In our first Be Well Prepared Challenge, we challenged you to survive on one gallon of water a day. With today’s challenge, it’s time to look at the next most important thing on the survivalists’ mind: food.

In times of survival, you’d be forced to survive in any way you know how, from utilizing food storage that you’ve compiled beforehand to hunting for new sources. For this exercise, we’ll see how much food you and your family consume on a given day, which will then tell you how much food you should store. As for hunting, we’ll leave that one up to you. You might also find yourself having to prepare food without the grid, but we’ll tackle surviving in a power shortage in a future challenge. For the sake of getting a base measurement of normal food consumption, we’ll stick to the basics.

How long can you survive without food?

A 2009 review in “Archiv Fur Kriminologie” reported that humans can survive without food and water for just eight to 21 days, though your personal survival time greatly depends upon a number of additional factors — your size, hydration status and activity level. So it’s important to have emergency food at the ready.

Challenge yourself to live on limited food sources

For this exercise, let’s forget for some time that there’s fast food, a local Wal-Mart or other grocery store to run to. Instead, grab yourself enough food to last you a few days to a week based on what you already have in your house and on how much you want to push the challenge. You might also try to use one of our 30-day food storage packs in the exercise so you know you’ll have enough for each person (this will also give you a more accurate representation of what it will be like to be without different varieties of food. Then survive on nothing but that food for this extended period, eating as normally as possible. At the end of the few days to a week, see how much food you have consumed.

This will tell you how much food you and your family eat. FEMA recommends three days, but we stress a minimum of three months. After all, it’s better to over-prepare than find yourself caught unprepared because of a miscalculation. If you’re really wanting to prep, you could go beyond three months.

Study your surroundings

Are there adequate food sources nearby? Do you have weapons or tools needed to find your own food if you have to? Are there edible plants that grow locally? Remember Murphy’s Law: “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” Hopefully the law does not hold in this case, but if it does and your food supply is either lost or compromised, you’ll be able to survive on alternative sources.

How did you prepare for a food shortage? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!