Forget the Rice and Beans

Recently by Tess Pennington: The 10 Rules for Your Emergency Food Pantry

Did you know that we need a daily intake of fat in our diet to survive? Despite what health organizations say about eliminating fats from our diet, in a SHTF reality, this food source will actually serve a purpose in our survival.

Bear in mind, a 2,000 calorie per day diet equals 67 grams fat and 75 grams protein per day. 30-35 percent of those calories should come from a fat source. No matter how afraid we are of fats, having substantial fat sources in our storage is vital. Here’s why:

  1. Fats are an essential component in any diet for proper vitamin absorption. Specifically, Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble, meaning they can only be digested, absorbed, and transported in conjunction with fats.
  2. Fats also plays a vital role in maintaining healthy skin and hair, insulating body organs against shock, maintaining body temperature, and promoting healthy cell function.
  3. They also serve as energy stores for the body.
  4. Fats are also sources of essential fatty acids, which are an important dietary requirement and also serves as a useful buffer towards a host of diseases. (Source)
  5. Fats are one of the 4 Things You Must Eat To Avoid Malnutrition.

The following are some fat source considerations for you to add to your short and long-term food storage:

  • Infant formula – Baby formula doesn’t have to be used the way it was intended. The main source of fat in formulas is vegetable oil such as soy oil, palm oil or sunflower oil. Coconut oil is also used in some baby formulas. This would be a great item to store in case you need to fall back on it as a fat source. The only drawback of storing formula, is its short shelf life. An unopened can of powdered infant formula has a shelf life of 12 months. Once a can of formula has been opened, it should be used within a month and then discarded.
  • Ensure – This supplement drink has 6 grams of fat, which provides your body with 9 percent of the recommended daily intake. It is also packed with 24 essential vitamins which would be beneficial to you in a long-term emergency. If you decide to purchase this product, get the powdered canned version, the shelf life will last longer. Further, having this type of supplemental drink can also help an elderly family members or members of the family who are becoming vitamin deficient. Plan on a can of powdered Ensure to last the same as a can of infant formula, which is roughly about 12 months.
  • Oil (preferably plant based oils) – A general rule of thumb is the darker the oil the faster it will turn. Also, certain oils like sesame and flax, which are not processed heavily, will also go rancid rather quickly. A light colored oil, such as vegetable or olive oil can last up to a year, if stored properly. Once it’s opened, the oil could turn within a matter of weeks or months depending on how it was processed and the storage environment.
  • Peanut butter – Peanut butter has a shelf life of 1 year. Of course, if your family is anything like mine, peanut butter flies off the storage shelf.
  • Nuts and seeds – Because of the high oil content in nuts and seeds their shelf life is usually affected. Nuts and seeds typically last about 12 months. Therefore, planting your own or learning to forage in a natural environment can help you get some additional fats in your survival diet. Further, nuts can also be utilized as a flour alternative as well as a milk alternative, thus making it a tasty substitute for the real thing.
  • Crisco – A can of Crisco, is fairly cheap, and has a shelf life of 2-8 years depending on storage conditions. Though it is on the “naughty” list as far as unhealthy foods go, it can be useful in a shtf scenario. Aside from including it in your diet, you can also use the Crisco as an alternative oil source for lanterns and has also been known to help wet wood burn.

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Tess Pennington joined the Dallas chapter of the American Red Cross in 1999 Tess worked as an Armed Forces Emergency Services Center specialist and is well versed in emergency and disaster management and response. You can follow her regular updates on Preparedness, Homesteading, and a host of other topics at

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