Our modern lifestyle has led us away from backyard gardens. It’s almost impossible to feed your family from farmhouse staples. But thanks to grocery stores, you don’t have to worry about keeping food on the table. However, emergencies often come with little or no warning: earthquakes, blizzards, hurricanes, tsunamis, etc. These situations could leave your family without a secure food source. You will need food to keep you healthy until the emergency blows over or you get rescued. Stockpiling food is like buying insurance: you may never face a disaster, but when you do, the food supplies may prove priceless.
Stockpiling food can mean the difference between having the resources to take care of your family in an emergency situation and having to scramble or stand in line for scarce food supplies when supply chain shuts down. Small emergencies like winter storms have proved just how easy it is for food supplies to run out due to panic runs on grocery stores and supermarkets. Even if your area has no history of natural disasters, it pays to have a sizeable food stockpile at hand well in advance. Knowing how to safely handle food items will help you weather the storm with less stress, worry and inconvenience.
Picking The Right Food
It’s difficult to plan for the unknown. Since you don’t know what disaster will strike, it can be challenging to determine what to buy. Eating during an emergency is different from your everyday diet. You will be forced to eat things that your family isn’t used to eating. Of course, that raises the question of what to stockpile. Since you might need to expend more energy during this period, you will need to consume high-energy, high-protein food.
It helps to know the individual calorific needs of each family member and multiply it by the number of people in the family. Consider any special dietary requirements, individual tastes and the period of time you’ll have to live off your emergency food supply. If you plan right, you will have a variety of foods and nutrients.
Your stockpile should have all the major food groups. Remember to include whole grains, high-quality protein, healthy fats and supplements of vital foods that can’t be freeze dried. The foods should be well packaged in airtight containers and have lengthy expiration dates. Try to avoid food items that are high in preservatives, sugar and salt. You can add some extras like chocolate and coffee to spice things up.
Best Food To Stock For An Emergency
We have prepared a list of foods to stock for an emergency:
Whole Grains – while floor doesn’t store well, whole grains like wheat, rye and spelt do. You can mill whole grains to make your own pancakes, bread, cookies, cakes and other baked foods from scratch. Whole grains provide energy and fiber you need for digestive health.
Cereals – you will need something for breakfast. Stockpile whatever cereals your family eats. You can buy, corn, oat, rice, wheat-based cereals, or go for multigrain breakfast cereals. Ensure they’re properly packaged to keep them fresh for longer. Avoid sugary cereals with preservatives. Whole wheat crackers are a good sh083-20nt for bread and sandwiches.
Nuts and Trail Mixes – walnuts, almonds, pecans and cashews are high-energy foods that are nourishing and convenient for snacking during an emergency. They are rich in healthy fats and also contain protein. To prevent them from oxidizing and losing freshness, store them in vacuum-packed containers.
Rice – rice is a rich source of carbohydrates and a great accompaniment to casseroles, stews and vegetable dishes. Consider buying whole grain rice instead of quick rice as the latter has a very limited shelf life. If stored properly, whole grain rice can last over 30 years.
Peanut Butter – peanut butter is a good source of energy. It has protein and healthful fats that will keep you full for a few days. Also, after opening the jar, you don’t have to refrigerate it.
Canned Meat/Fish – canned meat has a shelf life of 2+ years. Great sources of essential protein, consider included canned salmon, tuna, turkey or chicken. Oily fish are high in omega 3 fatty acids. Stock up meat well since it will be the hardest meal to find during a crisis.
Canned Vegetables – if you are vegan, you can try canned veggies such as peas, carrots and green beans. They will provide you essential nutrients in the absence of fresh ones. You can try a case of mixed vegetables to get a well-balanced meal straight from the jar.
Dried Pulses – dried beans, split peas, lentils and chickpeas have an amazingly long shelf life when stored under the right conditions. They are also nutritious and easy to cook. If you don’t eat meat, beans can be a good non-meat source of protein.
Powdered Milk – when fresh milk isn’t an option, powdered milk is a good way to get the goodness of milk into your emergency food pantry. Most dairy products need refrigeration, and this substitute is an excellent source of Vitamin D and Calcium.
Granola Bars and Power Bars – these portable, tasty treats have over 6 months shelf life. Food bars are compact nutrition and should be included in your everyday food storage. They’re a good source of carbohydrates, making them healthy and filling.
Cooking Oil – cooking oil is very vital to stockpile as you can’t cook many foods without fat/oil. Buy different oils like olive and coconut oils and store them in small containers.
Honey – besides flavoring beverages, you can use honey to bake and sweeten breakfast cereals. Honey is also a natural preservative and stores amazingly well. Honey almost never goes bad.
Cheese – another great high calcium and protein option, cheese will serve you for extended periods without spoiling. To extend the expiry period, triple-dip it in wax to form an airtight seal around the cheese.
Salt – besides seasoning, salt will help you to preserve food. It inhibits the growth of germs to help extend the expiry of your foods. The shelf life of salt is indefinite.
Multivitamins – if your emergency situation lasts for several days, vitamins and mineral deficiencies will be inevitable. Having supplements in your pantry will help replace the nutrients you would have consumed on a normal diet.
Canned Juices – it is also vital to stockpile canned foods with high liquid content. Great examples include vegetable juice and pineapple juice. These will provide you with nutrition and hydration. Also, consider canned coconut milk and condensed milk.
Dried Fruits – since you won’t have access to any fresh fruits, consider stockpiling dried fruits such as dates, cranberries, apples, raisins and apricots. These fruits offer dietary fiber and other nutrients to provide you with a significant amount of calories.
Canned Soup and Chili – low-sodium soups and chili can be consumed straight out of the can and possess many nutritional benefits. They are mostly added to dishes to provide texture and flavor.
Dried Pasta – dried pasta will enable you to whip up various meals. It has a long shelf life due to its low fat and moisture content.
In light of several recent natural disasters, disaster preparedness is no longer optional. A natural disaster could force you to live on your wits and food supply. You don’t have to live in a farmhouse to stockpile foods, supermarkets and grocery stores have most of the foods to stock for emergency.
Remember the average grocery store has just 3-4 days’ worth of food. In disaster strikes and draws out for longer than 4 days, many families will be in dire straits. To ensure that your family makes it through such emergencies, buy enough food to tide you over until help arrives.
Implement your food storage plan over time. Start small if you need to, and grow your stockpile gradually.