How Much Food You Need to Store for the Apocalypse

If you are a prepper and are storing food for some emergency scenario, the big question most people have is "how do I figure out how many days worth of food I have?". 

Well, you're gonna have to do some math my friends but it is a fairly simple calculation. To figure out how many days worth of food you have, all you need to do is add up the total number of CALORIES in all of your food containers and then divide that by how many calories per day you will be eating in the apocalypse. That will give you the number of days of food you have for 1 person. Take that number and divide by however many people will be eating the food and that's how many days of food you have for your group or family.

Don't worry about how many "servings" are in a can of food or container because 1 serving never equals 1 meal. The average can of green beans has 3.5 servings @ 20 calories per serving for only 70 calories in the entire can! The same size can of Chef Boyardee Beefaroni has 2 servings @ 250 calories per serving for a total of 500 calories in the can. Figuring out your food supply is all about calories, not servings. But how many calories will you eat per day?

A person's normal caloric needs are very individualized. Are you an adult or child? Are you male of female? Are you fat or skinny? Are you active or sedentary? Do you have a fast metabolism or a slow metabolism? All these things factor in to determine how much food you personally need to eat per day to maintain your current body weight.

If you look at a can or package of food that you buy at the grocery store, the label tells you things like percentage daily allowance of protein, carbs, etc. This number is based on the average of 2,000 calories per day. I am a big guy (350 pounds) and I have figured out (by counting my calories every day for a week) that I usually eat between 2,000-3,000 calories per day right now. Some days even more. For you, just count the calories in everything you eat each day for a week (there are apps for this kind of thing) and figure out your current daily calorie consumption - it's a good number to know.

While this is all well and good, you have to realize that in the "zombie apocalypse", you won't be eating anywhere near the amount of calories you are eating now or you would run out of food very quickly. The more calories you eat, the faster your food will run out. The less calories you eat, the longer your food will last. So you have to strike a balance of eating the least amount of calories per day that you can tolerate to make your food last as long as possible. 

For me, I could comfortably eat 1,500 calories per day without breaking a sweat but I would probably need to eat closer to 1,000 calories per day or maybe even 500 calories per day to try and make my food last as long as possible. Because I have tested myself, I know I could do it and at those lower caloric intakes I know that I would be ok through most of the day but I would get pretty hungry in the late evening.

Because I am a big guy with a moderately slow metabolism, I figured that if I had to, I could eat as little as 200 calories per day and live around a year. I would be hungry all day every day and it would suck, but I could make it a year with my current fat reserves. If you are a fit, active or naturally skinny person with a fast metabolism, then you probably wouldn't last near that long. 

My personal opinion is that generally speaking 500-1,000 calories/day is doable by most people for a long term situation. Actually ANY amount of food is doable if its all you have. Reading stories from people who have been in similar situations in other countries racked by war and civil unrest, 500-1000 calories is a lot more than most people will have access to per day on average. Many will starve to death or die from sickness do to the lack of nutrition combined with disease from poor hygiene and unclean living conditions especially in the urban environments.

But here is the shocker - At 1,000 calories per day you would need 365,000 calories of food stored per person to make it a full year. To put that in perspective, if all of your calories were stored as cans of Chef Boyardee Beefaronie, you would need 730 cans per person per year to equal 1,000 calories per day (each can has 500 calories). Most preppers don't have anywhere near that much food stored up and the average Joe only has a week or two worth of food in their house at most.

No matter how much food you store (even if you had a warehouse full), you will eventually run out. So the goal is to store enough food just to survive long enough to create a renewable food source for yourself and your family. This includes purchasing seeds (to grow fruits and vegetables) and, if possible, acquire some farm animals like chickens & rabbits. Chickens can free range eat for most of the year, they lay eggs for you every day and when they start getting too old to lay eggs you can eat them in a stew. Rabbits are also good as they are quiet, can eat from your vegetable garden and reproduce easily. Goats are another good choice as they can eat pretty much anything and also produce milk.

Whatever your long term apocalypse plans, count up your current total food stock calories, find out how long you can live on that and then buy some more food!