Rationing in a crisis might save your life

I’m going to be totally honest here. I’m not too crazy about the word “rationing.”

As soon as I hear it, I think of not having enough of something to get by. Regardless of whether it’s food, water or another needed supply, it makes me nervous to think I might run out of it while I still need it.

Those of us who have stockpiled survival food, water and water purification devices, and other essential items hope we never have to ration anything.

But the fact is, a disaster could cause us to lose some of what we’ve stored. Or we might find ourselves in a position where we need more of something than we thought we would.

Don’t wait too long to start rationing

In other words, rationing could become a reality for some of us one day. So, like anything else, it’s important to prepare for it.

For one thing, none of us knows how long an emergency situation will last. Most of us may feel comfortable dealing with a crisis that lasts a few days, a week, a month or maybe more.

But what if it goes on and on with no end in sight? Even those who have spent a good deal of time and money preparing for an uncertain future may eventually be forced to ration what’s left.

Having a rationing strategy worked out in advance could be a big help. Not only in making sure you have enough of what you need until the emergency ends, but also to give yourself peace of mind throughout the process.

And remember to put that rationing strategy into effect sooner rather than later. You don’t want to wait until it’s too late to start rationing food or a supply you might run out of.

Food and water are priorities

You can ration pretty much anything when demand exceeds supply. But today let’s focus on rationing food and water. Once you’ve determined how much remains in your supply and how many people need to consume it, think about the following:

  • Cut down on your calorie intake. If you consume 2,000 calories on a daily basis, try to get by on 1,500. Take smaller bites and take breaks between bites. Eating slowly might be challenging at first, but eventually you’ll get used to it. And you’ll find you get fuller with less food than before.
  • Store food that does not require a great deal of water to prepare. Here are examples of some of the best and worst choices for this. Freeze-dried fruits and some freeze-dried meats are good examples of this. And you want to avoid salty foods that will make you thirsty. Those efforts will allow your water supply to last longer.
  • Determine which party members have food priority. If you’re on your own, this will not be a factor. But if you have family members or friends in your group, you may have to decide who gets fed first, such as children, women and the elderly. Or you may choose to feed the providers first, as they will probably expend the most energy.
  • They say you should have a minimum of one gallon of water per person per day in a survival situation. Few people have stockpiled enough water to last anybody for very long. That’s why it’s crucial to have water purification devices.

Now, you may be onboard with these strategies, but may not know how to best implement them. For example, what if you don’t know how many calories there are in the foods you have remaining?

Here are some basic calorie numbers that might help:

1 cup of white rice, 686 calories

1 cup of oats, 147 calories

1 cooked cup of spaghetti, 221 calories

1 egg, 75 to 100 calories

1 cup of 2 percent milk, 138 calories

100 grams of ground beef, 164 calories

100 grams of cured pork, 541 calories

100 grams of chicken, 200 calories

3.5 ounces of corn, 354 calories

1 baked potato, 255 calories

3 ounces of spinach, 20 calories

1 cup of carrots, 52 calories

Warning: It’s not just about calories. You have to make sure each person in your party maintains a balanced diet. Assuming no allergies, everyone needs protein, carbohydrates, dairy, fruits and vegetables.

In a survival situation, practicing rationing strategies may just make the difference between life and death.

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