Keeping Balance in Food Storage
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“Keeping Balance in Food Storage,” Ensign, June 2000, 66–67

Keeping Balance in Food Storage

The question is sometimes asked: How do we plan a food storage program? Since our bodies have certain nutritional requirements, we need to choose carefully the food we keep in storage. A well-balanced storage plan should include these essentials: carbohydrates, fats and oils, protein, salt, and water.

Carbohydrates: Starchy foods, such as those made from grains, and sweet foods, such as honey, sugar, or molasses, are representative of the carbohydrate group. Starches and sugars are used mainly as sources of energy. In countries or locations where applicable, wheat can be the mainstay of a storage program because it contains not only carbohydrates but also some oil and some amino acids that can be converted to protein. Similarly, corn and other grains may be stored to add other nutrients to the diet and to provide variety. A benefit of eating a mix of grains together in one meal, such as wheat and corn, is that the body may better utilize various amino acids found in each grain to construct complete proteins.

Fats and oils: Some fat and oil can be found in almost all grain and animal food, but additional fats and oils should be stored. Fats are easily digested and provide the most calories for the least amount of weight of any common food. They need to be stored in a cool place and rotated frequently (see Oscar A. Pike, “Storing Fats and Oils,” Ensign, June 1999, 71).

Protein: Our bodies need protein to stay healthy. Growing children, sick or injured persons, pregnant or nursing mothers, and those doing heavy physical labor need a significant source of protein each day. While a mix of grains may provide complete proteins, other sources should also be stored. These could include canned meat or fish, dried eggs, or powdered milk. In some countries soybeans or dried fish might store better. When you prepare soybeans to eat, cook them in a pressure cooker or, preferably, roast them until they change color. Cooking them at a high temperature inhibits certain chemicals that could stunt growth in children. Commercially prepared products made from soybeans, such as TVP, are safe to use.

Salt: A necessary part of our diet, salt should also be stored. As part of our storage plan, we place a small packet of salt in each container of grain. Then, if a portion of our food storage were to be lost, we would still have salt to use when preparing our grains.

Water: It is suggested that a two-week supply, or 14 gallons per person, be kept on hand for emergencies. Some people may also wish to make provisions to purify water for drinking. Boiling is generally helpful, or chemical additives or filters can be kept on hand to purify water during emergencies. When using chemical purifiers, read and follow directions carefully and allow enough time before drinking to be sure the chemicals have had time to work.

With careful planning, families can organize a well-managed food storage program that meets individual needs and preferences.—Donald G. Starkey, Haines City Ward, Winter Haven Florida Stake

Illustrated by Joe Flores