As a Modern Nomad that spends a great deal of her time living in a 19’ travel trailer, one of the questions that I am asked most often is: how do you eat on the road? Do you actually have food in your travel trailer? Do you cook or just eat out all the time?
First, I eat. I like food like…a lot. So no worries there.
While I will never be mistaken for a healthy lifestyle enthusiast the 2020 pandemic has given me a reason to slow down and revisit the joys of making a home, even if it is a tiny one.
One of the first considerations in tiny or mobile living is space. The second is access to resources. Similar to food stores in a traditional home, lifestyle, food type, shelf life, and quantities must be factored into a supply plan.
In a tiny home or living system maximizing space is a top priority. Typically, I use a combination of mason jars, mylar storage bags with oxygen absorbers, and zip-lock storage bags.
Food Storage Safety Do’s and Don’ts
- Seal EVERYTHING!
- Keep food in covered containers
- Be PROACTIVE about pests – Use inset-repelling herbs in food storage areas
- Rotate your food stores/supplies – keep track of expirations dates
- Eat foods from cans that are swollen, dented, or corroded, even though the product may look safe to eat.
- Eat any food that looks or smells abnormal, even if the can looks normal.
- Let garbage accumulate inside, both for fire and sanitation reasons.
Storage Tip: For longer-term storage of dry goods such as grans, rice, or flour add a bay leaf to the packages/containers to keep pantry pests at bay
Even in a tiny space, it is sometimes very easy to forget what supplies we have and where they are stored. Creating an inventory worksheet serves to key functions. First, it will allow you to maintain a working list of what you have in your mobile pantry and it will also allow you to plan means in both emergency and everyday situations.
The Things We Carry
In many mobile living scenarios, refrigeration is limited. Although access to power is not often an issue, it can be, therefore it is wise to incorporate canned foods, dry mixes, freeze-dried, and other pantry staples that do not require refrigeration.
My #1 recommendation is to store nutritious food that you and your family will actually enjoy eating! Regardless if you have chosen a mobile lifestyle or you have become mobile out of necessity, remember that food helps us to have a sense of normalcy and is comforting in emergency or high-stress situations. Calm is Contagious, so store the things that will help your family feel calm and safe.
As a Modern Nomad, my goal is to be as self-sufficient as possible. My goal is to always have a minimum of a 1-month supply of non-perishable food per person. Although most sources recommend at least a 3-day supply of food per person in your household, this may not be sufficient in an emergency situation. Every emergency is not a national emergency – sometimes it is just an emergency of one (you and your immediate family).
Ideally, in a traditional homestead or urban living scenario, the food storage goal my be up to a 1-year supply per person in your household. This level of food stores takes up a great deal of space, please plan accordingly. Here is a summary of my current longer-term mobile food stores:
|Rice, Jasmine & Long-grain white||20-30 pounds||Filing, nutritious, long shelf-life|
|Red beans, dry (light kidney beans)||5 pounds||Perfect protein, filing, nutritious, long shelf-life|
|Black beans, dry||2 pounds||Perfect protein, filing, nutritious, long shelf-life|
|Canned vegetables, variety||20+ cans||Consider low-sodium varieties that you actually eat|
|Freeze-dried meat, variety||#10 cans, smaller cans||Chicken, pulled pork, sausage, ground beef|
|Tomatoes, canned stewed, crushed, paste||10 cans||Great for making sauces and soups|
|Grits, instant and 5-minute||24 instant packs, 5 pounds cook||Filing, comforting. Substitute oatmeal if you prefer that.|
|Peanut butter||2 24 oz jars||Good source of protein, filling, comforting|
|Tang & Pink lemonade||2 containers||Good source for additional vitamin c, adds flavor to water|
|Powdered milk||2 pounds||Good for cooking, added protein, can be used in coffee or tea|
|Powdered coconut milk||6 packages||Great addition to red beans|
|Beef & chicken bouillon||Cubes||Flavoring and soup bases|
|Freeze-dried onions & bell pepper||#10 cans and smaller||Seasoning|
|Pancake mix, complete||5 pounds||Comfort food, great for anytime meal entrée|
|Honey, jam, syrups||Sweetening, topping|
|Pasta||10 pounds||Comfort food, filing|
|Oils, vegetable, coconut||Adds substance to food, supports fat-soluble vitamins distribution in the body|
|Coffee, ground, instant||5 pounds but often more||Comfort, caffeine|
|Teas, various||100+ bags & cold brews||Teas are comforting and have medicinal values.|
|Sugar, raw & brown||5 pounds||Cooking, beverages, first-aid|
|Powdered coffee creamer||Coffee & tea, adds body to the beaverage|
|Baking soda||5 pounds||Cooking, cleaning, first-aid|
|Granola||2 pounds||Filling, energy, snack|
|Flour, baking powder, yeast, salt||Usable quantities||Cooking comfort foods/baking|
|Dried herbs, various||Basil, Bay leaves, Lavender, Mint, Rosemary||Seasoning and pest control|
|White & Apple cider vinegar||1-gallon jugs of each||Add other varieties as needed|
|Freeze-dried scrambled eggs||#10 can||Nice protein|
|Freeze-dried broccoli cheddar soup||#10 can||My daughter loves broccoli cheddar soup, so I keep some on hand|
|Spices & Condiments, various||Flavor|
|Popcorn seeds & seasons||4 pounds of seeds||Comfort snack|
|Mixed nuts||2 pounds||Comfort snack|
|Ham flakes||6 boxes||For seasoning beans|
|Instant mashed potatoes||2 pounds||Side dish|
|Pet food, dry||5 pounds||Because we love them|
|Hard candies, variety||Root beer barrels, lemonheads||Comfort|
|Manual can opener|
‘What’s in your wallet…er, pantry? I’ve been thinking of creating a downloadable pantry list. What do you guys think? I’d love to hear your storage solutions in the comments!
Until next time, stay safe out there!
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