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Emergency Food Storage: What You Need to Know to Keep Your Family Safe

Feeling unprepared for unexpected emergencies can leave you feeling uneasy. Did you know that a well-planned emergency food supply can be your family’s lifesaver during natural disasters or pandemics? This article will guide you through the necessary steps to create, maintain and utilize an effective food storage system.

Stay with us to find out how easy it is to ensure your loved ones are never left hungry in tough times!

Understanding the Importance of an Emergency Food Kit

A well-stocked emergency food supply can significantly increase your survival chances when faced with a crisis, such as natural disasters, power outages or economic collapse. These events often come without warning and may disrupt normal infrastructures like grocery stores and restaurants, leaving you without access to fresh food for days, weeks or even months.

Having an emergency food supply on hand ensures that you are self-reliant during these uncertain times. It’s all about peace of mind knowing that whatever happens in the world around you, your family won’t go hungry. For instance, freeze-dried foods in your emergency kit provide quick meals requiring minimal preparation – just add water!

In addition to survival scenarios, building an emergency food stash is also prudent for more everyday situations. Instances such as job loss or sudden financial struggles can put a strain on the budget allocated for groceries.

Having non-perishable foods stowed away provides an immediate fallback plan until circumstances improve.

Therefore understanding how vital it is to have an adequate food stockpile is not only imperative during extreme conditions but also beneficial in maintaining daily life stability.

Preparing a Short-Term Emergency Food Supply

Begin by focusing on gathering a three-day supply of non-perishable foods, including canned goods and high-energy snacks. Gradually build this up to a two-week emergency food supply, ensuring you have balanced meals that meet your nutritional needs.

Don’t forget essentials like water, a manual can opener, and special dietary items if necessary.

Suggestions for a three-day supply

Establishing a three-day emergency food supply is critical in disaster preparedness. Here are some suggestions to help you build yours:

  1. Start with non – perishable foods, which last longer and don’t require refrigeration.
  2. Prepare for little or no cooking by stocking ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables.
  3. Include liquids for hydration and meals, such as bottled water, juices, shelf – stable milk, and soup.
  4. Don’t neglect basics like sugar, salt, and pepper – they can make foods more palatable.
  5. Focus on high – energy foods like peanut butter and granola bars to keep energy levels up during emergencies.
  6. Consider any special diets within your household – infants might need formula while those with allergies or diabetes will have specific dietary needs.
  7. Add comfort/stress foods into the mix – items like tea bags or candy can offer a welcome respite amidst the stress of emergency situations.
  8. Always have a suitable can opener that does not rely on electricity to access your canned food items effectively.

Tips for a two-week food supply

A well-prepared two-week food supply can provide you with peace of mind during emergencies or natural disasters. Here are some key tips to consider:

  1. Stock up on non-perishable foods: These should be items that require no refrigeration, minimal preparation, and little water. This can include canned meats, fruits, vegetables, juices, milk, and soup.
  2. Include staple items: Basics like sugar, salt, and pepper are essential additions to your emergency food supplies.
  3. Add high-energy foods to your stockpile: Peanut butter, crackers, granola bars, and trail mix can give quick energy boosts and keep you satiated for longer.
  4. Invest in Meals-Ready-to-Eat (MRE’s): Available at military and camping supply stores, these nutritionally balanced meals have a long shelf life and can be consumed without cooking or heating.
  5. Check ‘sell-by’ and ‘use-by’ dates: Make sure the foods you’re buying won’t expire within the two-week period.
  6. Consider special dietary needs: If any family members have allergies or specific health conditions like diabetes or gluten intolerance, make sure their dietary needs are accommodated in your chosen emergency foods.
  7. Rotate your stock regularly: To ensure freshness of your stored food items, practice food rotation by consuming older products first before they reach their expiration dates.

Preparing a Long-Term Emergency Food Supply

Starting with bulk staples like rice and beans, move on to preparing foods for infants if applicable, then finish by selecting supplemental food items that meet your dietary needs; this will provide a balanced meal plan during long-term emergencies.

Bulk staples

Incorporating bulk staples into your long-term emergency food storage plan is a smart move. Here’s why:

  • Bulk staples such as white rice and canned beans are economical and nutritious.
  • These food items have an impressive shelf life, which makes them ideal for storing.
  • White rice, when stored properly, can last up to 30 years without losing nutritional value.
  • Canned beans contain essential proteins and can be used in a variety of meals.
  • Other popular bulk staples include wheat, cornmeal, pasta, and lentils.
  • Bulks staples provide versatility in meal planning during times of crisis, thanks to their adaptability in various recipes.

Foods for infants

Planning for infants during an emergency extends beyond just diapers and clothes – their nutritional needs are crucial. Begin your long-term emergency food storage by considering the special dietary needs of infants.

  1. Ensure to include infant formula, even if your baby is breastfeeding.
  2. Never overlook healthy and easy-to-prepare infant cereals.
  3. Stock up on a variety of baby foods, prioritizing fruits, vegetables, and meats that your child prefers.
  4. Keep high – energy foods that are suitable for babies.
  5. Opt for meals-ready-to-eat (MRE’s) designed specifically for infants; they can be a lifesaver during emergencies.
  6. Consider non-perishable foods that are age-appropriate and safe for the baby to eat such as mashed bananas or rice cereal.
  7. Store additional water for cleaning bottles or mixing with dehydrated baby food.

Supplemental foods

Supplemental foods play a crucial role in enhancing the nutritional value of an emergency food supply. These foods help ensure that you and your family maintain a balanced diet during times of crisis, providing essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients often not found in basic survival foods. Here are some recommended supplemental foods to consider when building your emergency food stockpile:

  • Peanut Butter: High in energy and easy to store, peanut butter is a nutritious supplement to any emergency food stash.
  • Trail Mix & Granola Bars: Excellent sources of protein and carbohydrates, these snacks are great for on-the-go nutrition.
  • Vitamins: Ensuring your body receives all necessary nutrients can be challenging during emergencies. Including a variety of vitamins in your storage helps maintain health and combat potential deficiencies.
  • Special Dietary Foods: Anyone with specific dietary needs or restrictions should consider adding gluten-free, dairy-free, or low-sugar options into their stock.
  • Comfort Foods: Items like cookies or sweetened cereals can offer emotional comfort amidst stressful situations.

Key Considerations in Food Selection

Understanding what to store for an emergency situation requires careful consideration of factors such as shelf life, caloric density, and nutritional value. Dive into this section to unravel the nitty-gritty of selecting your emergency food stockpile.

Shelf life

Shelf life plays an essential role in emergency food storage. Foods with longer shelf lives, such as canned foods and white rice, are ideal for your stockpile. Properly stored, canned foods can last two years or more while white rice can be stowed away for up to 2 years.

Dehydrated and freeze-dried foods also boast impressive longevity; dehydration extends a food’s viability for up to five years and freeze-drying pushes it further to 25 years. Freeze-dried items retain less moisture than their dehydrated counterparts, making them more shelf-stable and nutrient-rich too.

It’s imperative to consider the shelf life when selecting what to include in your survival food kit – every meal counts in an emergency scenario.

Caloric density

Caloric density plays a crucial role in assembling an emergency food supply. It refers to how many calories are packed into a given volume of food, which is particularly valuable during emergencies when your food options may be limited.

Foods with high caloric densities provide more energy, keeping you fueled and focused longer.

Consider including foods like peanut butter, granola bars, crackers or trail mix in your stockpile. These items possess high calorific value without compromising much on space or weight.

Similarly, canned beans pasta and dried fruits have substantial calorie density making them ideal for survival situations.

Nutritional value

Paying attention to the nutritional value of your emergency food storage is highly essential. Opt for high-energy foods like peanut butter, granola bars, crackers, and trail mix that offer a quick source of energy.

Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables and juices also provide crucial nutrition during emergencies.

Include vitamins in your emergency food supply to fulfill micronutrient needs. One must also bear in mind the special dietary requirements of family members such as infants or older adults while selecting survival food.

People with allergies or diabetes may need specific nutrient-rich foods tailored to meet their health conditions efficiently. In addition to being calorie-dense and nutritious, it’s important that these meals are enjoyable too; good taste can lift morale during stressful times.

Tips and Hacks for Basic Survival Food Storage

Storing food for survival wisely can make a big difference in an emergency event. Here are some fundamental tips and tricks to help you:

  1. Store high-energy foods: Peanut butter, granola bars, trail mix, and crackers provide needed calories during stressful times.
  2. Consider special diets: Always account for family members with dietary restrictions like gluten intolerance or diabetes when stocking your pantry.
  3. Rotate your stock: To keep your supplies fresh, use the oldest items first and replace them with new ones.
  4. Keep basic staples: Don’t forget essentials like salt, sugar, and pepper which can greatly enhance the taste of your survival meals.
  5. Choose canned goods wisely: Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables, and juices offer good nutrition and have long shelf lives.
  6. Protect from pests: Keep your supplies in sturdy containers that can’t be easily infiltrated by bugs or rodents.
  7. Maintain a cool storage area: Most stored food lasts longer when kept in a cool (not freezing), dry environment away from sunlight.
  8. Educate yourself on expiration dates: Understanding “Sell-By,” “Use By,” and “Expiration” dates will help prevent unnecessary waste.

Building Your Emergency Food Stockpile

Begin by assembling a small supply of non-perishable foods that your family enjoys, gradually expand this stockpile by adding items during regular shopping trips, and take advantage of sales or bulk purchase options.

Prioritize the inclusion of high-energy, nutritionally dense foods to ensure that your family’s dietary needs are met in an emergency.

Starting small

Building an emergency food stockpile doesn’t have to be overwhelming. The key is to commence with small steps. Start by adding a few extra cans of beans or pasta during your regular grocery shopping trips.

These foods are dense in calories, making them ideal as survival foods in case of disasters.

White rice can also be a great addition due to its long shelf life, which may go up to 2 years when stored properly. Similarly, include dried fruits as part of your first purchases for the stockpile; they not only provide necessary nutrients but can also last for an impressive 25 years if freeze-dried and stored correctly! Gradually increase the quantity and variety of foods over time until you achieve a substantial supply.

Taking advantage of sales and bulk deals

Sales and bulk deals offer a cost-effective way to build your emergency food stockpile. Grocery stores often have periodic sales on canned goods and non-perishable items that are perfect for long-term storage.

Similarly, bulk purchase deals at warehouse clubs can result in significant savings. By planning out your purchases in advance, you can gradually accumulate a variety of foods without straining your budget too much.

This strategy doesn’t just save you money; it also ensures you’re prepared for any disaster or unforeseen event.

Considering your family’s preferences

Family preferences play a crucial role in building the emergency food stockpile. A well-curated stash not only fulfills the nutritional needs but also boosts morale during stressful times.

Do your children love canned peaches? Does your spouse prefer gluten-free foods? Include these favorites. Accommodate special dietary needs of any family member for a balanced and diverse supply.

If comfort foods like cookies or sweetened cereals are cherished, add them to your list as they can serve as stress busters in hard situations. However, always check labels to ensure that packed food adheres to health standards and offers a reasonable shelf life.

The Best Survival Foods to Stockpile

From bottled water and canned or freeze-dried meats to non-perishable foods, meal kits, soups, stews, and nuts—discover the very best survival foods you should be stockpiling for emergency situations.

Keep reading to familiarize yourself with these vital food items that not only have an extended shelf life but can also provide essential nutrients in times of crisis.

Bottled water

Bottled water is a prime candidate for every emergency food supply. Its importance can’t be overstated as it’s often the first necessity to become scarce in situations of crisis. This ideal storage option ensures you have access to clean, safe drinking water when other sources might get tainted or polluted.

Planning your bottled water stockpile should be strategic and systematic. For optimal preparedness, consider having at least a three-to-six-month supply stored away. This will safeguard against both short term emergencies and lengthier disruptions, securing hydration for all members of your household during uncertain times.

Canned or freeze-dried meats

Canned meats are a valuable addition to any emergency food supply due to their convenience and long shelf life. They contain high levels of protein, essential for sustained energy during an unexpected crisis.

Similarly, freeze-dried meats offer immense benefits in survival situations. These products undergo a special preservation process that removes moisture while maintaining nutritional content.

As a result, they remain edible and nutritious for many years when stored correctly. Plus, preparation is usually as simple as adding water, making them an excellent option during power outages or other disruptions where cooking may be difficult.

Non-perishable foods

Non-perishable foods are an excellent choice for long-term food storage due to their extended shelf life. Items such as pasta, rice, and beans remain staples in emergency preparedness because they maintain good quality over time without requiring refrigeration.

These nutrient-dense ingredients can help form balanced meals that will provide the necessary energy during a disaster situation. For those with specific dietary needs, many gluten-free options exist in non-perishable formats as well.

Efficient packaging strategies like canning or dehydrating further extend the lifespan of these essentials, adding to their suitability for survival scenarios.

Soups and stews

Soups and stews are excellent additions to any emergency food supply due to their long shelf life. They are packed with essential vitamins and nutrients, serving as an energizing meal in survival situations.

These meals can be easily prepared in advance and preserved through methods such as canning, dehydrating, or freeze-drying which extends their durability significantly. The flexibility of homemade soups and stews allows customization according to individual dietary needs and preferences, making them a versatile choice for many families during emergencies.


Nuts serve as a powerhouse of energy and nutrients, essential during an emergency situation. They are rich in proteins and healthy fats, providing the necessary calories for survival.

Whether eaten as a snack or included in various recipes, they offer versatile benefits to meet dietary needs.

One major advantage is their long shelf life when stored properly, making nuts reliable staples for your emergency food supply. They do not require any refrigeration or cooking prior to consumption which further adds to their preference in disaster scenarios.

Their compact nature also makes them convenient for storage without taking up much space. Investing in a variety of nuts ensures diverse taste options while maintaining high nutritional value.

Proper Storage of Your Emergency Food Supply

Discover how to keep your emergency food supply safe and lasting longer, guiding you on avoiding moisture, ideal storage temperatures, and the correct containers for optimal preservation.

Dive deeper into this crucial topic and unlock practical insights!

Avoiding moisture, oxygen, and sunlight

Proper storage of your emergency food supplies means keeping them away from moisture, oxygen, and sunlight. These elements can degrade the quality and longevity of your food. Here are some ways to avoid these harmful conditions:

  1. Store food in airtight containers: These containers can significantly reduce the amount of oxygen that reaches your food.
  2. Use opaque or dark-colored storage solutions: Sunlight can cause certain foods to degrade faster. By using dark or opaque containers, you block out the damaging UV rays.
  3. Consider desiccants: These substances can absorb moisture in the environment, keeping it away from your food.
  4. Keep foods off the floor: Floors often contain moisture and by placing your emergency food supplies on shelving units or pallets you limit exposure.
  5. Choose a cool, dry location for storage: Areas like basements or root cellars are often cooler and less humid, slowing down deterioration caused by heat and humidity.
  6. Don’t store near chemicals or odorous items: Certain products release fumes that could seep into your foods altering their taste and safety.

Maintaining appropriate temperature

Keeping your emergency food supply at the correct temperature is critical to extending its shelf life and maintaining its quality. Ideally, you should store these supplies in a space away from sunlight or direct heat sources, as exposure can cause premature spoilage.

A dry place that’s free of humidity also works best since moisture can encourage bacteria and mold growth. Temperature swings are bad news too, they affect the food’s quality adversely over time.

Therefore ensuring consistent temperatures for storage becomes key to preserving emergency food supplies effectively. Using tools like oxygen absorbers removes excess oxygen from sealed containers and further lowers the chance of spoilage by limiting oxidation reactions.

Choosing the right containers

Containers play a central role in emergency food storage. They shield your provisions from light, heat and moisture while keeping pests at bay. Airtight containers are particularly effective as they help create an extended life food pantry.

Glass jars, metal cans or hard plastic containers are all reliable options for long-term storage.

Deciding on the right container also involves considering the type of food being stored. Dry goods such as rice, beans, and pasta fare well in vacuum sealed bags or canisters with oxygen absorbers.

Foods that come pre-packaged like canned vegetables or soups can be stored directly in their original packaging but should always be checked for dents or leaks to prevent spoilage.

Conclusion AND FAQ’S:

Planning an emergency food supply is absolutely vital for maintaining safety and peace of mind in uncertain times. By carefully selecting, storing, and replenishing your stockpile, you can ensure that you are prepared for almost any situation.

Whether it’s a natural disaster or an unexpected personal event, having a well-rounded emergency food storage becomes your lifeline. Therefore be proactive – start planning today!

Is there gluten-free emergency food suitable for people with dietary restrictions?

Yes, there are several brands offering gluten-free emergency food. Brands like Good To-Go and Survive2Thrive provide a good range of gluten-free options.

How does Valley Food Storage stand as a brand for emergency food supply?

Valley Food Storage is a reputable brand for emergency food supply with a focus on natural, preservative-free meals. Many of their offerings are also gluten-free, making them an excellent choice if you’re looking for gluten-free emergency food.

Why is Mountain House considered one of the top brands for survival food kits?

Mountain House is recognized for its quality and variety. They offer a broad selection of meals including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even desserts. Furthermore, their meals have a long shelf life typically up to 30 years under ideal storage conditions, which makes them a top choice for long term food storage.

How long will a ReadyWise emergency food supply kit last?

The longevity of a ReadyWise emergency food supply kit depends on the specific kit purchased. Many kits are designed to last 72 hours, while others can provide an adequate supply of food for several weeks. Always check the product specifications for details.

Are there any meal kits suitable for emergencies that one can have on hand?

Yes, many brands offer emergency meal kits designed to be stored for long periods. Companies like Augason Farms, Mountain House, and ReadyWise offer meal kits that are easy to prepare, nutritious, and have a long shelf life.

What are the 10 best emergency food brands to consider?

We’ve rounded up the 10 best brands offering emergency food supply kits: Mountain House, ReadyWise, Augason Farms, Valley Food Storage, Good To-Go, Survive2Thrive, Wise Company, Legacy Food Storage, Emergency Essentials, and My Patriot Supply.

Should I have a survival food supply even if I’m not in a tornado zone?

Yes, absolutely. While tornadoes may increase the urgency for an emergency supply, other disasters such as floods, earthquakes, or even substantial power outages also warrant having a survival food kit on hand. The U.S Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends having at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food in your emergency supply kit.

What kind of food is included in a typical emergency food supply kit?

A typical emergency food supply kit includes a variety of meals to cover breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They often consist of freeze-dried meals, canned food, and dehydrated food. The recipes are usually simple and require only water for preparation. Some kits might even include desserts or snack items.

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Matt New

Living off-grid since 2012 with my wife Amy and dog MJ in the jungles of Costa Rica. Co-creater of the award winning Fusion Home.

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