(An often-overlooked medical prep)
If the past 2 years have taught us anything it is how fragile our supply chain is.
- Trucker shortage
- Illness preventing harvest
- Worldwide bird flu- culling
- Crop production down
- Increasing food prices (no end in sight)
A well-stocked pantry offers so much security on many levels. Knowing that no matter what is going on in the world you are able to feed yourself and your family is peace of mind.
As food prices continue to climb will become increasingly necessary to take a look at your household’s food supply.
There are many freeze dried foods in #10 cans available for long term storage. A simple review of the labels reveal many of these are not a good choice for populations with special dietary needs. Food allergies, high sugar content, etc.
Nutritional deficiencies lead to disease and illness
It is highly advised that you attempt to get nutrition from your food. However, in some instances a good quality vitamin supplement may be necessary. Consult your primary care provider for guidance.
The CDC website on nutrition and benefits of healthy eating is a good place to start to learn about nutrition and how food choices affect health.
Take out your notebook and write down all the people in your household.
Note the following:
- Does anyone have special dietary needs?
- Food allergies?
- Low sodium/ cardiac diet?
- Kidney diet?
- Low oxalate diet?
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing?
- Autism? (Some with autism have aversions to some food textures and tastes)
- Any very young in the house?
- Recent injury or surgery? The body requires more protein and vitamin C, along with minerals to repair and heal.
- If you live in a warmer climate, do you have oral rehydration items stocked (Pedialyte, Gatorade, or better yet oral rehydration powder?)
- Ample supply of juices, water, etc. for emergencies, such as low blood sugar in diabetic household members?
- Do you have food and medication stocked for minor illnesses, such as diarrhea, nausea, constipation, allergic reaction to food or drink (hives, rash, etc.)?
Assessing each person’s diet, itemize your pantry. Are you able to provide the necessary diet with what you have stocked? Could you make a few adjustments in your food to accommodate everyone?
Also consider age and sex. An older woman will require less calories than a young man.
Children- they can be quite finicky. Do you have stocked foods that are shelf stable, nutritious and something they will eat?
Does anyone in your household have difficulty chewing or swallowing? If so, what accommodations can you have ready to make sure they are able to eat?
A well-stocked pantry takes into consideration all of the above, and also is nutritionally balanced.
- Assess everyone in your households’ dietary needs.
- Record in a notebook what your panty already has. For instance, if there is a diabetic in your home white rice may not be a good choice for them. However, white rice may offer a lot of readily available calories for someone working outdoors.
- Make a menu for each person with special dietary needs. Start with a 3-day menu, then a week, 2 weeks, etc. Most menus can be rotated every 2 weeks. This makes meal planning much more manageable. The goal is to eventually have a years’ worth of healthy food stored.
- Budget extra for your weekly/ monthly trip to the grocers to fill in the gaps.
- When at grocer’s pick up extra items on your list to fill in the nutritional gaps. This may take several weeks to accomplish.
- Store food in cool dark dry area
- Itemize, date, and organize your food.
- Rotate food.
Scratch cooking is often more inexpensive and nutritious than prepackaged meals. If you haven’t learned to cook this is a great time to learn. Involve all members of the household.
If you are lucky enough to know a good cook, ask them if they could teach you. If not there are some wonderful channels on You Tube that can help you get started. A very popular You Tube channel– Mary’s Nest is a great channel to start with. She has many videos teaching how to transition to a traditional food’s kitchen on a budget.
Also, fermented foods, which are found in every culture of the world are an excellent source of vitamins and health promoting probiotics. They are easy to make and store well.
Microgreens, nutrition powerhouse
In addition, microgreens provide fiber, vitamins, and enzymes. Sprouting seeds, such as broccoli, alfalfa, mung beans, peas etc. are a fast, easy, inexpensive addition to your food supply.