We all hope to avoid being affected by hurricanes, floods, blizzards and other natural disasters, but debilitating events sometimes strike without warning. We may not be able to avoid them entirely, but there are always ways we can better prepare ourselves and our families for the worst. Setting up a disaster pantry in your garage wall storage with plenty of back-up food is a great first step toward becoming disaster-proof.
It probably goes without saying that you should stock up on plenty of water in case of a shortage, as you'll need it for both drinking and cooking. While how much you should buy largely depends upon the size of your family, you will want to stock several garage shelves with gallons of water. In this case, it's better to be safe than sorry.
Vegetables canned in liquids will kill two birds with one stone by providing you with essential fiber and nutrients in addition to a freshwater substitute for recipes. Canned soups and chilis are easily heated up and almost never spoil, while canned meats such as salmon and chicken have tons of imperishable protein. Surprisingly enough, Spam is a great item to stock up on for your back-up pantry as well – it has over 1,000 calories and almost 50 grams of protein per can in addition to several crucial fats. Disasters can be particularly stressful for little kids, so you might also consider grabbing a few fun items, like SpaghettiOs and applesauce.
Boxed or dried milk
Vitamin D and calcium are important to incorporate into your family's diet and onto your wall mount shelves, even in the midst of total chaos. These dairy options have great shelf lives and go far beyond a traditional glass of milk – they can also be used to make sauces, gravies and yogurts.
While this may seem like a small purchase for your food storage pantry, salt is a nutritional necessity and will be especially important during prolonged disasters. It can also be used to flavor any of your meals, as shelf-stable options aren't always the tastiest until they've been doctored up a bit.
Rice, beans and pasta
These three non-perishables are great sources of filling fiber and carbs, but they do require quite a bit of water to cook. A fourth easily prepared carbohydrate option to stick in your wall storage is boxed mashed potato flakes, which can me mixed with dehydrated milk and water to make a pretty delicious side dish.
Peanut butter, olive oil and jarred mayonnaise are reliable sources of fat that will help keep your family full. Olive oil can be used for frying and making roux as well, and need never be refrigerated.
Dehydrated fruits and vegetables
While fresh fruits and veggies may not be possible for your apocalyptic pantry, there are plenty of ways to incorporate them in other forms. Items like onions and mushrooms will serve as great soup and stew bases, while dried fruit is a great source of fiber and potassium.
Herbs and spices can be added to your wall storage system to make disaster food a bit more bearable, and dry-grated cheeses such as parmesan and Romano won't spoil when left on shelves. Crackers make a great bread substitute, while Gatorade and Powerade are good to have on hand for electrolyte replenishment. Breakfast cereals, protein bars and trail mix can be served up as snacks. If you're feeling extra ambitious, you can also add a bottle of multivitamins to your back-up pantry to help keep the family healthy as well.
Natural disasters and power outages may seem like the end of the world, but they don't have to be. The Red Cross suggests stocking up two weeks' worth of food and water to keep your family safe in the wake of a disaster, but if you want to go the extra mile, try to incorporate one month's worth of food into your garage organization plan.