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9 Tips For Placing Your First Freeze-Dried Food Order

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Are you a busy family looking for ways to prepare healthy meals quickly, while also building a long-term food storage pantry? Freeze-dried food can be your secret weapon! While it may seem unfamiliar at first, freeze-dried food has come a long way from “astronaut food” and now offers a convenient, nutritious way to feed your family and boost your your long-term preparedness. Here’s what you should know if you’re thinking about placing an order for freeze-dried food.

I’ll never forget my first official order for survival, or prepper, food. My friend, Chrystalyn, was a pro at this, and she guided me through a bewildering order form with products and container sizes I didn’t recognize. At the time, I was a typical suburban mom who had never heard of prepper food before, much less placed a large order.

A #10 can? What was that? A #2.5 can? Is that what I need or is the #10 size better? What is wheat germade, and will my kids eat what I’m buying since it’s not in name-brand cans? If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have ordered wheat germade at all and would have ordered far more #2.5 cans (Pantry Cans) of cocoa! Yes, we prefer brownies to an unknown hot cereal!

Now, with years of experience under my belt, I’m here to help you avoid those same mistakes! Here is my best advice to determine what to order from the best survival food companies, including my own personal favorite, Thrive Life. It’s a bit like having a meal prep survival guide!

Tips For Placing Your First Freeze-dried Food Order

To get started stocking a food storage pantry that will provide you with versatile, delicious, and nutritious foods, consider the following points:

  1. Customize it to your family’s taste. Don’t waste money on mystery foods! All of your prepper food orders should be customized to you and your family. If you end up with shelves full of strange foods you’ve never heard of before, then you didn’t do it right! Stock up on familiar favorites you use regularly. Think about the fruits, vegetables, and recipe ingredients you buy most often at the grocery store. Freeze-dried versions are prepped and ready to use, saving you time in the kitchen.
  2. Stock up on recipe staples. Love a good pasta dish? Grab the ingredients – pasta, sausage crumbles, herbs, cheeses – to create your favorites. These versatile staples can be used in multiple recipes, maximizing your investment. This is such a timesaver that I wrote an entire article dedicated to how to use freeze-dried ingredients in your favorite Mexican recipes.
  3. What produce do you use most often in the kitchen? Jot down the fruits and vegetables that you typically buy at the grocery store. Those will be the best choices for your early purchases, since you know they won’t go to waste, and you use recipes that incorporate them. Vegetables are on my list of fresh food must-haves that you can read more about here. With freeze-dried and/or dehydrated produce, all of the cleaning, chopping, and slicing has already been done for you. That’s one reason my own food storage pantry is full of veggies and fruits of all kinds. They’re ready to use at a moment’s notice.
  4. Consider long-term storage vs. grocery store prices. Survival food companies offer long-term storage solutions for staples like sugar, baking powder, and herbs. Compare prices to your usual grocery store, keeping in mind that these products will be packaged for long-term storage, unlike those purchased at grocery stores. When we moved to a humid environment, several of my cardboard containers of salt were ruined, but #10 cans (Family Cans) I had purchased from a food storage company remain safely sealed to this day.
  5. Don’t forget the snacks! My kids love the yogurt bites in all the various flavors. Perhaps order a few snack items in either the pouch or #2.5 can sizes to try these out. The smaller containers are also good for emergency kits. When I first started stocking up on food, I bought a lot of typical snack foods — cookies, chips, granola bars, and not surprisingly, those were the first foods to mysteriously disappear!
  6. Just-add-water meals for emergencies or power outages. Each survival food company has its own varieties of meals to try. These meals are convenient, but not all are created equal. Give them a taste test before buying in large containers or quantities. They have the advantage of being lightweight, nutritious, and if you can manage to boil 3 or 4 cups of water, you have a meal in about 15 minutes. However, I’ve found that many varieties and brands aren’t very palatable. Start with varieties that are familiar dishes to you, such as beef stew or lasagna, and then decide if you like that packaged meal well enough to buy it in bulk. I’ve written more about just-add-water meals and my recommendations.
  7. Prioritize the meats you use most often. Chicken? Ground beef? Shredded pork? Buy smaller containers of the ones you tend to buy and use most frequently. Give them a try in some of your recipes. If you really like the flavor, texture, and convenience, then you’ll know what to stock up on. As always, customize this to your preferences and the recipes you make most often. A great way to try a number of options at once in meals is the Thrive Life Chef Packs. I review these freeze-dried meals-in-a box chef packs here. (Spoiler Alert: I LOVE them!) Protein will be the most expensive product on your survival food shopping list, so think about recipes that use small amounts of meat so that a single can goes farther. For example, I like to add maybe a cup or so of freeze-dried ground beef to a pasta sauce, giving us extra protein but using up just a small amount of the expensive meat. Plus, it doesn’t require the freezer space that the same quantity of fresh meat would. You aren’t paying for bones, gristle, or fat, and you aren’t paying for the additional water/flavored broth that is pumped into many fresh meats.
  8. Meal stretchers are your friend. Rice, pasta, grains, and beans are budget-friendly and versatile. I like this category because these foods are versatile on their own, but then, when added to a casserole or soup, they help provide many more servings, as well as more nutrition and fiber. Get more meal-stretching ideas here.
  9. Soup is always in season. You may not make soup very often, but it’s an ideal recipe for emergencies and survival scenarios. And you don’t need a recipe! Learn how to make a no-recipe soup in this post; the concept is simple! As long as you have the ingredients, you can put a batch of soup on the stove right now, and freeze-dried and/or dehydrated foods from survival food companies make this so easy.


Is freeze-dried food expensive?

Yes, freeze-dried food is generally more expensive than its fresh or even dehydrated counterparts. However, while the upfront cost is higher, freeze-dried food offers advantages for long-term emergency food storage because of its shelf life (often 25+ years), lack of weight, not requiring freezer space, and minimal waste. And for everyday cooking, you won’t ever worry about forgetting produce in the back of the fridge or reaching for something that turns out to be moldy.

Is freeze-dried food worth it?

It depends on your needs and budget. Consider the pros and cons to decide if freeze-dried food is worth it for you.

Get your Freeze-Dried Food Primer now!

Click here for everything you need to know to get started using freeze-dried food:

  • What it is and how to use it
  • Which brands are the best quality
  • How to decide what to buy
  • How to save money buying freeze-dried food

Click here to get your FREE freeze-dried food primer!

Final Thoughts

Don’t be intimidated by the vast selection of prepper foods. Companies like Thrive Life offer familiar foods perfect for both emergency preparedness and everyday cooking. One reason I prefer Thrive Life is that its focus is more on ordinary foods that you can stock up on for emergencies as well as in everyday cooking. With this guide and a little planning, you’ll be well on your way to building a food pantry that keeps your family happy and healthy for years to come!

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