Best Food for Emergency Supply
The best types of emergency foods meet the following criteria: They have a long shelf life, they don’t require refrigeration or much preparation, and they provide a lot of calories and nutrition in every serving. There are some foods that naturally meet these criteria—foods like canned beans and soups, dried pasta, nuts and nut butters, and tuna fish check some or all of those boxes. But they aren’t your only options. Emergency food supply companies offer a variety of different types of foods so you can stay satisfied and strong in times of crisis or food shortage.
Here are some of the most common types of foods included in emergency supply kits, and the best options for each:
Ready-to-Eat Meal Packs
Forgive the pun, but the “meat and potatoes” of most emergency food supply kits are MREs, or “Meals Ready to Eat.” These are complete meals that often come in individual pouches, which require little to no preparation. Soups, stews and chilis, pasta and rice and bean dishes, oatmeal and pancakes are some common MREs sold by emergency food supply providers. Often, these meals come in large buckets and can be purchased in bulk according to your needs—most companies offer a selection of short- and long-term options. The survival company 4Patriots, for example, sells a variety of kits featuring various quantities of non-perishable breakfasts, lunches and dinners to cover customers anywhere from 72 hours all the way up to one full year. The meals are easy to prepare—at most, you’ll need to boil some of them before they’re served, but that can be done on a campfire if an oven is not accessible. And they taste surprisingly delicious. Some example meals include America’s Finest Mac and Cheese, Cozy Potato Soup, Cowboy Rice and Beans, Black Bean Burger Mix, Dinner Bell Broccoli Bake and Buttermilk Pancake Mix.
Some companies even offer emergency meal kits designed to accommodate special dietary needs. Ready Wise, for example, offers organic and gluten-free MREs, and Legacy Food Storage offers a wide variety of vegetarian-friendly dishes.
Canned beans, soups, pastas, veggies and fruits make excellent emergency food since they typically have extremely long shelf lives and don’t require much preparation. Canned meats are another great option since they are easy to prepare but also provide a good amount of calories, protein and nutrition. One of the best canned food providers is Survival Frog, which sells BPA-free cans of high quality, all-natural USA meats with no added fillers, preservatives, growth hormones or chemicals. All of their survival canned food is gluten-and dairy-free, and they’re made with two simple ingredients, meat and sea salt. They offer a wide variety of proteins, including beef, ground beef hamburger, chicken, turkey and pork, and they’re made to last—all of which have a 25-year shelf life. Another great option for canned food is Red Fora—the company sells a variety of high quality canned proteins made by their partner, Mountain House, which come with a 30-Year Taste Guarantee.
Freeze-Dried and Dehydrated Food
Freeze dried and dehydrated fruits and veggies are an important addition to any emergency food supply. Not only can they add a lot of flavor, they can also help ensure you get the vitamins and minerals that may be lacking in other emergency food supply products, like vitamin C, iron, antioxidants, potassium and fiber. Survival brand Legacy Food Storage offers an excellent assortment of dehydrated and freeze dried fruits, all of which have a 10- to 15-year shelf life. The company sells bags of pineapple, strawberries, peaches, apples, bananas and blueberries. You can purchase individual bags (each contains 25 servings), or you can opt for their Fruit Assortment Variety Pack, which includes a bag of each flavor. Legacy Food Storage also offers a variety of freeze dried vegetables like corn, green beans, carrots, broccoli and instant mashed potatoes. Like the fruits, these can be purchased individually or in an assortment pack. Augason Farms is also an excellent choice for freeze dried and dehydrated fruits and veggies. The company offers an expansive selection of produce that includes many options other companies don’t offer, like mango and raspberries, bell peppers and spinach.
Produce isn’t the only kind of food that can be eaten in dehydrated form. Some companies sell freeze dried meats, too. Valley Food Storage, for example, sells USDA inspected freeze dried meat that has all the same nutrition you’d expect from fresh meat—you just add water. Ready Wise is another great option for freeze dried emergency foods that even sells freeze dried coffee.
Bars, Shakes and More
Bars and shake mixes are a great addition to any emergency food supply since they require little to no prep and are portable. 4Patriots offers shockingly delicious lemon-shortbread meal bars that come in disaster-resistant packaging and last for five years. They’re 400 calories per bar and require no cooking, water or heat, making them a simple and satisfying source of nutrition whenever you need it.
In addition to bars, many brands, like Nutrient Survival, sell powdered shakes and egg blends designed to deliver maximum nutrition in an easy to prep format. Nutrient Survival also sells vitamin butter, which is butter that has been fortified with a whole host of body-boosting nutrients.