s worth of oatmeal. If I added a tablespoon of sugar each day, I would need roughly a pound of sugar per month or twelve pounds per year for my breakfast.

You can make this storage plan as complex or as simple as you like. Using the above formula can be applied to almost anything. Another method is to plan inventory by the week. For example, every Friday you have one pound of pasta and one glass container of tomato sauce for dinner for your family of four. There are 52 Fridays in a year. That means you would need 52 pounds of pasta and 52 containers of tomato sauce for the year. This goes on a week-to-week basis and instead of being based on 12 times, it is based on 52 times. This method is easier if you menu plan by the week and have a pretty regular schedule for your menus. 

To take stock of your panty, simply inventory all the food you currently have and see how many meals you could make of it. Make sure to inventory the freezers, cabinets, and spice rack. Write everything down and try to meal plan with what you have on hand. If you can come up with 365 meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner from your storage, then you are done. If not, find ways to expand your food storage within your budget.  

You can watch a video on this here.


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