Prepping on $20 a Paycheck – Part 5 of 24

Mac & Cheese The Ready Center

Article submitted by Brian S. Kiefat @ The Ready Center

Water?  Check.  Backpack containing knife and flashlight(s)?  Check.  So what’s next you ask…  A machine gun!  Duh!  Just kidding.  This pay period we recommend you cover one of the basic necessities of life:  Food.

What exactly you choose to get and how much you choose to get will depend upon your family size and dynamic.  This article, we will not be providing you with a rock solid recommendation on what exactly you should purchase.  Instead we will lay out some of the better options you have and let you decide what works best with your family.  And your taste buds.

As stated in a prior article regarding emergency/survival food, in optimal situations it is possible for a person to survive up to 8 weeks without food.  Though it is good to know that things like this are possible, any person with an ounce of wisdom in their body should have preparations in place to prevent this.  Today, we want to help you with preparations that will benefit you in the short-term.  Our recommended food stores are as follows:

The Ready Center Skittles Startbursts1.  A pack of Skittles/Starbursts/ or Other Solid Sugar Candy Really?  Candy is our first recommendation?  Yep.  Think about this: if/when a disaster does strike, it more than likely won’t be when you are fully rested and have a full belly.  Having a some sort of solid sugar candy is beneficial for a number of reasons.  If you and your “survival-mates” find yourselves at each other’s throats, it may have a lot to do with low blood sugar and having a quick dissolvable form of sugar for everyone to consume could save your group some hard words.  And maybe a few black eyes.  Also, many people experience low-grade headaches when they haven’t eaten in a while.  A headache may not be much to worry about now, but compounded with dehydration, exhaustion, and hypothermia or heat-stroke, a simple headache can lead to serious life threatening conditions.  Better to stay ahead of the curve if possible.  Also, if you have to survive in place during a tornado or hurricane and you find yourself uncomfortably cramped underneath your basement stairs or stuffed in a tiny broom closet with a few of your survival-mates who happen to have “rotten-zombie-apacolypse” breath, you can seem like the nice guy offering sweets while at the same time eliminating your “zombie” problem.:-)

The Ready Center Snickers2.  6 Pack of Snickers – Seriously?  Candy again?  Yes, and for good reason.  If you take the time to read all the labels for the majority of the protein and energy bars, they really aren’t that far off from a Snickers bar.  The majority of the difference is the fat content and last I checked, having excess fat and calories at your disposal during a survival situation is a good thing.  The 250 calorie intake per bar, the protein, and the plain ol’ good taste of a Snickers makes this a winner when it comes to holding you over until your next meal is ready.  It’s also made with real peanuts and is one of the more hardy candy bars that will actually give you the “full” feeling once you’re done with it.  And the fact that you can get the 6 pack of the full size bars for only around $5 makes it a sure shot when it comes to quick energy and feeding more than one person.

The Ready Center Food Bars3. High Calorie Emergency Food Bars These are the little gems that the U.S. Coast Guard approve and issue to their men and women in uniform.  Although I have not had the pleasure of tasting one for myself, I hear they are quite tasty and have a “short-bread cookie” flavor.  They come in sealed packs of 6 or 9 individually wrapped bars and each is a surprising 400 calories, which is quite impressive.  Equally impressive is the shelf life and price.  Costing only $5 and $6 for the sealed package of 6 or 9 bars respectively, they average out at only 73¢ per.  Not too shabby.

The Ready Center Spaghetti-Os4.  Store Bought “Shelf-Stable” Foods Examples: Spaghetti-O’s, Ravioli, Canned Vegetables/Fruit, tuna in the foil pack, etc.  These are quite handy to have as long as you get the ones that are ready to eat right out of the can.  Having the “pull-top” lids are even more handy.  This is also nice because the food that you select for your survival backpack will more than likely be the same as what you eat on a regular basis.  The nutrition value would be much higher than the prior three suggestions and with these you will more than likely get the ‘full” feeling that you’d be craving.  And at under $1 a can, the price is pretty dang good.  The only downside is this: canned goods really aren’t “shelf-stable” and generally have expiration dates of only 12-18 months, which actually isn’t that long.  And unless you’re faithfully going to rotate your canned goods in and out of your survival backpack on a yearly basis, this may not be your best option.  However, it is an option.

The Ready Center MRE5.  MREs This is a really great option for a number reasons.  They come prepackaged for single use, but are large enough to feed two persons if needed.  They are available with a wide selection of entrées.  And they come with plenty of extras such as flavored drink powder, a couple of side dishes, a dessert, a spoon, napkin, toilet paper, matches, gum, meal heater, etc.  Like I said, plenty of extras.  The shelf life on these things is amazing as well.  The downside of these can sometimes be the cost, the taste, and occasionally the post-meal constipation if you eat too many in a row.  Regardless, at $7-$9 per and a shelf life ranging up to 5 years when properly stored, this beats trying to yearly rotate your cans out of your survival pack any day.  Note:  If you want to use the meal heater, you’ll need a few ounces of water.

The Ready Center Pouch Meal6.  Shelf Stable Camping/Survival Meals This is by far the best option available when it comes to nutritional value, shelf life (7 years when stored properly), and taste.  The price is very reasonable as well.  At around $6 per, these are even more cost efficient than an MRE and come in just as many entrées selections.  In addition to that, they generally come with 10 to 12 ounces of food making them a comfortable meal for two.  With manufacturers such as Wise Foods, Mountain House, Coleman, etc., you don’t have to worry about quality because they come from such reputable manufacturers.  Similar to the MRE, water is needed.  These foods are usually freeze-dried and require water prior to consumption.  But don’t let that scare you away.  I’ve eaten a great number of these myself while doing product testing and have always been impressed with the taste.  Again, this is most certainly the best option.

Which of the above suggestions are right for you and your family?  Well, that’s up for you to decide.  Hopefully you heed the advice given and choose more than one.  Regardless of which and how much, spend the full $20, put it in your survival backpack with the rest of your gear, and forget it’s there until you need to use it.  Then when it’s all said and done… send us a thank you note.

Challenging you to Make Ready,

The Ready Center

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