Tuesday, June 14, 2016

72 Hour kits - the food

Back in April and October, around the first week (General Conference time), we rotate our 72 hour kits. Mostly just the food. (The other things don't need much rotation - occasionally, we'll update the medicines and the kids clothes get rotated down as they grow.)

Usually, my husband and I handle the rotation and the figuring out what I need to buy. Then, I do the shopping (trying to think of ideas for the things we rotated out and no one would eat). We work together to unload all 7 bags (with 3 food bags each) and reload those 21 food bags back into the 7 backpacks. We've tried to include the kids before, but instead of it being a learning experience, it was just chaos.

This year, I decided to do that with the kids...results would be uncertain. But they are older (ages 6 to 13) and hopefully could handle following directions this time?

How it went:
My husband and I had already distributed each person's bags around the table and evaluated what needed to be replaced. (I purchased these things and and had them available before the kids and I did the rotation.)

  • Everyone sat around our big table and unloaded their food bags in front of them.
  • We pulled out all food that was already expired or that would expire before our next rotation (6 months later). Some things get rotated every 6 months, other things last longer.
  • These soon to be expired foods went to the center of the table.
  • Then we went through each type of item (poptarts, crackers, fruit, "main dish", etc) that I had bought and replenished each person's piles.
  • We checked the dates of each item in their kits and each child wrote on a notecard what would need to be replaced next time. (This will make creating a shopping list easier - I can shop without having to unload all the bags first.)
  • Everyone loaded into bags and containers what was supposed to be in each.
  • Bags and containers went back into the backpacks, zipped up, and done.

Our menu: (for each day)
Breakfast - 1 pack of (2) poptarts
Snack - 1 can of fruit (canned, plastic containers sometimes spoil before 6 months is up)
Lunch -  vienna sausages (for my kids. We have soup), crackers* & PB (no PB for me)
(*sometimes I buy those filled crackers, "nabs" by dad used to call them, lance is a popular brand now)
Snack - granola bar or fruit/grain bar or rice krispie treat
Supper - Canned dinner (pasta, beef stew, spaghttiOs, etc)

I list 2 snacks, but in the actual time of eating, those could be eaten as part of one of the 3 meals instead. We change the food from time to time depending on what the kids are willing to eat and how much things cost and what "convenience foods" there are available that season.

----I've never done anything that couldn't be eaten right out of the bag before (because I wanted to be prepared for being in an evacuation facility without the ability to cook), but I decided to throw in ramen this time because it's something I know my kids will eat, and if nothing else, maybe I could convince them to eat it like a crunchy snack?

----The biggest thing in selecting food that will last at least 6 months and is something I know my family will eat! Not only for if it's needed, but also for when it's rotated in 6 months.

Rotate every time: poptarts, granola bars, cereal bars, rice krispie treats, crackers (ritz, nabs/lance, any kind)

Everything else rotates at date. (If it expires in March and my next rotation is in April, it gets pulled out and replaced. If it lasts until May, I'll rotate it out in April.)

 And we all get a big water bottle per day. (Also have a canopener in each bag, spoons, and wet wipes.) I won't go into all the other non-food, but these are related to food items.

Right now, this is how we pack it. Things that squish easily are put into old containers (like yogurt containers, sour cream containers, anything that holds its shape). Things that have a hard container (like a metal can) or like ramen that is better smashed anyways just go in a bag by day. (Day 1, 2, and 3) The things packed in yogurt containers have 3 of each item, so we just know it's 1 per day of these things.

I've bought a gallon plastic container with a twist on lid and I'm going to see if I can fit everything squishable into that and if it is better for space.

There are hundreds of ways to do 72 hour kits and hundreds of opinions on what to include. I'm posting this to be another idea out there that might help someone trying to find ideas on what to buy or how to store it.