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Food Planning

Food Planning Can Be Simple

Perhaps Food Planning is not a favorite subject among those responsible to feed their families. However, to properly Prepare For Later, it will help if some planning is done ahead of time.

Since you do not really know which meal will be the first one you will need to eat under emergency conditions or how many meals you will need, we suggest making a plan for a full week of meals, snacks and desserts.

Checkmark for Advanced Material If you are up to it, plan for a whole month, 90 days or even a full year. After a while, repeating days makes it simple to just expand your calendar to be as big as you want.

To make this easy for you, we have created a table as shown below and there should be one for each meal that you plan. Fill in the boxes on the right side of the table as explained below and as shown on the Sample Three Day Meal Schedule at the bottom of this page. 

   Name of Meal



Prepare & Serve






To help in filling out the Meal Planning Table, consider the following:

  • Menu  - Perhaps, the food you would eat during an emergency will not match what you normally would have. However, there are some creative ways to provide delicious, nutritious food to your family. In this section, you will list all the food for that meal.
  • Prepare & Serve - Not only do you need a plan to store the food, it is a good idea to consider how you would prepare and serve food to your family. By doing this preparation, you might uncover some more things that you should be storing. Needless to say, to properly prepare a meal requires some forward thinking. Some of the things for you to consider are as follows:
    • Bowls  - You will need various sizes of bowls to mix parts of your meals. You will also need a bowl to rinse off utensils as you prepare foods so they can quickly be reused. Be sure not to rinse utensils that were used on raw meats in a bowl that will be used to rinse other utensils. If a bowl will have something extra hard to clean, consider lining the bowl with foil, plastic or waxed paper. You will also need bowls or large pots to wash dishes.
    • Cloths  - Make sure you have enough Pot Holders, Dish Cloths, Aprons and other cloths as needed for preparation.
    • Cooking equipment - Consider each meal of each day and the means to cook the food that needs it. This would include such things as stoves, ovens, roasters, Dutch ovens, Buddy Burners, Hobo Stoves, and more.
    • Cutting board - This needs to be a clean surface. Make sure that if you will be cutting raw meat on a cutting board, that you have another one for cutting other foods.
    • Fuels  - Be sure to have all the kinds of cooking fuels that you will need. If one of those is firewood, make sure to have the tools to chop it as needed.
    • Lighting needs - If you will be preparing meals when the sun is not shining, make sure you will have enough light to do the job.
    • Pans  - Plan ahead to have the correct pans available when they are needed. Make sure they are not going to be tied up with another use at that time. To ease the cleanup process, use foil as needed to line pans.
    • Paper products - If paper towels will help with meal preparation, plan for them. It might be better to use paper towels to dry dishes and hands than to use cloth towels because of limited laundry abilities.
    • Platters  - These consist of plates (even paper plates) and cookware that are used in food preparation. Be sure to have enough platters to meet your needs. For example, raw meat or chicken may be on a platter but the same platter should not be used to hold the cooked meat.
    • Recipes  - Make sure you know how to fix all the foods that you have planned.
    • Source of fire - If you need to light a fire to cook with, make sure to have matches or other fire sources. We do not recommend that you store any kind of liquid or gas fueled lighters.
    • Thermometer  - Sometimes certain foods need to be raised to the correct temperature before they are to be consumed.
    • Timer  - If any of your meals have dishes that need to be timed, make sure you have a way to determine their cooking times.
    • Utensils  - It is nice to have various tools for meal preparation such as knives, peelers, whips, ladles, spoons, openers and whatever else will be needed to prepare the meal.
    • Zippered plastic bags  - These are useful in mixing foods together without spilling them. They are especially useful if a bowl is not available or even if one is available but the ability to clean it would be too costly. They can also be used to store food from one meal to the next. 
  • Cleanup  - This is not usually discussed in  preparedness literature. However, as explained here and elsewhere on this web site, there are some serious considerations on the subject.
  • Store  - It is not enough to just plan the meals, but you will need to consider how you will store all the food supplies needed to make each meal a total success.

We have defined that a typical day would require 3 meals, an afternoon snack and a dessert. Below we point to pages that provide a set of sample meals for three days. We would encourage you to study our samples and then create your own for as many days as you can. Learn from the details that we supply as we think things through for you and your family.

One thing you might consider is that if your emergency leaves you at home without power, your cold and frozen foods may not stay that way for long. For this reason, you might consider using those up in the early days of your emergency.

Below are some links to Three Sample One Day Meal Schedules. For our samples, we chose to use a burner to cook with and it would work with any of the kinds of burners that we show. However, you could also plan to cook with other devices such as:

  • Barbecue
  • Charcoal
  • Dutch oven
  • Electric Range (if electricity is available)
  • Natural Gas Range (if gas is available)
  • Open Fire with Skewers
  • Solar Oven (if the sun is shining)

Click here for Sample Day 1 Meals

Click here for Sample Day 2 Meals

Click here for Sample Day 3 Meals


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