Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Balanced Nutrition Best-By Date Tracking System

     Tracking my food storage is very important to me because I have been gardening organically for several years.  What began as a 12’ x 12’ back yard garden has evolved to over 1,500 square feet of cultivated area where I grow organically produced vegetables, raspberries, blueberries and figs.  Soon I hope to add dwarf apple trees to my selection of home-grown foods.

     One of my goals is to continue to inspire and encourage more people to begin or increase their vegetable gardening as a way to support their food supply.  I advocate a return to self-sufficiency through gardening, as it is a rewarding and delicious way to promote good health by ensuring a healthier food source introduced into the food supply chain for your family.
     As my garden has grown, so has the knowledge I’ve accumulated through trial and error, research in gardening, insect control, composting, soil testing, canning and economics. 

     Ultimately, as my garden expanded so did my need and desire to develop a comprehensive food storage planning system.  After many investigations of different food storage planning sources, I developed my own system that takes into account things like growing seasons, shelf life, nutritional balance, and an informed shopping list, just to name a few.
     I want to share all the following information in hopes that it will be helpful to you, because I know how it has enriched my own family’s health, well-being and nutritional security. 

But that’s not the only reason.
     Have you noticed changes in the world and in your own life over the past 5-10 years?  Regardless of the debate about the causes, it’s pretty obvious that:

*  The climate is changing;

*  Growing seasons and zones are changing;

*  The incidence of weather-related and other natural disasters has increased;

*  Globalization has shifted economies to being more interdependent than ever;

*  We inhabit a new cyber culture that is convenient and unlimited yet not without risks to our personal information; and,

*  Governmental instability and regional disharmony is widespread.

     For these and other unpredictable reasons, events occurring anywhere in the world can now impact our lives more immediately than ever before, sometimes in ways we cannot imagine.  As a result, effective management of a household in this day and age must include, at a minimum, a realistic assessment and a plan for how to handle an interruption of goods and services, regardless of the cause.
     Consider this: Trucking companies haul food and, in many places in the U.S.A., they deliver almost every day.  Imagine if there was a lengthy truck driver strike.  Many of us here have the erroneous idea that supermarkets have a warehouse in the back with gigantic shelves of stocked items.  In reality, grocery stores do not stock more than a 3-day supply on their shelves.  Much of the stock is put on the shelves by the actual truck drivers, not store employees.  When the shelves are empty, they remain empty until the trucks come in.  How prepared would you be for such an occurrence?

     Let me take a moment to point out to all the readers, that I have nothing to sell, and I do not allow advertising of any kind on my blog, now or ever.  I promote no products and receive no items for free or at a reduced cost to provide a review either. 
     All sources of nutritional intake information I have found out there refer to a recommended calorie amount that we should have each day.  I was building my food pantry storage for almost two years using the wrong criteria as a tracking tool.  Only recently have I switched to relying on my own method of tracking food best-by dates for the five main food groups.  My method calculates the length of time my balanced food supply will sustain a variable number of adults.  My old method of tracking my food storage was simply monitoring the total calories of all the food I had stored.  Then I began studying the impact of best-by dates.  I decided that since these dates were so important, THEY are what I should be tracking. 

     For those of you that are not familiar with the term "#10 can", it refers to the size of a large steel can that may hold things such as emergency freeze-dried foods or dehydrated foods.  They are commercially available through many online emergency food supply distributors.  You may even find them locally available in some big box stores, large sporting goods stores or restaurant supply houses. 
     Theoretically, if there was a disaster and you needed food, you would probably use what #10 canned food you had available to make it through the hard times.  This seemed like the wrong approach to me.  I asked myself, why would you access your expensive long term food supply for short duration emergencies of a month or even two months?  If you had a supply of normal grocery store food, you could bridge the gap between an emergency and a recovery.  I set out to plan to do just that with The Balanced Nutrition Best-By Date Tracking System.

     What if you lived in Boston and were one of the citizens required to recently “shelter in” for over 24 hours after the Marathon bombing?  If you hadn’t yet shopped that week, would your food pantry have enough to tide you over?  What if you happened to have 20 guests over for a Marathon party and had to “shelter in” with them indefinitely?
     Most of us can handle short-lived situations.  But it’s important to remember that just because the news media stop reporting on the aftermath of storms like Hurricane Sandy does not mean that all is back to normal.  It more often means that people are reorienting themselves to a new normal.  Many people are still living in FEMA trailers months after Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast. 

     Most people believe that when a natural disaster or a doomsday-type event occurs, FEMA will be right there to install their quick-deploy FEMA Camps.  They think that FEMA will be giving them food and shelter along with all the comforts of home, and things will get back to normal pretty quickly.  People will find out too late that their complete trust in a top-heavy bureaucratic agency has been misguided.  People need to be, and should be prepared to take care of their own selves.  One group of people that ensures their own survival through events of this magnitude will be the Preppers.  They weren't born Preppers.  They became Preppers after realizing the value of having the wisdom and foresight to be prepared for disasters of any type and from any source. 

     I realize that this reads somewhat like a documentary about what led me to develop The Balanced Nutrition Best-By Date Tracking System.  Using this method of tracking food best-by dates gives our family peace of mind knowing that we are prepared to survive the pressure of an economic collapse, any natural disaster or even widespread civil unrest.  Interruption of the food supply chain is possible through an almost endless list of causes.  Some are complex, some are simple.  Any breakdown in the overall transportation system can have a dramatic effect on the quantity of food found on grocery store shelves.  Societal norms indicate that most people aren't interested in knowing how to prepare for a catastrophe such as a hurricane or earthquake.  Even fewer people care enough to prepare for a more far-reaching event such as the collapse of the monetary system, or even the dreaded attack of the Zombies.  There is even the possibility of effects consisting of longer duration such as those resulting from an electromagnetic pulse or EMP, whether it is caused by a solar flare or a man-made weapon.  There can be a crisis that can have major economic effects, such as an outbreak of civil unrest that leads to localized marshal law; failure of the regional electrical grid; contamination of the area's water supply; government overreach into our lives or several other SHTF events. 

     Now, some people don't care for listening to talk show hosts like Alex Jones because of their style of delivery on several of these topics.  However, if you get past their delivery style and search out the substance of the information from other reliable and responsible sources, you will find their information was actually quite accurate.  That is why they are so passionate about getting the truth out there.  The lies being fed to the American public through the main stream media are beyond astronomical.  Think of your family before an unexpected event impacts your lives.  Please prepare your balanced food pantry storage for yourself and your family while you can, before food becomes unavailable on the grocery store shelves.  Make sure that you have plenty of raw honey and purified drinking water in your food storage to go along with your beans and rice.

     In the past two years or so I have searched YouTube and the rest of the internet to gain more knowledge about having emergency food storage for my family.  During that time, I have watched videos on several dozen YouTube channels on food storage and food prepping and read hundreds of comments pertaining to those videos.  I have also watched several episodes of National Geographic's Doomsday Preppers, a show which I feel mocks people's foresight and wisdom to put up food for emergencies, be they natural or man-made.  The show portrays people with foresight as tinfoil hat-wearing fanatics.  In addition, ordinary people don't have $100,000 for having a bunker installed in the ground and then stocked with $50,000 of freeze dried foods. 
     I also studied the quality and content of information people say they have to share with others pertaining to emergency preps.  Unfortunately, a few people out there try to come across as wanting to help others, but ultimately, they are just another business franchise trying to get your money by psyching you up about doom and gloom and then selling you the product they're hawking.  However, there are also many more out there with sincere hearts trying to do good and help people to organize their emergency storage of food and other necessary items so their families will be safer and more comfortable for when an event takes place.  I applaud their efforts and commitment.  I believe that being prepared for any emergency situation is a very good thing.  History continues to show us, time and time again, that it is wise for everyone to have food stored to provide for continuity of nutrition to replace expended energy necessary to overcome adverse events.

     The Balanced Nutrition Best-By Date Tracking System that I have created is the only one available.  This Excel spreadsheet is not a template.  This is a standalone individual document that you will tailor to suite your own family's needs.  There will be no other to match it exactly. 
     Now, you always hear that you should have from three month's to a year's supply of food storage.  So just like most people, I thought I should find out what to prep with and I too, started buying some long shelf life food in #10 cans.  After buying a few items of the typical dehydrated and freeze-dried products, I began realizing that there was a huge date gap between using normal grocery items and the transition to consumption of long term storage food in the #10 cans.  That helped prompt me to develop my practical prepping spreadsheets. 

     The important thing is, using my food storage spreadsheet method will allow you to monitor your normal grocery store food storage as an active pantry controlled by best-by date monitoring.  This way, you can accumulate a year's worth or more of emergency-use food that consists entirely of foods you use every day.  There would be no need for storing large quantities of food in #10 cans until after you build your one year food supply.  Using my method, you wouldn't need ANY #10 cans to have your year's worth of a nutritionally balanced food supply, which makes accomplishing it that much more financially possible. 
     Having said that, I DO believe in having several #10 cans of long-term food products for your family's protection in case of a food shortage.  I'm not against having them or the 5 gallon Mylar bag buckets of food because of the nutritional security they provide for your family.  I believe in tapping into those supplies only after you have exhausted your year supply of normal grocery store food.  It would be interesting to see how a long-term cache of #10 cans and 5 gallon buckets would last using my way of tracking, and to see if the entire cache proved to be nutritionally balanced.  It would be easy to calculate the number of servings in each container, then apply it to my food spreadsheets under each food group to see how long the balanced meals would last.

     At this point, I realized how critical it was to have a nutritionally balanced food storage system.  I went to to see what the nutritional recommendations were.  While they gave you the number of servings of each of the five main food groups that you should have each day, they did not tell you the number of calories for each serving.  Consequently, I developed my own criteria using their 3,000 calorie recommended intake as my benchmark. 
     I started my food preps almost three years ago by purchasing some #10 cans of oatmeal and also some rice from the LDS Online Store.  I have less than a dozen cases in total.  I felt those would be helpful to extend whatever else I could assemble towards having a food storage pantry.  Both oatmeal and rice are good meal extenders and are important to have in one's food supplies.  A combination of beans and rice makes up a perfect protein, requiring no meat.

     I also do home canning to supplement my food storage.  I have a little over 200 quarts of home-canned vegetables and fruits at this writing.  While I feel that home canning while vegetables are readily available is a great asset to food storage, the shelf life becomes an important issue to recognize.  I myself have no qualms about eating my own canned food that is up to three years old.  Of course, I look at each jar and make sure the top pops the vacuum when I open it, then I smell the product, but I do that regardless of the age of it.  I haven't had any bad ones yet, but I always check to be safe. 
     While I am a strong advocate of home canning, I also believe in adding to my food supplies with store-bought canned goods and a few long term food storage items as well.  At this point I decided against a large long-term storage consisting of hundreds of various entrees in #10 cans.  I admit that I do have 200 pounds of rice stored in canning jars and one-gallon Mylar bags along with oxygen absorbers because I expect to be feeding many members of my family should we experience a natural or man-made event.  I also do canning dry foods of all types.  I have come to believe that a food supply from a variety of sources will be the most advantageous to have for preparation of near-normal meals. 

     There is good canned food in grocery stores that has best-by dates in excess of three years.  Most canned or boxed food for cooking has at least a year of shelf life.  That means that it is possible to build your food storage from "normal" food and over a reasonable time, accumulate a year's worth if you use my spreadsheet to monitor the Best-By Dates.  Think that will cost a lot of money?  Check out the price of a #10 can of freeze-dried or dehydrated food and you will see that accumulating the "normal" food from grocery store shelves is much, much cheaper and you will accumulate a year's worth much faster.  After you get two or three months of canned and boxed goods stored, you can go for storing some dry foods such as beans, rice, pasta or lentils in canning jars or Mylar bags, both methods using oxygen absorbers (O2a) except for those with bulk sugar and salt in them.  I have put up the following items in quart canning jars with O2a's inside: pinto beans, navy beans, dark red kidney beans, light red kidney beans, black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans, black beans and white enriched rice.  My pure cane sugar, dark brown sugar and light brown sugar do not have O2a's in them as they will cause sugar and salt to solidify.  I also keep several of these items in regular size cans from the grocery store.  I believe redundancy can be a lifesaver in a catastrophic event, as well as just sometimes making it easier to just pull out a can of beans for quick use rather than use the soaking process for preparing dried beans. 
     Some people think it is a good idea to track the costs of your food supply items in order to see what effect inflation plays in food storage.  I completely disagree with doing that.  I think it is pointless and serves no real purpose other than to prove that food prices are going up, a fact that we all already know.  Not that I am well off and can afford everything I want, because I'm not and I can't, but a person has absolutely no ability to control the effect of inflation on their food storage.  What alternative do you have?  Not buy it?  Then what do you do for food?  I think it is more practical to grit your teeth and buy it at the price the store is asking, then at least you can feed your family.  Everything is getting to be more costly.  That is a fact.  What alternatives are there?  You can drive to another store and get the same food item for $0.07 cheaper per can, but theoretically, you just used a quarter gallon of gas at $3.55 a gallon.  Since you had to drive farther to get to that store, you will also have to drive back, which doubles the extra gas consumption to half a gallon.  That's potentially at least $1.77 in gas alone, let alone your time invested in that trip plus standing in a check-out line twice.  I suspect that most people won't be buying over ten cans of a particular product at a time, so the food cost savings is $0.70, and the extra gas cost you $1.07 more than that, which means you potentially wasted that amount of money going the extra mile as it were. 

     The above scenario is what I believe to be a typical shopping experience when trying to build up your food supplies without considering what would be the best way to do it.  Some people think that couponing is the way to go because of the savings reported on TV shows and YouTube channels.  I believe the stores that allow that to be filmed are doing it for free publicity and as a general rule, almost all stores have stopped allowing extreme couponing to take place.  When you watch a video segment, do you see any other people in the background that are as excited as the ones that are being filmed?  Of course not.  It's free advertising for the store!  You can see the ad signs in the aisles as well as the brand of products being purchased.  You can easily tell what store they're filming the show in.  No matter where you shop, take a few minutes to read your grocery store's rules on couponing and see how restrictive they have become in response to extreme couponing.  It's reality.  They simply aren't going to allow themselves to lose.  Having said that, if you actually do still have a store that does do that with coupons, shop fast before they change their rules!
     Another interesting aspect of food prepping is the categories of food that people track, such as grains, fats and oils, legumes, sugars, milk and cooking essentials.  Not meaning to diminish the value of that for them, if that's their preference it's fine, but it just doesn't work for me.  Of all the sites that I viewed for methods of food tracking, none seemed to be the right fit for me.  I saw that many sites used spreadsheet lists already offered by other sites, yet they would lead you to believe the list was "theirs," when in reality it was a copy of other people's work.  Some even create documents in MS Excel and then try to sell them at low cost.  That's a bad deal in my book.  If you can use their document effectively, then you already have the ability to create your own spreadsheets.  It's not rocket science. 

     Of all the sites that I have reviewed, most people did not try to claim the work of others.  Most gave due recognition to the fact that theirs was a modification of other's work that was available through YouTube or Google Searches.  That's fine with me because I, too, have scoured the Internet for methods to track food supplies.  I began with spreadsheet data comprised of some very complex MS Excel spreadsheet formulas from others online for determining the length of time a food supply will last.  I dismissed those and developed new spreadsheet criteria of my own.  My spreadsheet is in a format that provides all of the data I wanted.  The result is my own original work that I used to create The Balanced Nutrition Best-By Date Tracking System, not found anywhere else.
Standardized Adult Caloric Intake Calculations

Food Group

Total Calories On Hand

Calories Per Adult per Day

Number of Adults

Total Adult Calories per Day Required

Days of Food Supply

Months of Food Supply











































     I was determined to have a well-balanced food supply that affords me and my family the opportunity to select from many food items in order to prepare meals from our supplies comprised of the five main food groups as published at  That way, meals won't be boring when disaster strikes.  Many people think that nothing will ever happen to disrupt food delivery to the grocery stores.  We need to plan ahead for bad situations so that we're less vulnerable to them.

     In my humble opinion, it is not a good choice to use the grand total of calories stored as the basis of how long a food supply will last.  I think that is a nutritionally dangerous method, yet that is exactly how I did it before developing my current method.  The main goal for my endeavor was to closely identify what the adult caloric intake per day should be for each of the five food groups based on the recommendations found on the website.  Since the specific information I sought was not available on the internet, I made it my goal to develop my own criteria.  The numbers were critical in order to have a "live" document that automatically compiles data from the inventory of each of the five food groups in my spreadsheets and calculates the number of months that each group in my food supply will last.  I have quite successfully accomplished that goal. 
     Having done that, I can now monitor my caloric inventory and know that I have a well balanced food supply on hand.  One thing that was brought to light by this experience is the fact that I needed to increase my own fruit and vegetable inventories by more than three times their current caloric value to achieve a balanced food supply.  Simply monitoring the total calories I had stored completely masked the situation.  The calories of proteins and grains far surpassed those of fruits and vegetables that I had in my supply.  I suspect that most people who store food for emergencies of any type would find this to be the case for their own food storage if they currently only track total caloric value.  Their actual storage could be drastically unbalanced nutritionally, as mine was, until I acquired more of the foods needed to balance it.  My food storage shortfall would not have been discovered at all had I not undertaken this mathematical calorie quest.

     Application of the guidelines published in for a 3,000-calorie diet against the foods I had in my food groups at that time allowed me to develop a 2,858 daily caloric requirement based on the five food groups.
     I took the caloric value of one serving and divided that into the total calories I had on hand for each particular food group to find the average daily recommended calorie intake for those groups.  The simple math results are as follows:

1.  The average caloric value in the 17 different items we had for daily fruit servings with a total caloric value of 9,515 was 560.
2.  The average caloric value in the 43 different items we had for daily vegetable servings with a total caloric value of 19,956 was 464.

3.  The average caloric value in the 77 different items we had for daily protein servings with a total caloric value of 37,383 was 485.
4.  The average caloric value in the 54 different items we had for daily grain servings with a total caloric value of 33,967 was 629.

5.  The average caloric value in 1 daily dairy serving with a total caloric value of 720 is 720.  Dairy is a challenging group to prepare for due to short shelf life issues.
     When considering all the above information, the 142-calorie variance between the published guidelines for a 3,000-calorie diet and my actual results is quite insignificant.  Furthermore, my basic food group calorie calculations do not include foods such as vegetable oils, mayonnaise, salad dressings, butter, olive oil, jams and jellies, etc., so these foods will all accent the caloric intake.

     My emergency food storage calculation chart that I showed in a preceding paragraph is right on the mark for computing my food storage needs.  Specifically, the number of months a food supply will last using a balanced diet of 2,858 calories per adult per day.  The goal should be to have the numbers in the "Months of Food Supply" column all about the same.  The smallest number in that column will indicate a balanced food supply for the shortest length of time.  After that point, you can run into nutrition problems.  When my calculations for the daily adult caloric intake from each of the five food groups is compared against the Government's dietary recommendations at, my results equate to 95.3% of the Government's total caloric recommendations for a 3,000-calorie daily intake.  For compliance with a simple recommendation, that's close enough for me!
     Consequently, the "Months of Food Supply" column  will show when I need to purchase more food for a particular food group in order to maintain the balance for the number of months my stored food will last.  The numbers in the column for "Months of Food Supply" on hand should be relatively close to being equal.  The closer, the better, and the longer the better.  Remember, your food supply is only balanced for the shortest amount of time shown.  One of the benefits of my method is that it shows the food groups that need additional supplies to balance the entire supply.

     I chose to only calculate active adult caloric needs because they will be greatest and we will probably be doing more physical labor as a result of whatever event takes place.  I count each child as a grown adult.  That provides a small source of back-up calories for unforeseen events, such as visitors or assisting a neighbor in your community, both of which would have to be of very short duration unless you plan ahead of time to support them for an extended period.
     I have not found a good way to put a copy of this spreadsheet online for people to download it directly for their own use.  Google Docs is definitely not the solution for accomplishing that.  For me it was a miserable, tedious mess that corrupted the data when it was uploaded in there, so I'm not using it. 

     A copy of my spreadsheet is available to all for personal use but specifically not to be used for monetary gain.  My practical prepping spreadsheets include my home-canned foods as well as vacuum canned dry foods.  Just use my email address below and send me a message with "Spreadsheet" as the subject line, and simply request a copy.  I'll send it to you with no BS attached or required.  There are NO costs, NO gimmicks, NO memberships and NO subscriptions of any type involved.  I'm doing this to help other likeminded folks who care about their family's food supply and physical well-being during a time of crisis as well as every day.  Email me at:

     Remember, these food items on the spreadsheet are from a previous copy of my own food storage tracker, so you will need to develop your own.  I recommend saving (File, Save) the one I send to you as a sample in Excel, then make a copy of it with your own document title (File, Save As) and adjust that one as necessary or desired.  Of course at some point you would delete all the foods that I have in there.  I would suggest that you leave mine in place until you get at least five or six items of your own of each group in there and are comfortable using it.  Change the font color for your own information that you are inputting.  That might visually help you get accustomed to this spreadsheet sooner.  After you're used to the spreadsheet, delete my rows of information and change the font color of your data back to black.  It's less expensive to print and the black cartridges last much longer than the color ones. 
     Some of the benefits of tracking your food storage this way and things that I have discovered for myself are as follows:

     You can print out any named tab in this Excel document and use it as a shopping guide for that category of product.
     You will find that as you build your supply by best-by dates, when you go to buy additional food and take a copy of your spreadsheet with you for reference, you will see that some of the best-by dates on the store shelf items will arrive sooner than the dates on the same products you already have.  I normally shop in the same grocery store, so when that situation occurs, I don't buy the on-the-shelf product because I consider it to be "seconds" from some other source.  It just couldn't be stored in a warehouse all together, and then all of a sudden be on the same store shelf and be five or six months apart on the best-by dates.  It could have been sitting in a hot truck or railcar for all that time.  That's NOT a food that I would buy for my storage.  I feel like the quality has potentially been compromised somewhere along the delivery route.  Thank you just the same but I'll wait until a new best-by date is shown that is farther out by at least a month than what I already have in my storage.  I might have to wait three weeks or so for it to change to an acceptable date, but I'm willing to wait in order to keep the newest foods possible on my shelves.  Using my food storage tracking system allows you to not "have to" buy these products at this time. Since you're only adding it to your existing supply, you really aren't pressured into buying it now.  I didn't know this situation could happen so frequently until I began tracking the dates.  And I do mean frequently!  Best-By Dates are more important than one would think. 

     Let's say that you have three of the same item and size, but different best-by dates, so there are three entries in the spreadsheet.  If you use the spreadsheet in the way it is intended,  you should always consume the product with the earliest best-by date first.  If you try to maintain can rotation using the first-in first-out system (FIFO) that everyone talks about but don't monitor these best-by dates, the FIFO system really lets you down.  You will have various best-by dates all intermingled in the racks throughout your product's inventory.  Marking down the purchase date on a can has absolutely nothing to do with product longevity when compared with monitoring best-by dates, and therefore it has no value to me. 
     Now the advantage of taking a copy of your spreadsheet with you when grocery shopping is that when you go to buy any replacement product, you can look at it and see if the best-by date on the product on the store shelf is farther out than the date of your last purchased product of that type and size container.  If the store shelf product has a date that occurs before the date of the farthest out date of that item in your inventory, then don't buy it.  It's been transferred from somewhere and re-shipped to the store you shop in. 

     When you deplete an item's quantity, delete the cell content for the best-by date and quantity only.  Then, when you click on Data and select Sort, you highlight that entire food group and then sort by selecting Column C as the criteria, and it puts all the blank best-by date cells at the bottom of that particular food group.  There's your shopping list organized by food group!  Remember that you only sort each food group list individually.  I like to keep four blank lines past the last item in a food group so I can write-in the names of additional products I would like to buy.
     I buy at least four of whatever product I selected, as that quantity seems to work conveniently for my family.  You may choose another quantity that suits yours.  It's a good method to build your food storage without breaking the bank.  Case sales of vegetables late in the year may be a good thing, but check the best-by dates.  They may be not as far into the future as one might hope for, and you might be buying "leftovers" with short shelf lives. 

     Another benefit of using my practical prepping spreadsheet as a shopping list is that you can write in a product’s information and quantities purchased while you are in the store if you don't already have it on your list.  Then later at home, you can enter the data into your computer without having to handle one of each product again to read the label.  It's much less effort expended that way, and that's how I do my own.  If the item is a same-size replacement, all you need to enter is the best-by date and the quantity purchased.  The other information has been previously entered by you in your original purchase of the item.  Just because a product shelf is full in the grocery store, doesn't mean it's all new.  There may be as many as 3 or 4 best-by dates for a particular product.  Check EACH CAN before you put it in your shopping cart. 
     Several of the food items I utilize for my own storage may seem repetitious, such as Hormel Corned Beef Hash for instance.  I chose that product because I like it, plus, it is a high calorie and high protein food.  Additionally, Hormel's web site stipulates that if their product is in a can that has not been dented or compromised in any way and the can is not swollen, their product will last indefinitely.  That makes it a good choice in my opinion. 

     An important side benefit of using my system is that it provides a caloric reference by serving and container.  By checking those, you may decide what higher calorie items you may want to stock up on first.
     Another item of interest that becomes more exposed when using my spreadsheet method is the trickery of the manufacturers.  I track the number of servings in a can as well as the weight.  I recently found that Vienna Sausage has reduced the serving size as well as the weight per can.  Vienna sausage is still a good food storage choice because you don't have to cook it and it requires no refrigeration.  I know manufacturers do this all the time and it's nothing new, but it still irritates me when they reduce size and quantity but at the same time increase the cost of the product.  But, like I pointed out earlier, what are you going to do? Not buy it and teach the manufacturer a lesson? I don't think so. 

PRINTING.  Personally, before I print any of my Excel documents, I set my printer quality to "fast draft" in order to save ink.  I print out my entire workbook with ALL the tabs every two weeks or so.  That allows me to have an updated hard copy ready to convert to manual pencil and paper entries for when the electrical grid goes down.  I also recommend keeping several spiral notebooks of various sizes in your emergency supplies.  Additionally, a good supply of reliable pens and some packages of good quality pencils with extra erasers would be excellent to have in your storage supplies.  A few packs of large index cards could be very handy as well.  Don't forget at least a couple of pencil sharpeners in case one breaks or gets lost.
     I have talked primarily about food storage for the system I have created.  The non-food worksheet tabs in the Excel document I assembled from online suggestions given while watching some very excellent YouTube Channels such as:
     Bexar (Bear) Prepper at  ;  

     southernprepper1 at  ;  and
     I highly recommend you visit their channels to learn the correct ways to be truly prepared for ANY emergency.  These are people that are committed to helping others.  

     In my non-food spreadsheets, I include simple lists of things that would be comforting to have to see you through many types of situations.  Some of these items may not be preferred by everyone.  All I'm trying to do is increase all of our planning awareness to be able to take care of all of our families during any event. 

     You are free to do whatever you wish to with this information, except to use it for monetary gain.  To prevent that from happening, I have submitted my original work portion contained herein to the U.S. Copyright Office for registration. 
     If you like what I am willing to share with you, please feel free to use it as it is completely free.  If you don't like it, don't use it and don't tell me why you don't like it because that would serve no purpose.  I am firmly set in using it the way I have designed it.  I won't entertain negative comments with a reply, nor will those comments even be seen by the public.  They will be removed by the Comment Moderator.  The only thing that I have to gain from doing this is the knowledge and satisfaction that I have sincerely tried to help my fellow man in the quest for a happy life. 

     "I want to make it perfectly clear that I assume no responsibility or liability for using any of the data, suggestions or information that I have assembled and provided for non-compensatory use.  You are solely liable and responsible for your own decisions and actions or inactions through its use!"  By using my spreadsheet to build your own personal version, you accept the terms and conditions of the preceding statement.
     To use Excel to track your food storage, you must know how to do the following:

*    Create simple formulas

*    Amend formulas and cell content using the F2 key

*    Link cells

*    Use AutoSum

*    Copy sheet rows

*    Change row font color

*    Sort worksheet data by selecting "Column C" with "No Header Row" selected in the popup box

*    To use F2 to create a formula in a cell with a number already in it, press F2, Home, =, End, then + or - your numeric data and press Enter.

*    Highlight the ENTIRE row when sorting, not just the filled cells.

    I hope this information will be helpful to those who choose to check it out.  A basic ability to use Microsoft Excel would be very useful to you.  I cannot provide that, so each person has to have, or needs to learn, the basics of using spreadsheets for themselves.  Here is a free Microsoft tutorial site link for Excel:

     Here are some foods that I buy from WalMart because of price and Best-By Dates.  I realize that they probably contain BPA's, GMO's and are not organic, so I would appreciate you not bringing that issue up.  Look, I know the air is polluted but I still choose to breathe.  We have to make tough decisions sometimes.  In case these items are of help to those just starting their food preps, or perhaps if they give ideas to those already doing it, I want to provide the product identification for you:
*    Sun Maid Raisins in 6-pack individual serving boxes (Individual serving size is a big asset for avoiding dirty hands reaching into your large container food supply.  Avoids contamination.)

*    Del Monte Sliced Bartlett Pears in Syrup (you'll need the energy. More in syrup than in water, however, you can drink the water for hydration.)

*    Sliced Pineapple in its own juice

*    Green Giant Cream Style Sweet Corn (good for use in enhancing cornbread flavor and texture!)

*    Bruce's Candied Yams (multi-year shelf life)

*    Glory Seasoned Collards (very tasty for canned collards)

*    Sliced Honey Carrots

*    Canned Sliced Potatoes (for frying)

*    Canned Diced Potatoes (for soups)

*    Jif Natural Peanut Butter or your preferred brand (Don't buy many at once because it lasts a long while.  Buy how many you would use in a month plus one jar.  Repeat this for a few months and you will end up with a good supply that has staggered best-by dates.) 

*    Planters Dry Roasted Lightly Sea Salted Peanuts

*    Chef Boyardee Beef Mini Ravioli

*    Spaghettios with Meatballs

*    A variety of Hormel Canned Products

*    Hormel Corned Beef Hash (a personal favorite)

*    Original Treet (for slicing then frying.  It's the equivalent of Spam but is much less expensive.)

*    Bush's Best Pinto Beans in Chili Sauce

*    Goya Brand Premium Garbanzo Beans with Low Sodium (Found in the Latino food aisle of WalMart.  The last cans I bought in March of 2013 had Best-By Dates of February 2018!)

*    DAK Canned Ham in 1 pound can (Can be found in 3-packs at Sam's or BJ's.)

*    Welch's Natural Strawberry Spread

*    Sliced Mushrooms in a jar (not stems and pieces)

*    Elbow Macaroni to store in quart canning jars

*    Spaghetti noodles

*    Diced Tomatoes with Garlic and Onion

*    Del Monte Can of Garlic and Onion Pasta Sauce (less water than Hunt's)(Del Monte is currently 94 cents for a big can at "our" WalMart.)

*    Pure Cane Sugar (Store in Mylar bags or canning jars with NO oxygen absorbers [O2a].  I use glass canning jars because they are tough.  Plastic allows air to pass through.  O2a makes sugar or salt solidify.)

*    BIC cigarette lighters (two 4 packs at least!  More if you can afford it.  I like several packs that contain 4 or 5 lighters in case they leak out.  Don't buy off-brand types as they are more prone to have problems.)

*    Wood Strike on Box matches kept in closed used and cleaned plastic peanut butter jars to keep dry.  Additionally, I put my boxes inside a zip lock sandwich bag before putting them into the jars.  (being plastic, if the jar falls, it shouldn't break, but even if it does, the sandwich bag will still keep the matches dry.)

*    Distilled Vinegar and Apple Cider Vinegar.  Make sure they are 5% acidity.  You will need them for home canning some foods.  Glass jugs are best.  I'm buying glass half-gallon jugs to transfer the vinegar into for storage.  It lasts indefinitely that way.

IMPORTANT:  FEEL ALL THE CANS YOU ARE GOING TO BUY AS YOU PUT THEM IN YOUR BASKET.  DON'T BUY ANY CANS THAT ARE DENTED ON THE SIDES OR THE SEAMS.  I alternately spin the ends of mine in my hands with my fingertips feeling for any deformed areas. It's a very accurate way of detecting dents or deformities in the cans.
     ALSO, don't be shy!  Ask the cashier to be gentle with your cans as you have picked out cans without dents because they are for a food pantry.  Your own!  They have always complied with my requests with no questions or comments.  Better still, shop in a store that has self-checkout aisles and bag them yourself!

DRINKING WATER:    "Clorox Regular Bleach" is no longer being manufactured.  In seeking new guidance on water purification efforts, I contacted the Clorox folks.  The following is an excerpt from the reply I received in April 2013 from Clorox when I asked them how to use their product for water purification after "Clorox Concentrated Regular Bleach" was introduced into the market:
     "In case of an emergency, we recommend boiling water for 1 minute. When boiling is not possible, we recommend filtering water to let suspended particles settle out. Pour off the clear water and add Clorox Concentrated Bleach - Regular Scent as follows:
40 drops Clorox Concentrated Bleach - Regular Scent per 5 gallons water

8 drops Clorox Concentrated Bleach - Regular Scent per 1 gallon water
2 drops Clorox Concentrated Bleach - Regular Scent per 1 quart water

Wait 30 minutes. The water should have a slight chlorine odor. If not, repeat dose and wait 15 minutes, then sniff again. Use only Clorox Concentrated Bleach - Regular Scent, not scented bleach.
Again, thank you for contacting us."

     I had to put that excerpt in there because life depends on good water purification practices.  REMEMBER THAT CLOROX CONCENTRATED BLEACH - REGULAR SCENT ONLY HAS A SIX MONTH SHELF LIFE. In this case, I absolutely subscribe to the practice of writing the purchase date on the bleach container!  The manufacturer's info on the jugs is too difficult to translate into a simple calendar date.
     In closing, I am only sharing my views on these areas of food storage and prepping.  They are just that.  My views.  I am not in any way suggesting that someone else's way is wrong, it just doesn't suit my needs or preferences.  I hope my copyrighted information is helpful to others out there, either those just beginning to prep as well as those who are seasoned preppers.  Perhaps it might inspire them to modify how they track their storage to better serve their families. 

     I want to point out again that I have nothing to sell, and I do not allow advertising of any kind on my blog, now or ever.  I promote no products and receive no items for free or at a reduced cost to provide a review either. 
     Thank you for reading this information that I feel is necessary for me to share with you. 

God Bless America, and good luck to all!


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