Teenage Survival Part 3: Food

Planning for emergency food and water is your parent’s job right?  If your parents are not of the emergency preparedness mind set then it is up to you to make sure you and your family are prepared.  Are you a teenage survivalist?

Capt. Bart:
(But I am hungry) Survival rations are tricky if you don’t have input into the family’s supplies.  You won’t have a storage room set up Click to Enlargewith a year’s supply of food so what do you do?  Well as a start, FEMA (the government) says every American needs to have a three-day supply of food, medicines and water available.  There are even websites showing a large trash can (clean) packed with this food.  Most folks that won’t prepare will listen to the government so perhaps this is possible.  The photo to the right is to a poster that NASA sent to all of its employees.  That is a good start.

Whether or not your parents are on board with preparedness, you can look at food that you can stockpile yourself.  Jerky is a great protein source that keeps for at least one year.  It is also something that is light weight and can be used as an ingredient in a soup.  Trail mix is another source of good food that keeps for quite a while.  Diabetics (I am one) keep food bars/cubes to help stabilize blood sugar levels.  They keep for a long time and are a good supplement.  Peanut butter is another excellent source of easily stored food.  Just remember the food should be a mix of protein and carbohydrates if possible and require no cooking.  Cooking is great if you are able to do it but microwave popcorn probably is a poor choice as a survival food.  Also, use a marker to mark the date you bought the food and plan to rotate it every 2 (possibly 3) years.

This is one of those things that you are really going to need adult support for, unless you are providing your own food.  A lot of emergency preparedness for kidspeople can give you recommendations as to what to stock pile, but it is very difficult to buy anything without money.   If you are a teen who is old enough to have a job then this changes the dynamics a little bit.  My best recommendation is to talk with your parents and have examples of recent situations that have disrupted people’s lives around the world.  (Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Power Outages, War, etc)  What my family does for food is actually pretty neat.  My parents give me a certain amount of money for a pay period, and with that money I have to purchase all of the food that I plan on eating for breakfast and lunch. I am able to buy a little bit more than I need each pay period.  I put the extra food that I buy in the very back of the pantry as an emergency cache.  Obviously this is not the best way of doing things, the ideal situation would be if your parents had a year supply stored in a separate area.   Just remember, “Eat what you store, and store what you eat.

Capt Bart:
One of the advantages of groups like the scouts is that your local troop should have information on what is edible in your area.  The

Poison Hemlock in Bloom

various plants that you might find that can keep you alive are important to know.  It is also important to know what will kill you.  Just before I moved out of Arizona, a scout master was showing his boys the wild onions that they could eat.  Unfortunately, wild onions in bloom and hemlock in bloom can look a lot alike and he died. Fortunately none of the boys tried the plants but it was a fatal mistake.

Survival Plants
Wild Onion in Bloom

I can not recommend that you eat wild plants unless you can positively ID them.  I know what plants are edible in my area, but I don’t eat them in quantity or with any frequency.  It is better to be safe than sorry.  For good information on wild edibles take a look at Judy of the Woods’ website.

Capt Bart:
Another approach is backpacking food.  If you are into hiking and even overnight camps the food carried for these sports are a good choice for stockpiling.  Things like instant oatmeal, Ramen noodles, even Mac and Cheese are all long term storage items that do not raise immediate flags with parents.  Buying an extra can or box of your favorite snack may well be acceptable.  Just be sure the snack is storage friendly.  Storage in a “backpacking bin” for use on your trips allows you to have a stockpile without being one of those ‘weird’ kid types who worry folks who should know better.

Look at your hiking gear as well.  Yes, the plastic water bottles are great but an army surplus canteen with a metal cup that fits around the canteen gives you something to cook in as well as a water holder.  A signal whistle that contains a magnifying glass gives you a way to start a fire as well as a distress signal.  Some type of water filtration system (individual Aquamira bottles for example) to be carried on your backpacking trips are good.

There are a great many “health” foods out there as well that are suitable.  Bora Bora bars are delicious, keep a fairly long time and are good for you. Protein in any form is always good.  Student athletes always need to watch their dietary needs and many of the foods used to strengthen folks for vigorous sports are also suitable for storage.  Remember the key is to get what you will eat.  Don’t buy and store…only to let the food go bad.

If you are in scouts, then you may want to talk with your Scout Master about ordering some of the extra meals from Philmont Scout Ranch.  Every year they package large quantities of backpacking food, and sell the surplus to troops from their website.  Check it out (click here)  Philmont also sell a lot of surplus hiking and camping gear.

Capt Bart:
The whole key to survival food for a teenager is to have the absolute essential items to keep you going.  Proteins are most important Teenage Survivalalthough the Irish lived for decades on an almost nothing but potatoes.  Not the most healthy but survival.  If you wind up without family support one other thing to be aware of is your vitamin intake. A good solid multi-vitamin is absolutely essential.  Usually a “I am worried about my health, I want to start a multi-vitamin” will be well received by your parents.  To go with long duration foods, drink mixes “I’ve lost my appetite for sodas, I’d prefer Gator aid mix” should work as well.  After all, the government says you are drinking too many sodas and eating the wrong stuff.  Use them to help get the prep foods and drinks you need.

Read Teenage Survival Part 1 (Click here)
Read Teenage Survival Part 2 (Click here)

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Written by Josh

Josh is a Boy Scout and an avid outdoorsman. He specializes in knives (and other such tools), various knots & lashings, traditional skills such as blacksmithing & woodworking, bushcraft and fire starting. Read his full interview here. Read more of Josh's articles.

16 thoughts on “Teenage Survival Part 3: Food”

  1. My situation is auspicious I suppose, In that I'm an only child with a single parent, which has caused me to assume responsibilities not normally allocated to someone my age (my father passed when I was 11, and he imparted the concepts of self reliance and responsibility before his death; he had plenty of notice beforehand.) My parent and I have a "team" approach to things (meaning I'm consulted on everything from decisions to sell property to dealing with family situations), there is nothing "top down" about our relationship. I've been told that it's inappropriate, but I'm not running away from home and having break downs like the skeptic's teenagers. My situation is similar to Josh's in that I have a 'budget' to work within, but specifically for preparedness; some people can only alternate between ignorance and panic and therefore prefer it when someone else handles the "rainy day thoughts" and prepares out of sight and out of mind (my mother being one). I throw everything from ammo to paper towels, and yes, food, on a specific card. I believe that the act of creating a sense of inferiority to adults in my age group is a major cause of behavioral issues and that this is simply mitigated by treating us with some dignity and respect, along with the expectation of responsibility that those come with; the thought that I'm not considered competent to own property and that the only actions of which I control are criminal… oddly results in borderline psychosis.

  2. Another great article from the members at SC. I think that this a very important topic that I hope many kids get involved in. The only I would add is to make sure to stock a little more than usual because in your teenage years you are growing and developing and need much more food than an adult.

  3. Tinderwolf,
    well said sir. I had 3 sisters, no brothers and both parents at home but when I left home their food bill went down by half! Growing boys do EAT!

    It is unfair that today's culture wants to keep you as a child until you are in your twenty's. Actually, the government would like you to stay that way permanently. When I was 14 I had a drivers license and when I was 16 I was piloting airplanes. A hundred years ago a 14 year old could well be doing a man's work and drawing a man's pay. The excuse used to keep you a child is that you need an education. In this I don't disagree but unfortunately, not many schools actually teach real things anymore. The nanny state outlook is pure poison for young adults (over the age of 14 or so) but there it is.

  4. One thing about the multi-vitamin. I would suggest a "wholefood" multi. The minerals and vitamins found in food are coupled with the other trace elements needed for the body to absorb and use them. Some vitamins are "neutralized" by others and shouldn't be taken together, but 1 in the morning and 1 at night.
    In some trials and testing at the herbalists office, Centrum, for example, is actually a very bad pill to take. There are ways to test if your body needs certain minerals/vitamins before taking them; which most reputable herbalists do. I recommend finding a natural health store and talk to them. There are several books out to also help with this.
    A good place to buy vitamins and receive alot of information online is Swanson Vitamins, http://www.swansonvitamins.com . They have a free newsletter and very good prices.

  5. Very good articles, read all of them. It is unfortunate these days that our "education" system creates sheeple, and it is nice to see younger people being interested in and learning how to be more self reliant. Thankfully I am one of those dads that wants my kids to be educated and self reliant. My kids are a bit young yet for a lot of things but my twins can both take small game with slingshots and pellet guns on a regular basis at the age of 11. Their mother does not approve of a lot of the things that I am teaching them, which is just an example of someone who should know better. I am merely giving them the knowledge and opportunity to learn both by themselves and for themselves. Along the way they have learned to pay attention, respect others, and rely upon themselves to make the best decisions they can. I think your article on this subject is a good start on informing younger generations on ways to go about prepping. Keep up the good work.

  6. I would like to get involved in this article if that is okay. I am a teenager as well and the advice you have given helps shape my actions towards prepping.

  7. Hey Josh,
    I am a teenager and am responsible in both my friends and my parents eyes. However, they do limit me to what kind of survival gear I can buy. It would also be great if you could give more tips, like you did in the part one of teenage survival with the gallon buckets from the bakery, that would be great.

    • You know what's the worst for that? When you have a gun— BUT YOU CAN'T GET BULLETS. That's my boat.

      And, my mom saw that Nat Geo show "Doomsday Preppers" and basically made talk of prepping off limits because she saw how obsessive some people get over it.

  8. Do you have a receipe section? I found this receipe "pumpkin maple butter" which is said to last a year jarred. 6 lbs of pie pumpkin, 4 c water, 2 1/2 c maple syrup, 2/3c lite brn sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 grated nutmeg cook pumpkin in 1c water on baking sheet for 1 hr/20mins, scoop out add 4 c of water, maple syrup, sugar, salt and nutmeg. let it boil down on med/low heat to consistency of applesauce blend to smooth. Hmmm? How many sugar beets make 2/3 c sugar

  9. However, let’s not blame Chavez alone for a rise in violence that would have existed regardless of his policies, due to the fact that the same frightening challenges that bedevil all of Latin America. facebook likes kaufen

  10. My parents think that I am an all out nut-case for even worrying about this kinda stuff. They think that I should be more concerned with boys and gossip, (both I have no interest for). that's why I really like this article, a lot of the other stuff is out of my grasp. I once read that if you needed to hunt food that you should learn how to bow hunt. they claimed this to be true because bows are simple enough to make, and arrows you can reuse. can you make an article concerning that as well?

  11. I am 14 and my parents don't help me prep but they allow me to do it myself. So I guess it works Wish they would join in as they can actually make money.

  12. I got this book when I was 13 (in 1985) and now I'm buying it for another 13 year old. Sol Gordon presents the facts in an interesting and colorful way without preaching and without getting too serious. He includes fun and creative exercises in self-analysis and self-appreciation. Most of all, this book is a refreshing read compared to the kinds of scare tactics used to warn kids about sex and drugs today. He encourages kids to use their heads when making decisions that affect them. Although it looks a bit out of date (due to the artwork and slang) it is still right on. Good stuff.


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