Short-term food storage (also referred to as a “working pantry”) is all about building up a supply of food that you and your family already eat and love. We call this “replicating your normal.” Generally, these foods have a short shelf life ranging from a couple months up to 1-2 years. Example: cans of tuna, spaghetti sauce, pasta, cereal, chips, your favorite snacks, etc.
Not only is your working pantry easy to rotate through, but the convenience that comes from having it is top notch! By storing the foods and meals you eat on a regular basis, your short-term storage becomes a mini grocery store for you and your family. If you run out of an item, check your supply. If you didn’t have time to run to the grocery store due to late nights at the office, kids’ sporting events, sickness, etc., you have your short-term storage that you can make meals from. Does a neighbor need ingredients? You’ve got them, too! Your working pantry is flexible, usable, and always there for you in a pinch!
To build your short-term storage, we recommend that you begin with a 7 day supply of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. We love to include snacks & treats in ours as well. Once you have 7 days of each, we recommend that you build up to a 3 month (90 day) supply.
How to Plan Your Meals
Thinking of different food ideas for your short-term food storage doesn’t need to be complex. Neither does building your supply, especially if you are following The Rule of Three to Build Up Your Food Storage. We want to help take your barren pantry and cupboards and turn them into your own private grocery store. At least for a short while anyway. 😉
Make a menu. Use these free printouts to identify the 3 meals in each category (breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks/treats) that your family routinely eats. Then, you will make a list of all the ingredients you need to make each of the 3 meals, including drinks and sides. These ingredient lists will aide you in building your short-term food supply while using The Rule of Three (our unique system in building a well-rounded storage. Be sure to read about it because you will love it!)
Replicate Your Normal by Choosing Meals You Love
If you prefer eating fresh, storing food might seem a little harder at first. There are options out there though! Some of our favorites are:
- Thrive Life. We have been using Thrive Life since 2012 and absolutely love their food. It is freeze dried and has a very long shelf life. Up to a year once opened and 20+ years if left unopened. This is one of our favorites for short-term and long-term storage. So so so good!
- Buy organic. You can buy organic boxed and canned items. Not as fresh as getting food from your local farmers market, but it is a great option.
- Freeze perishable items. Cheese, butter, tortillas, bread, meats, etc. are great items to freeze. Freezing allows you to store items you otherwise wouldn’t be able to, giving you more options for your short-term storage.
- Begin growing your own foods. Whether it is a small herb garden in your window seal, utilizing your back patio, or a designated garden space in your backyard – being able to grow your own foods can reduce the amount of money you spend at the grocery store each week, and greatly contribute to your short-term storage AND long-term storage.