6 Meal Stretchers You Need In Your Food Storage

Planning and stocking up on food storage can be daunting. Keeping track of what specific foods you are storing, how perishable each item is, and how long you will survive off it is not for the faint of heart. Not to mention it can seem impossible to know how to prepare for the unexpected.

What if family members and friends take refuge in your home during an emergency? What if your food storage runs out faster than planned? What if you can’t use drinking water for cooking because of a shortage?

We are here to simplify food storage by giving preppers the top 6 meal-stretching foods. Meal stretchers can help you feed many mouths and extend meals. In addition, the majority of meal stretchers have a long shelf life.

By the end of this article, rather than feeling overwhelmed, you’ll feel inspired and motivated to grow your food storage. Afterwards be sure to check out our other articles for more prepper tips.

Below are Prepper’s Base Top 6 Meal Stretchers:


yellow rice with wooden spoon

1. Rice

Rice is absolutely essential to add to your shelves because it’s a food you can eat by itself or add to other recipes. If you need more calories in your diet, rice is the answer. One cup of rice has around 200 calories. Plus, it is a good source of fat, carbs, and protein.

Meal Prep Tip:

Add a cup of rice to a bowl of soup or chili to stretch the meal at least another few servings.


oats with berries and milk

2. Oats

Oats are highly useful, especially because they are cheap and have a long shelf life. If stored correctly, oats can last up to 30 years! Keep in mind that oats also have a higher protein than wheat or rice.

Oats also absorb the flavor of whatever they are cooked with. Oats can expand your meal without having to change the overall taste of it, making them the ideal meal stretcher.

Meal Prep Tip:

Don’t just use oats for oatmeal. Oats make a tasty coating for chicken and meat. You can also ground oats into flour that you can use for baking.


pasta spilling out of jar

3. Pasta

Macaroni, spaghetti, cannelloni, linguine . . . the list goes on and on. No matter what type of pasta you choose to store, you’ll be well prepared for the future. And you don’t even have to get fancy pasta. Ramen noodles are just fine because of the cheap price and variety of flavors.

Be aware that pasta doesn’t have as long as a shelf life than the other meal stretchers we’ve  mentioned. Stored pasta can last around 8 to 10 years (which is still pretty good).

Meal Prep Tip:

If you cook up a little bit of ground beef, onion, tomatoes, and seasonings in a pot, you can DOUBLE the amount by adding some pasta!


bowl of brown and black beans

4. Beans

Who could forget beans? Believe it or not beans are a great substitute for fats and bacon. You can also buy beans in bulk for a great price. When dried beans are cooked, they double in size and serving. For example, if you used 2 cups of dried beans, you’d make 4 cups of cooked beans. Now that’s what you call meal stretching!

Meal Prep Tip:

Did you know you can use black beans to make brownies? Try out this black bean brownie recipe. (They actually taste pretty good.)


chicken and vegetables

5. Stock

Unlike the other foods we’ve mentioned, vegetable, chicken, and beef stock are low in calories, but high in sodium and flavor. A little bit of stock can go a long way not only by expanding a meal but by adding flavor to it as well. However, stock does not have a very long shelf life. For example, canned chicken stock is only good for up to 1 year.

Meal Prep Tip:

Don’t waste your precious drinking water to cook your rice. Use chicken, beef, or vegetable stock as a water substitute instead.


homemade bread with butter

6. Bread

Finally, the last meal stretcher we want to mention is bread. Bread is a perishable food item, so it’s not a good item to add to your food storage. Rather than stocking up on bread, store an abundant amount of flour in your food storage so you can frequently make your own bread.

Bread makes a great side dish with soup or salad. Not to mention, making a sandwich with bread also is a great meal idea.

Meal Prep Tip:

If making traditional homemade bread is daunting, try out this delicious fry bread recipe, which is much easier to make.

That’s it! We hope you enjoyed learning what to do to stretch your meals. If you want to learn more about survival and preparedness skills, check out our blog.