SHTF Food Storage Tips for Building a Stockpile

Best practices for preppers to increase their long term food storage

How’s your stockpile looking? These SHTF food storage tips will help you get ready for disasters, large and small.

By Tony |

As we saw in March of 2020, when an emergency is announced, the shelves at the stores are cleared FAST as people rush to buy what they need to see them through the crisis. As resources across the state, nation or world deplete rapidly, you may find yourself unable to restock and depend only on what you have stored up.

Since SHTF food storage is such an important issue, there needs to be some healthy discussion on what food is worth storing and the best ways to store it.

Let’s start by talking about what foods are worth storing. Here are some tips.

See What You Already Have

You may have far more emergency food on hand than you realized but just never looked at it as emergency food. Do an inventory and start your stockpile using what you have on hand.

Easy SHTF Food Storage

Any food you store may have to sit on a shelf for a while. Ensure that you can easily keep it in one place, and the more compact it is, the better. Focus on food that doesn’t require refrigeration or freezing to stay fresh. Canned goods are perfect for this.

Focus on Food High in Nutrients

This isn’t too big of a deal in the modern world since nearly all of our foods are enriched, fortified, and subject to whatever else people put in them.  But if a disaster happens and you cannot restock supplies, you will want to eat some fruits and vegetables, so you don’t develop any vitamin or mineral deficiencies. To do this, add canned, freeze-dried, and dehydrated produce to your SHTF food storage stockpile.

Store Food That Is High in Calories

Yep, I said it. The best-stored food is high in calories because calories are the lifeblood of energy. All calories come from three things: carbs, proteins, and fats. Carbs are found in grains and sugars and don’t provide much energy (four calories per gram). Carbs burn quickly, so you are left feeling hungry. Proteins provide the same amount of energy as carbs (four calories per gram) but are used to rebuild muscle and burn more slowly, so you are left feeling full. You can find proteins in meats, nuts, and dairy. Fats provide the most energy (nine calories per gram) and are found in dairy, meats, nuts, and oils.

Based on this analysis, the best-stored food is high in proteins and fats. This will make you feel less hungry – meaning you eat less – and will help rebuild muscle. A high protein and high-fat diet will also ensure that you get more calories for fewer dollars spent and less food is eaten, so your survival shelves will last longer in a crisis. It’s important to note that the higher in fat a food is, the shorter the shelf life is.

So even though Krispy Kreme donuts are high in calories, they make for horrible survival food because they are not nutritious and are almost entirely carbs. So, you can eat a whole box of them but still feel relatively hungry, and your body will not perform as well when you are doing your daily tasks.

Now that we’ve discussed what foods are the best to store, let’s cover some essential tips, including suggestions for your wallet.

Canned Goods Are Perfect for SHTF Food Storage

Cans are pretty much a goldmine for food storage. They are compact, pretty inexpensive, and can hold just about any food. I store huge amounts of cans in my prepper supply closet. Storebought canned goods have a long shelf-life, but you should eat home-canned goods within a year.

Get More Than You Think You Need

When your only food source is the food you have, you’ll go through it a lot faster than you might imagine. This is especially true if you are like some people (meaning me) and stress eat. Remember that it is always better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. For this reason, be sure to stock up nicely.

If Necessary, Purchase in Small Doses

It is no secret that preparing for hard times can be particularly difficult on your wallet. If you are not financially able to stock up all at once, do not panic. This is completely normal. We are all in this boat together, and tons of preppers have faced this same problem, including myself. I solved this problem by only purchasing one day’s worth of supplies every time I went to the grocery store. Every time I was in the store, I would buy a few cans, a little pasta, or other materials I needed. While this added only a few dollars to each of my grocery bills, I was much better stocked within weeks.

Remember Who You Are Preparing For

Lots of ado is made about what we are preparing for: EMPs, nuclear strikes, martial law, economic collapse, and so on. But I want you to remember who you are preparing for. I prep so that if something terrible happens, I can be confident that my family has the resources they need to survive. Remembering who you prep for will continuously keep your goal in mind and encourage you to continue onward even when prepping gets tough. Focus on getting things that your loved ones will eat, and don’t forget to hide away some treats for special occasions.

The Bottom Line on SHTF Food Storage

Remember, it’s nearly impossible to build your entire food stockpile all at once. But by combining these tips, you can slowly and deliberately create the SHTF food storage stockpile your family needs.


About the Author ~ Tony

Tony is the founder and editor at His journey to prepping started in the aftermath of 2008 and hasn’t slowed down since!


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  1. jen on July 23, 2022 at 8:16 am

    never in a million yrs would i have thought this was going to come ive followed preppers for about 10 yrs and so glad back kn ew what to get jn before lockdown actually came and with crisises with wheat and everything else goin on in the world im now naking own bread growing own fruit snd veg and generally getting bits and bobs together ty fir your updates 😃🙏🙏🙏

    • Brian Duff on July 23, 2022 at 7:22 pm

      Thanks! I’m glad you find the information useful! What most concerns you with your preparedness? ~Brian

  2. Someone on April 3, 2023 at 8:33 pm

    Very useful tips! Thanks for share.

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