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Whenever a person thinks of prepping, the first thing to come to mind is food.  What to store, how much to store, how to store, and which store to go to?  There are all kinds of food packages you can purchase.  You can get a year’s supply of dehydrated or freeze-dried fare for $4,000 (Costco) or a 72 hour kit for one person at Wal-Mart for $64.00.

This week I’m going to give you a list of items you can buy at your local grocery store, things you would probably have on hand anyway.  The dehydrated kits you buy generally tout a 25-year shelf life.  So the normal things you purchase, should be rotated out every few months or so.  One rule of thumb when it comes to storing up food;  buy food your body is accustomed to eating!  During a disaster, your system will be on overload anyway, and there is no benefit to introducing a whole new menu to your gastric system in a time of crisis.

Some people lay in backpacking freeze-dried food to be eaten when the time comes.  That is all well and good, unless you have never tried those entrees and you experience a revolt of sorts when you’re already stressed out anyway.  Store up food to which your body is already accustomed!  Or at least you know the kids will eat.

Here’s the beginning of a shopping list:  (The second half will come next week.)

1.  20 lbs of rice.  Rice seems pretty boring, but it is filling, nutritious and adaptable to a wide variety of entrees.

2.  20 lbs of pinto beans.  Beans are also a valuable part of every storage plan.  Combined with rice they fulfill a protein need in your menu.

3.  20 cans of vegetables.  Green beans, peas, corn and canned tomatoes are a good start.  Buy what you already eat and enjoy.

4.  20 cans of fruit.  Peaches, pears, pineapple, fruit cocktail, all to your taste.

5.  20 cans of meat.  Chicken, tuna, shrimp, salmon, vienna sausages, beef stew and don’t forget Spam.  Those square cans fit really well on the shelf and if it’s fried, you can make the kids believe it is “camping bacon.”  It worked for my kids anyway.  I even recently found some canned roast beef.

6.  4 lbs of oats.  A warm bowl of oatmeal can be a welcome meal any time of day.  Topped with some canned fruit, it makes a refreshing treat.

7. 2 (or more) large jars of peanut butter.  A good source of protein and surprisingly filling.  Tastes good too!

8.  Pick up a supply of powdered drink mix.  Tang, Crystal Light or similar product.  Make sure it’s loaded with vitamin C.

9.  5 lbs of powdered milk.  It’s great protein and is loaded with other nutrients.  It’s filling and can be used on that oatmeal as well.

10.  5 lbs of salt.  Salt is an essential for survival as well as a food enhancer.  Our bodies need salt to survive.

 You don’t need to fill this shopping list all at once.  Watch for sales.  Pay attention to the “buy one, get one” promotions.  Use coupons.  One reader told me she saved several thousand dollars in just one year by using coupons.  At the same time she built a substantial pantry for use in a disaster.

As always, send your comments and questions to  Previous columns can be found on my blog at  Dave Robinson is the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us,” available on, Barnes and Noble, and other online booksellers.