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Top Foods To Include On Your Emergency Food List

Updated: Mar 13, 2023




The general public often asks us about the big picture regarding emergency preparedness.


While Secure Foods Emergency Food Kits are designed for businesses, organizations, and government entities to keep going strong throughout any crisis, we want to offer tips on items to keep in your pantry, why it is important, and how to think about it.


After all, a self-sustaining household puts less stress on neighbors, towns, cities, and emergency responders.


By having a well-stocked pantry, you can help many others survive, recover, and become a hero within your community.


You never know when disaster might strike, so it's important to be prepared with enough food to last you and your family for at least a few weeks.


Here are the top foods to include on your emergency food list:

  1. Canned goods - Canned foods are a valuable option for emergency situations because they have a long shelf life and are easy to store. Some good choices include canned fruits, vegetables, meats, and soups.

  2. Grains - Grains are another staple for any emergency food list. Stock up on rice, pasta, quinoa, and other grains that can be cooked easily.

  3. Dried fruits and nuts - Dried fruits and nuts are a great source of energy and nutrition. They are also lightweight and easy to store.

  4. Peanut butter - Peanut butter is a good source of protein and can be eaten on its own or used as a spread on bread or crackers.

  5. Shelf-stable milk - Milk is a rich source of calcium and vitamins. Choose shelf-stable milk that doesn't require refrigeration.


Importance Of Stocking Emergency Food

Having emergency food on hand is crucial in any emergency situation.


Whether it's a natural disaster, power outage, or other emergencies, having enough food to last a few weeks can help you and your family stay safe and healthy.


Choosing foods with a long shelf life requires little to no cooking and provides enough nutrition to keep you going.


Top Survival Foods To Stockpile

In addition to the foods listed above, several other foods are great for emergency preparedness. These include:

  1. Jerky - Jerky is a dense source of protein and can be stored for long periods of time.

  2. Canned fish - Canned fish, such as tuna or salmon, is a good omega-3 fatty acids and protein source.

  3. Honey - Honey is a natural sweetener that can be used to flavor food or eaten on its own. It also has antimicrobial properties that can help prevent infections.

  4. Seeds - Seeds such as chia, flax, and pumpkin seeds are excellent sources of protein, fiber, and healthy fats.

  5. Chocolate - Chocolate is an excellent energy source and can help boost your mood in stressful situations.


Foods To Store For Short-Term Emergency

If you are preparing for a short-term emergency, such as a power outage, you must choose foods that don't require refrigeration or cooking. Some good options include:

  1. Crackers - Crackers are a good source of carbohydrates and can be eaten on their own or used as a base for other foods.

  2. Canned fruits and vegetables - Canned fruits and vegetables are easy to store and provide important nutrients.

  3. Energy bars - Energy bars are a convenient source of energy and nutrition.

  4. Instant oatmeal - Instant oatmeal can be made with hot water and provides a filling breakfast option.

  5. Cereal - Cereal is a good source of carbohydrates and can be eaten dry or with shelf-stable milk.

Long-Term Emergency Food Storage

Suppose you're preparing for a long-term emergency.


In that case, it's important to consider foods that have a longer shelf life and can provide you with the necessary nutrients over an extended period of time.


Some great long-term emergency food storage options include:

1. dehydrated fruits and vegetables

2. freeze-dried meats and other foods are lightweight and have a long shelf life. They can be rehydrated with water and provide essential nutrients.

3. powdered milk

4. Grains such as wheat, corn, and oats can also be stored for long periods of time.


Variety in Long-Term Food Selection

Having a flavorful variety of food is important when preparing for a long-term emergency for several reasons:

  1. Nutrition: A variety of flavorful foods can provide a balanced and nutritious diet. Different foods provide different nutrients and having a variety of foods ensures that all essential nutrients are being consumed.

  2. Mental health: In a long-term emergency situation, people may experience stress and anxiety. Having flavorful and tasty foods can help boost morale and provide a sense of comfort during difficult times.

  3. Appetite: If people are not enjoying their food, they may not feel like eating enough, which can lead to malnutrition and other health problems. A variety of flavorful foods can help to maintain a healthy appetite.

  4. Variety: Eating the same foods daily can become monotonous and lead to food fatigue, making people bored with the limited options available. This can also lead to decreased appetite and nutritional deficiencies.

Overall, having a flavorful variety of food when preparing for a long-term emergency is essential to maintaining good nutrition, mental health, appetite, and variety.


Tools & Equipment for Food Preparation

In addition to stockpiling food, it's important to remember to get the necessary tools and equipment for food preparation. Some items to consider include:

1. a can opener

2. a portable stove

3. cooking utensils

4. a water filtration system.


Tips & Considerations for Food and Water Supplies

When preparing your emergency food supply, it's essential to consider your family's dietary needs and preferences. If someone in your household has allergies or dietary restrictions, include appropriate foods in your supply.


It's also important to regularly check and rotate your food supply to ensure everything is safe to consume.


Regarding water, it's recommended to have at least one gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation. More on water is detailed below.


FAQs - Emergency Food List

Some common questions about emergency food supplies include:


How long do emergency food supplies last?

Emergency food supplies can last anywhere from a few days to several years, depending on the type of food and how it's stored.


Some types of emergency food, such as freeze-dried or dehydrated meals, can last up to 25 years if stored properly.


What should I do if my emergency food supply runs out?

You have to plan ahead and think long-term about your emergency food supply. While having a stockpile of non-perishable foods is a great start, it's also important to have a plan in place for when those supplies run out.

One of the most important things you can do is to learn how to grow your own food.


A garden or small farm can provide you with a steady supply of fresh produce that can supplement your emergency food stores.


Additionally, learning how to preserve food through canning, drying, or other methods can help extend the life of your harvest.


Hunting and fishing can also be valuable food sources in an emergency situation. However, having the proper equipment and knowledge to do so safely and responsibly is important.

Consider taking a hunting or fishing course, and make sure you have the necessary licenses and permits.

Finally, bartering with others can be a way to acquire food and supplies when your own stockpile runs low. Consider joining a local community or network of like-minded individuals who are also interested in emergency preparedness.


You may be able to trade goods or services for food, or even work together to grow and harvest food.

In any case, being resourceful and adaptable in an emergency is important. Feel free to get creative and think outside the box when it comes to acquiring food and supplies.


With the right mindset and preparation, you can increase your chances of survival.

How often should I rotate my emergency food supply?

It's generally recommended to rotate your emergency food supply every 6-12 months, depending on the type of food and how it's stored. This ensures that the food stays fresh and edible in an emergency.

Not rotating your emergency food supply can have significant consequences. The most obvious is that the food may spoil or go bad, making it unsafe to eat. Eating spoiled or expired food can lead to foodborne illness, which can be severe and even life-threatening in some cases.

If you don't rotate your emergency food supply, you may find that the food has lost its nutritional value or flavor. This can make it less appetizing and less effective at providing the energy and nutrients needed to survive an emergency.

Another consequence of not rotating your emergency food supply is that it may not be suitable for your specific emergency situation. For example, if you have stored a lot of canned goods that require a can opener, but your can opener is lost or broken, you may need help accessing your food.


Or, if you've stored a lot of high-sugar or high-salt foods, you may find that they don't provide the sustained energy you need in a survival situation.


It is best to go through your stored food at least every 6 months or more to ensure that what you have is fresh, safe to eat, and suitable for the anticipated emergencies in your specific area.

Can I store food in the garage or basement?

While storing food in a garage or basement is possible, it's not always the best option. These areas can be prone to temperature fluctuations and moisture, which can shorten the shelf life of the food. It's best to store emergency food in a cool, dry place below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

What's the best way to store water for emergencies?

The best way to store emergency water is in clean, food-grade containers for long-term storage. It's recommended to store at least one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, and preferably two weeks. Water should be stored in a cool, dark place and rotated every six months to ensure freshness.


What are the best ways to make water safe to drink?

1. Boiling: Boiling water for at least one minute can kill most types of bacteria, viruses, and parasites that may be present.

  1. Chlorination: Chlorine can be used to disinfect water. Use unscented chlorine bleach that contains 5.25 to 6.0% sodium hypochlorite. Add 8 drops (or 1/8 teaspoon) of bleach per gallon of water, stir, and let it sit for 30 minutes before drinking.

  2. Distillation: Distillation is a process that involves boiling water and collecting the steam, which is then condensed back into the water. This process removes contaminants from the water.

  3. Filtration: There are many types of water filters available, including those that use activated carbon, ceramic, or reverse osmosis technology. Look for certified filters to remove bacteria, viruses, and parasites.

  4. UV light: Ultraviolet (UV) light can kill bacteria, viruses, and parasites in water. Portable UV water purifiers can be used to treat small amounts of water.

It's important to note that not all methods will remove all types of contaminants, so choosing the most suitable method is important based on the quality of the water you have available.


Additionally, before an emergency, remember to have multiple ways to purify water in case one method fails or is unavailable.


What kind of emergencies should I consider preparing for?

People in the United States should be prepared for several types of long-term emergencies. Here are some of the most common ones:

  1. Natural disasters: These can include hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, earthquakes, and other severe weather events.

  2. Pandemics: A pandemic is an outbreak of an infectious disease that spreads across a large geographic area, potentially affecting a significant portion of the population.

  3. Economic collapse: In the event of an economic collapse, there may be shortages of food, water, and other essential supplies, as well as a breakdown of law and order.

  4. Cyberattacks: A cyberattack on critical infrastructure could disrupt essential services like electricity, water, and communications.

  5. Terrorism: Acts of terrorism could lead to widespread destruction and chaos and could involve biological or chemical agents.

  6. Nuclear war: While the likelihood of a nuclear war is low, the potential consequences are catastrophic, and it's important to be prepared for the possibility.

Final Thoughts

Remember, prioritizing different types of emergencies in a specific area of the country can be challenging but essential for efficient emergency preparation.


The first step is to research and understand the types of disasters common in the region. For example, coastal regions may be more susceptible to hurricanes, while areas prone to earthquakes or wildfires require different preparedness measures.


After identifying the most likely disasters, it's important to assess personal vulnerabilities and prioritize accordingly. Factors to consider include age, mobility, access to resources, and family size.


For instance, families with young children or older adults may need to prioritize water and food supplies. At the same time, individuals with mobility issues may require a backup power source or emergency medication.


Lastly, it's important to stay informed about any changes in the region's disaster risks and adjust emergency plans accordingly. Regular updates from local authorities and emergency management agencies can help in this regard.


To Conclude: Keep Food on Hand & Be Prepared for Any Emergency

Having an emergency food supply is an essential part of any preparedness plan.


By choosing nutrient-dense foods with a long shelf life and regularly checking and rotating your supply, you can be prepared for any emergency that may come your way.


Remember also to have the necessary food preparation tools and equipment and consider your family's dietary needs and preferences.


By taking these steps, you can have peace of mind knowing that you and your loved ones will have access to food during a crisis.


Jump to our store or download our book that helps people get creative in personal emergency food supply and nutrition considerations.


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