> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Tip of the Week: Calories per Dollar



Tip of the Week: Calories per Dollar

Not too long ago, we've talked using the metric of calories per ounce when packing bug out bags and similar kits, where weight is a prime consideration. But when we get into food storage -- putting back large quantities of food -- there's another metric you may want to consider: calories per dollar.

Most of us have limited budgets, and calories per dollar is all about maximizing the impact of those dollars. What foods will give you the most bang for your buck? 

Not surprisingly, basic staples (rice, flour, dry beans and so on) do really well--which is why those kinds of things should form the foundation of your food storage.

Of course, you can't solely focus on dollars/calorie -- you'll end up with no protein, no vitamins, etc. -- and when you start getting into packaging for long term storage, prices quickly go up. But, calories per dollar it's a good thing to keep in mind when comparing like products, stretching your budget and making other purchasing decisions.

More on calories per dollar on SurvivalBlog - a good read.

Has anyone used calories per dollar in their buying decisions? Are there any other metrics you keep in mind when building up your food storage? Let the tribe know!


  1. I also look at calorie density per unit volume. If I'm going to store food,I want nutrition and calorie density in the smallest space or it actually raises the price of those calories by the value of the real estate. Example: I bought FD sausage crumbles recently when they went on sale for about 60% of the normal price. For about the same price as a can of freeze dried peaches or berries ($24/#10 can) I have 10X the calories including lots of fat and protein. I do have a few cans of monotony-breakers, but most of what I store is very dense in calories and vitamins, like carrots versus apricot chunks.

  2. No protein? Pinto beans are 22 percent protein and offer a complete essential amino acid profile as well. while it is not as protein dense as meat 3 cups of cooked pintos provides almost all the protein you would need. Beans also have more micro nutrients and than meat. That being said 3 cups of beans a day would get old fast and they are missing many vitamins.

  3. That is one of the ways I calculate how much food I have stored is by total calorie count. Gives me a ballpark figure based on servings and calories per pound etc... Another thing I look at is the total nutrition on some foods vs others. I like pinto beans okay but I really love black eyed peas , and they have a more well rounded nutrition profile than pinto beans taking into consideration minerals, vitamins, amino acids etc you can check this at http://nutritiondata.self.com/ it gives a good overview on total nutrition in any given food. Plus blackeyed peas don't take as long to cook as pintos, they do cost more but I like them more. After that I look at menus and rounding out the meals with fruits, veggies, etc.

  4. While I think everyone should strive for a year supply of food, I don't think you necessarily need a year supply of every vitamin/nutrient. The most you'll have to soley depend on your food storage would be 4-6 weeks. And that would mean a VERY large scale and wide spread disaster. A month and a half without ANY available food would truly be the end of the world as we know it. At that point your water will likely have run out anyways so your going to have to venture out into the world one way or another. No matter what has happened there will be several options for procuring food--if not your toast once your food storage runs out anyways. You can supplement your food storage by buying food, trading for it, hunting, trapping, gathering, fishing, growing, raising etc. You need to figure something out and have a system in place long BEFORE your food storage runs out. So IMO, and some might disagree, you need 6 weeks of "nutrients"--stuff like canned meat/veggies, premade meals, etc. After that I'd still want food storage going out to a year but it doesn't need to represent such a balanced budget. You'll need to supplement it one way or another eventually. So you have a few huge bags of rice/beans, some flour, some sugar, maybe a few other basic stapples.

    At the very worst this will keep your stomach full and stave off starvation. You CAN live off of just rice--I know in the Vietnamese reeducation camps for years the prisoners exclusively had only rice to eat--and a small portion of that as well. They had nutrion defeciencies but they didn't starve to death. Obviously you'll want to supplement it but with simple rice/beans you'll have the large majority of your calories and "bulk food" taken care of. If you have all the rice/beans/flour you need it won't take too much to turn that into a full meal. If you're eating ONLY meat from trapping/hunting/fishing/raising-livestock you will need a lot of it to fill your stomach. If already you have bowl of rice/person then you can strech a small amount of meat/fruits/veigtables a long way and still have a fairly balanced diet.

    You could also look at a more likely disaster--losing your job. You won't have ZERO money and will most certianly be able to supplement your food storage to some degree. To me this simplifies food storage and brings down the expense big time--especially since something like rice is basically going to last forever. Buy half a dozen big bags of rice and then your 80% done.

  5. I like to buy the starter kits from the LDS online store, you get number 10 cans of wheat, rice ,beans and oatmeal. They are only $31 and you get free shipping. I prefer the #10 cans instead of 5 gal buckets, that way I will only have to open one can at a time and have a conveinent way to store after opening. I calculate the calorie content to a little over 38,000 calories per case. I want to get to 15-20 cases for long term storage as that would be a case every 20 days if living only on that at 2000 caloires/day for one person. So 20 cases would get 6 months for two people approximatly. Plus the cans would be easy to trade,barter or give away small amounts to other poeple or for other things. For me the $31 month is not much and it will build storage gradually. Plus the cardboard cases are easy to stack and store almost anywhere, in the back of the closet with other things in front , under the bed etc.