I added 10 items to our stockpile yesterday when I went to Walmart. Six of these items were only a dollar each and provide around 600 calories each. That works out to 0.16 cents per calorie. As you can see in the picture above, these were Knorr’s pouches of flavored noodles or rice. I also purchased two cans of corned beef hash and two cans of pulled pork. Let’s look at my thinking behind these purchases, how much they cost, and how many calories they provided.
Pouches of Food
I purchased the rice and noodle pouches primarily to replace the older pouches I removed from my bugout bag, one of which we have already eaten. Of the six pouches, three went into the bugout bag and three went into my grab and go food box #2. The intent of these boxes is that they are pre-packed with food and can be grabbed and loaded into the car if you have to bug out. In addition to enough food to last a couple weeks, (oatmeal, MRE entrées, canned stew, rice and beans, lentils, Power Bars, nut and dried fruit mix, Spam, MRE drink mixes, etc.) these boxes include military mess kits, lighters, a small water filter, a stove, and some fuel.
I like the noodle pouches because they are inexpensive and flavorful. That’s important because when you are bugging out, you probably won’t have spices with you. Most pouches offer more than 600 calories and make enough food for two big servings. That’s twice as many calories as most MRE entrées. While these come in pouches, they should not be confused with MREs. The pouches are nowhere near as tough, nor do they extend the shelf life. (The best by dates on these is 13 to 16 months away.) I think of them as a poor-man’s alternative to a pouch of freeze-dried meals, such as beefaroni or chilimac. Sure, they won’t store as long and don’t contain meat, but you can buy eight or more for the same cost as one freeze-dried meal. I plan on stocking a few more.
I’ve written before about how I believe corned beef hash is an excellent item for your prepper pantry. It is calorically dense and includes a nice mix of protein, fat and carbs. At 640 calories per can, it costs one third of a cent per calorie. It doesn’t hurt that we also like the taste and we crack open a can at least one per month.
I was surprised to find that the Great Value brand at my local Walmart, which had been only $1.74 per can, had jumped to $1.98. That’s a 12 percent price increase since my visit in November. It is still cheaper than the Mary’s Kitchen brand from Hormel, but 12 percent is a whopping price increase.
I went to the canned meat section looking for canned turkey, but they didn’t have any. I considered buying canned beef until I saw the pork. We already have more canned beef than pulled pork, so I bought two cans of the pork. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized it was in barbecue sauce and not plan pork. That wasn’t what I expected, but it’s OK.
The pork was $3.48 per can. The 12-ounce can has only about 400 calories in it, making each calorie cost 0.87 cents. On a per-calorie basis, this was my most expensive purchase, but I still think I will buy more on my next trip. This is a good addition to our canned meat shelf. Best of all, this has a best by date three years in the future. The date on the hash is only two years down the road.
I spent $16.92 to add 10 items to my prepper storage pantry. That’s 5,680 calories, meaning the average cost per calorie was 0.3 cents. That’s enough calories to keep two people fed for two days. In a post-SHTF scenario, I would expect to serve the hash with eggs from our chickens and the pulled pork on home-made bread or over rice or pasta. That would extend the calories further.
While I was out, I bought a medium pizza , which cost about $10. It fed me for two meals. From a prepping standpoint, I would have been better off using that money to buy three more cans of pulled pork.
People who complain they cannot afford to prep should look at where their money is going. Are you buying pizza instead of prepping food? Are you spending money on bad habits like smoking or vaping? How much do you spend every month on streaming services? Prepping is a lifestyle and a choice. Choose wisely.