I urge everyone in light of the economic instability to please see to it that you have at least several months worth of food stored in your house. But how do you know how much you really have? I just want to share a quick way to estimate what you have so you can see where you are.
Step one: Open your cupboards and pantries and count all your boxes and cans and bottles and jars. Do not count juices, or condiments (such as honey or pepper). Do count canned milk of any kind and packages of Jello or pudding. Count every 6 ounces or so of peanut butter as one. (So you would count an 18 oz jar as three.) Count every 4 ounces of crackers/chips, cereal, pasta, flour or dried potatoes as one. Same thing with dried fruit and nuts. Include what is in your fridge. Count every four ounces of meat, cheese, dried milk as one. Once you have counted, divide by three. This is how many person days of food you have on hand. Divide by how many people are in your family. This gives you a rough estimate of how many days worth of food you have.
Step two: Is not to simply add to your boxes and cans. Step two is to balance what you have. If you have 20 boxes of pasta, do you have enough canned tomatoes or pasta sauce to go with it or enough cheese to make mac and cheese? Do you need butter or cooking oil to make use of what you have? Are you loaded with cereal, but no canned/powdered milk? Do you have flour but not enough, yeast, baking soda/powder, or salt to match it? Are you low on condiments, spices? Balance your stores so that you are able to make use of what you already have.
Step three: Consider nutritional balance and variety and fill in gaps. For example, if you are loaded with beans, add fruits and vegetables. Consider juices which can fill in nutritional gaps especially for young children.
Step four: Once you have a balanced store for any period of time, begin to increase it, being careful to maintain the balance.