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What Foods Should You Store in Case of an Emergency

Food is an essential item in the event of an emergency. In the case of a natural disaster, it is unlikely that you’ll be able to walk into your normal grocery shop to do your weekly shop. As we’ve all seen, even during an anticipated event like the Coronavirus even when we can get to the store, it’s likely that shortages for many items will occur.

During most emergency situations, your response will probably lead to you expending more energy, meaning you’ll need more fuel for your body. As such you’ll want to get a variety of foods, preferably high in calories and nutrient-rich.

What You Should Consider Before Buying Food:

  • Length of the emergency: How long do you expect to have to rely on your supplies? This doesn’t only affect the amount of food you should buy, but what type of food. The longer you expect to have to use your emergency food supply the longer you want their self-life to be. Typically, you’ll want to focus on non-perishable foods.
  • How many people with be using the stock: Consider how many people are going to be relying on your emergency for storage. A household of five will need more food than a household of two to survive the same amount of time.
  • Electricity: Depending on the type of emergency and severity you may be facing power outages. This means no electricity to power stoves to cook food or refrigeration to help store goods. If you have a camp stove great! A generator? Even better! If you don’t have either of these things, you’re going to want to look into foods that don’t need refrigeration and are ready to eat.
  • Nutrition: Foods with high nutritional and caloric value are very important. Making sure you have enough calories to expend in an emergency situation can mean life or death, but you also want to avoid malnourishment in the process as well. Relying on a single type of food for an extended period of time can cause your body to lack vital nutrients
  • Variety: Not only will having a variety of different foods available will not only help ensure you are getting the range of nutrients needed, but it will help you from getting tired of foods.
  • Consider buying in bulk: Bulk food purchasing can often help you get a better bang for your buck often at a more affordable rate.


What Foods Should Your Store?

Once you’ve made your plan you’ll need to actually stock up. Here’s a list of foods that are great for your emergency supplies:

  • Peanut & Nut Butter: Nut butters often have a long self-life and are chock full of protein and fats. Read the labels first, but most don’t need to be refrigerated after opening.
  • Trail mix & Nuts: These foods are also high in energy and fats.
  • Energy & Granola Bars: These are convenient snacks that are designed to be packed full of nutrients.
  • Protein Drinks: These come in both powdered and premade options, typically they don’t need to be refrigerated before use.
  • Canned Fish & Chicken: Already cooked and can be eaten out of the can. Many canned poultry and fish options can last a couple of years on the shelf.
  • Canned Veggies: Have a much longer shelf-life than fresh veggies while still providing a number of essential vitamins and minerals. The water from the canned veggies can also be drunk in the case of low water supplies.
  • Canned Soups: Caned soups and chilis are precooked and can be eaten without reheating if necessary.
  • Powdered Milk: Provides many of the same nutrients are regular dairy goods, such as calcium and vitamin D, without the need for refrigeration.
  • Instant Coffee: Many of us drink coffee on the regular, having a stash of instant coffee on hand can be essential for many of us, and a morale boost at the very least.
  • Dried Rice, Beans, Pasta: Dried foods last a super long time if stored in the proper way. Rice and pasta are carb-loaded, while beans are a great source of protein.
  • Freeze-Dried Foods: These foods often have some of the longest shelf-lives, lasting several years.


Rotate Your Food Stock

Even many long-lasting non-perishable foods have a self-life. Once you’ve put together your emergency food you want to rotate and replace foods as their self-life is ending. This is one of the reasons you’ll want to buy a variety of foods you already eat, that way to can ensure you are not wasting food. Instead of throwing food away, you can use it before it expires.


Resources for Food Safety in Emergencies

CDC: Natural Disasters and Severe Weather: Keep Food and Water Safe

USDA: Keeping Food Safe During an Emergency



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