Emergency Food Supply

Emergency Food Types How to Build a Stockpile That Can Feed Your Family for Weeks or Months


When it comes to emergency prep, having the right food is a must. Stocking up on food to feed your family for weeks or months is essential. Yet, it can be overwhelming knowing which type of food to get. This article will discuss:

  • The types of food to stockpile
  • Ways to store it
  • Calorie-dense food for long-term storage
  • Minerals and proteins to sustain you in an emergency
  • Freeze-dried and dehydrated food over canned goods
  • How much food to have on hand

Let's get prepped!

Benefits of Building an Emergency Food Stockpile

Having emergency food is a great way to make sure your family is fed in times of disaster or disruption. Emergencies come in many forms, such as floods, earthquakes, or even regional issues. You don't need a full-blown emergency to use an emergency food stockpile; you can use it to save money on groceries or make meals quickly.

An emergency stockpile is useful and helpful in any emergency. Eating healthy doesn't have to be boring; there are lots of nutritious options at the store. These include:

  • Non-perishables like canned soup, pasta sauces, wheat berries, oats, rice, lentils, tea bags, dried fruits, flour, nuts, peanut butter, and cooking oil in squeeze bottles.

Types of Foods to Stockpile

Emergency situations can be life-threatening. Having the right food can make a difference. Ensure your family is nourished by stocking up on the right types of food. This will provide enough food to last for weeks or months.

To create an emergency food stockpile, you need to know what kind of food items to buy. Here's what you should have in your emergency food stockpile:

  • Grains (such as rice, pasta, and oatmeal)
  • Canned or dried fruits and vegetables
  • Canned meats (such as tuna, salmon, chicken, and turkey)
  • Protein sources (such as beans, peanuts, and peanut butter)
  • Nuts, seeds, and trail mix
  • Powdered milk
  • Dried or canned soups and stews
  • Crackers and other shelf-stable snacks
  • Cooking oil
  • Vitamins and minerals

Non-Perishable Foods

Non-perishables are items which can be kept without spoiling. Many food items in the grocery store have a long shelf life, making them great for storing up. They often come in cans, jars, boxes, and bags. These foods include:

  • Grains – Rice, oats, pasta, cereal
  • Canned goods – Soups, meats, fruits, vegetables
  • Protein sources – Beans, lentils
  • Preserved foods – Jams and jellies
  • Oils – Olive oil, coconut oil
  • Pantry staples – Flour, sugar
  • Snack food items – Nuts, seeds, or dried fruit.

You can stock up on non-perishables in advance to guarantee your family has something to eat in an emergency. Consider adding other items such as bottled water or freeze dried meals based on your situation.

Canned Goods

Canned goods are a go-to for nutrition, cost-effectiveness and shelf-stability. Tuna, salmon and other fish give you protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. Stock up on vegetables like corn, carrots, green beans and peas for vitamins and minerals.

Canned fruits have an extended shelf life, so they're great to have in a pinch. Mix canned fruit salad with whipped topping or granola for a sweet treat. Plus, they can contribute to fast and balanced meals. Pick foods you already enjoy eating as part of your stockpile. Low-salt and no-salt options are better for health. Consider a sodium rinser if you're using high-sodium options.

Rotate your stock every few months by using the oldest items first. This way, your backup food will stay safe in an emergency:

  • Pick foods you already enjoy eating as part of your stockpile.
  • Choose low-salt and no-salt options for better health.
  • Consider a sodium rinser if using high-sodium options.
  • Rotate your stock every few months.

Dry Goods

Stockpiling dry goods is essential! They can last a long time, and provide you with the nutrition you need if food is scarce. Consider stocking:

  • Pasta
  • Grains (rice, oats, rye and barley)
  • Legumes (lentils, peas, split peas, navy beans)
  • Canned fruits & veg (no added sugar/salt)
  • Dried herbs & seasonings
  • Nuts
  • Sugar-free trail mix
  • Canned/packet soups
  • Dried/freeze-dried potatoes
  • Powdered milk (great calcium source if cow's milk isn't available)

Freeze-Dried Foods

Freeze-dried food is ideal for emergencies! It's lightweight and can last a long time. No need to freeze it, as it swells up as soon as it's hydrated. Plus, it's ready to eat or cook in just two minutes.

Common items include apples, bananas, mushrooms, dairy products, potatoes, and eggs. Also, you can find ready-made meals like beef stroganoff and chicken à la king.

Each package offers 270 to 360 calories per serving. It's 1 ½ cups per person. Add more nutrition to your meal with low calorie sides like veggies, fruit, or crackers. These meals have a long shelf life, usually up to 25 years. No need to restock often, unless you use them for camping.

Powdered Milk

Powdered milk is a fantastic way to add flavor to baked goods, soups, and casseroles. It's also a handy item to have in an emergency food stockpile. Powdered milk is usually packaged dry or canned and can last up to 3 years or more. Some brands offer extra protein and flavorings, as well as concentrations that don't need heating.

Even though reconstituted dry milk doesn't taste the same as liquid milk, it still gives your family access to calcium, vitamin A, and other nutrients when dairy products are scarce.

Perishable Foods

Perishables are unprocessed foods with a limited shelf life. These include meats, dairy, vegetables and fruits. To preserve them, there needs to be a right combination of temperature, humidity and oxygen levels.

For stocking up on perishable foods during emergencies, lean meats with little fat or sodium content are ideal. Canned fish like tuna and salmon are also good options. Investing in an emergency food drying tool is a great idea too.

To keep perishables for longer-term storage, freezing green beans, mushrooms and other vegetables prior to disaster striking is an option. Frozen perishables usually taste best in 12-18 months. As long as they remain frozen and consistently cold, they can store for longer.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Fresh fruits and veggies are essential for your emergency food stockpile. Fresh produce is more nutritious than canned. Choose fruits and veggies that can store long-term, such as potatoes, onions, apples, oranges, carrots, and cabbage. If you have limited space, go for oranges or apples that don't need prepping.

Invest in a small greenhouse or grow your own garden to get fresh produce, even in bad times.

Meat and Dairy

Meat and dairy are essential for your stockpile. Meat is rich in protein – important for growth and muscle development. Dairy has calcium and other minerals that are essential for good health.

You can't just rely on beans, grains and canned vegetables for nutrition. Canned meat – like beef stew or tuna – is a great source of protein when there's no fresh food. Freeze-dried beef and chicken can last for up to 25 years if kept sealed and frozen.

Dairy doesn't have to be refrigerated. Powdered milk products, like whey protein, have a long shelf life, plus butter, cheese and yogurt powder can provide important nutrition without needing to be refrigerated.

Grains and Legumes

It's smart to include grains and legumes in your emergency food stockpile. These items last a long time, and they provide proteins, vitamins, and fibers. They're the foundation of any healthy diet, especially during a crisis.

Grains: Stock up on non-perishable grains like rice, wheat berries, oats, and quinoa. These come in a variety of forms such as flour or flakes. You can make breads or other dishes with them. Try to store some sprouted grain products that don't require cooking. They are softer and easier to digest.

Legumes: Lentils, chickpeas, beans, and split peas are great sources of vitamins B3 (niacin), B2 (riboflavin), and B1 (thiamin). They also contain dietary fiber which helps keep the digestive system healthy. Legumes don't weigh much per serving. So you can easily transport them if needed after an emergency. Lentils are great for soups or pasta dishes. Wheat berries can serve as a base food in many recipes.

Storage Tips for Your Stockpile

Create an emergency food supply! It'll last weeks or even months if there's a crisis. Storing it right is vital. You want it safe, tasty, and ready to grab. Here are the key tips for building and keeping your stockpile:

  • Ensure proper storage conditions: temperature, humidity, and air circulation.
  • Rotate your food supply regularly.
  • Make sure all food is sealed in airtight containers.
  • Label all food with the purchase date.
  • Keep food in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.
  • Store food in a location that is easily accessible.

Temperature and Humidity Control

Temperature and humidity are two important things to think about when setting up your food supply. Too cold or too hot, or too much moisture, can make food bad.

Most emergency food stores well at 10-21°C (50-70°F). 65% relative humidity is ideal, but it varies by place.

  • Grains and cereals should be cool and dry (below 70°F/21°C, 55% humidity).
  • Meat stocks and jerky should be 40°F/4°C and 70% humidity.
  • Canned foods should be 50-70°F/10-21°C with 60% humidity.
  • Bakery items (bread, cake mixes, flour, sugar etc.) need cool areas, and if sealed well, last up to 12 months.
  • Soups, sauces and other watery canned goods should be 50-70°F/10-21°C with 65% humidity.

Proper Labeling and Rotating Stock

Label your items when building a stockpile! It's essential to keep track of what you have and when it expires. Rotation is also key – oldest food first! Dairy needs more regular rotation than canned veggies. Doing the work initially saves time, money and storage space.

Keep rotating and restocking during normal grocery trips so no food goes bad. It's worth the effort!

Consider Investing in a Refrigerator or Freezer

Invest in a separate refrigerator or freezer for storing perishable foods and buying long-lasting items in multiples. This will save money and keep your stash fresh. Ensure the unit is energy-efficient and has manual voltage settings. It'll work when the power is out! Plus, you can freeze more stockpile items and have ready-to-eat meals.

Consider size, capacity, defrosting settings, temperature control settings, etc. This will help keep food safe while saving you storage space for upcoming sales or clearance events.


To prep for any emergency, having a stockpile of food is essential. You need nourishment and energy, without taking up too much time. Canned or dried goods should be the bulk of your stash. Throw in some cereal, freeze-dried meals, MREs, and long-term storage items like honey or wheat. Don't forget about your pets too!

Your household needs enough food for several weeks or months, depending on its size. And there you have it! Best of luck!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What are the best foods to stockpile in an emergency?

A1: Non-perishable foods such as canned goods, dry goods, and freeze-dried foods are the best to keep in a stockpile. Other items such as bottled water, medical supplies, batteries, and flashlights are also important to have on hand.

Q2: How much food should I store?

A2: It is recommended to store at least three days worth of food and water for each family member. For long-term emergencies, it is advised to have enough to last at least two weeks.

Q3: How long can food last in a stockpile?

A3: Non-perishable canned goods and dry goods can last for years with proper storage. Freeze-dried foods can last up to 25 years in an airtight container.

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