Emergency Food Supply

Emergency Food Types You Need to Know Get Ready for Anything


Nowadays, being ready for any situation is key. Having the correct emergency food stockpiles on hand can keep you and your family safe and fit amid disaster. Emergency food is one of the most significant components of a disaster preparedness strategy. It will maintain you nourished and energized, so you can take care of yourself and your kin.

In this article, we'll be talking about different sorts of emergency food and which ones are most suitable for you:

What is emergency food?

Emergency food is created to last a long time in case regular food sources become hard or impossible to get. It's not expected to be delicious, however it should give nutrition, last long and need minimal or no prep before eating.

Types of effective food for times of crisis are:

  • Pre-packaged meals such as MREs
  • Dried grains and legumes
  • Canned goods
  • Boxed meals like Mac & Cheese or Hamburger Helper
  • Freeze-dried prepared meals

The most important thing to consider when choosing emergency food is its shelf-life. Ensure it will last a few months at least under normal storage conditions like a cool, dark place far from heat sources. Common shelf-lives range from 5 years (freeze-dried foods) to 1 year (canned goods). Check the expiration dates or best by dates for anything that is prepackaged or nonperishable.

FEMA – The Federal Emergency Management Agency – recommends to store enough supplies for at least 3 days of sustenance in case of an unexpected disaster.

Why is it important to have emergency food?

Having a reliable source of emergency food is key. When a disaster strikes, it can be the difference between life and death. After an event, like a hurricane or earthquake, food may not be available. So, be prepared with non-perishable items that last.

A stash of emergency food helps families. It gives them nutrition and nourishment. Have a week’s worth of meals, like

  • dehydrated meals
  • rice
  • beans
  • fruit
  • nuts
  • jerky

Store these away from light, heat and moisture.

Having a supply of food eases your mind. It gives you something to eat in case of dire circumstances. Balanced meals keep you healthy and energized. Stock up on items before an unpredictable situation happens. Don't wait for a shortage!

Types of Emergency Food

Emergency food? You gotta pick wisely! Durability and nutrition vary according to the type of food. Here's the scoop. This article gives you the knowledge to choose the right emergency food. Ready? Let's dive in!

Non-Perishable Foods

Non-perishables are any food that stays good for at least one year when sealed and stored properly. Keep them cool and dry, away from light. Examples include canned goods, dried goods, dehydrated food, and MREs.

  • Canned Goods: Have an airtight seal and last for years. Many fruits and veggies and even full meals like chili or beef stew. Check for expiration dates. Especially for seafood like tuna or salmon.
  • Dried Goods: Lightweight and long lasting. Such as pasta, rice, quinoa, powdered milk, nuts, and granola bars.
  • Dehydrated Foods: Even less moisture content than dried. For pre-packaged meals and items like cheese powder, potato flakes/powder, and beans/lentils.
  • MRE’s: Ready to eat meals. No cooking equipment or refrigeration needed. Great for emergencies or small living quarters like college dorms and travelers.

Freeze-Dried Foods

Freeze-dried foods are a great way to make sure your family is fed in an emergency. They are made by exposing frozen food to a vacuum, which evaporates the water quickly. This helps preserve texture, flavour, and vitamins, minerals, etc.

You can buy these foods or even freeze-dry your own. It is important to do this correctly, though, so they are safe to eat. Freeze-dried foods are lightweight and easy to move, and don't need refrigeration or cooking. Cost-wise, they are lower than pre-packaged nutrition bars and energy gels. Make sure that you like the taste!

When shopping, look at shelf life as well as taste. Generally, unopened freeze-dried food lasts for four years. Once it's opened, the shelf life depends on storage. Don't forget about your stockpile or it will expire!

Canned Foods

When it comes to emergency food, canned goods are a must. They last a long time and provide essential nutrients. Check for labels that say “[insert manufacturer name here] for XX years” or longer. This guarantees the food will stay fresh.

Canned goods offer several choices. Fruits such as peaches, pears, plums, and pineapples. For veggies, choose corn, peas, and green beans. Or tuna, salmon, and other meats. Dairy like milk, cheese, and soups/stews. Get low sodium versions if available.

Also get:

  • Fruits in water or juice
  • Veggies in water
  • Tinned meats and fish
  • Soups
  • Canned chili or stew
  • Prepared baked beans
  • Beans
  • Peanut butter

Cans are tricky because they're hard to pack when evacuating. Have containers and lids to store them during transport. Stock up enough so you always have something to eat.

Dehydrated Foods

Dehydrated foods are great for any emergency! They last a long time and are easy to take anywhere. Dehydration removes moisture from food with air-drying, sun-drying or freeze-drying. This makes it shelf-stable, so it won't spoil.

You can use steam from other food to rehydrate dehydrated food and add flavor. Or, just pour boiling water over the food. This doesn't add flavor, but it still works.

Dehydrated food comes in lots of shapes and flavors. Fruits, vegetables, meats and grains like oats, quinoa and barley. All these can be cooked without rehydrating. Plus, they don't need much prep and cook quickly compared to fresh or frozen. Here are some popular options:

  • Dried fruits like dates, bananas, apples and raisins
  • Dried veggies like carrots, bell peppers and onions
  • Dehydrated beans like black beans and chickpeas
  • Dehydrated meat like beef jerky and chicken strips
  • Instant grains like oats, quinoa and barley.

MREs (Meals Ready to Eat)

MREs, or Meals Ready to Eat, are a hit with preppers and adventurers! They're individually packed, precooked meals with a heating pouch. 1,200 calories per meal, and they last several months with correct storage.

These meals are perfect for people who have no access to cooking – camping trips, backpacking expeditions and beyond. The taste may not be comparable to traditional food, but they give enough nutrition and calories for difficult terrain areas. Plus, they can be eaten without preparation, great for emergency situations!

Storage and Preparation

When it comes to emergency food, you must store and prepare it right to make the most of your provisions. Different types require different techniques. So, it's important to know what you're stocking up on.

Now, let's look at the storage and preparation needs of various emergency foods:

How to store emergency food

Split into 2 categories, perishable and non-perishable, emergency food supplies need special attention when storing and preparing.

  • Perishables, like dairy, eggs, meat, poultry, and fish, must be refrigerated and used quickly after opening.
  • Non-perishables, such as canned goods, beans, lentils, grains, nut flours or meals, should be kept in cool, dry places.

When preparing ready-to-eat meals, follow instructions on the can or get direction from a reliable source. Refrigerating or freezing your food stores will make them last longer and lessen risks.

How to prepare emergency food

Emergency food is usually dehydrated, freeze-dried, or pre-cooked. Keep it in a space with a moderate temperature. Check the expiration date on the can. It could be between 1-30 years. To store safely, use airtight containers, such as buckets, cans, or Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Include some non-perishable snacks with staple foods like grains and condiments.

Learn how to prepare the food:

  • Dehydrated items can be rehydrated with hot or cold water.
  • Freeze-dried meals need hot water and stirring before covering for 5 minutes.
  • Precooked meals just need heating up according to directions.


Know about emergency food types! Be prepared. Long-term food storage could include canned, dried, or freeze-dried food. Plus, MREs. For short-term food, there are pre-made meals, ready-to-eat snacks, and nutrition bars. Knowing these food types can help you be prepared for any emergency.

Summary of emergency food types

In conclusion, many food types are great for surviving in a crisis. These include:

  • Energy bars
  • Canned/dry foods (tuna, beans, peas, rice, pasta, powder)
  • Proteins (jerky, freeze-dried meat)
  • Dried fruits/nuts

It is also essential to eat a balanced diet to stay healthy during an emergency. Plan ahead so you have the right ingredients when you need them most. With the proper planning, your family can have enough food stores in case of an emergency.

Benefits of having emergency food

Storing emergency food has its perks! It can make sure you and your family have tasty meals even if supplies from stores run out or there’s a power outage. Plus, it can bring you peace of mind.

If you must self-isolate for any reason, having emergency food on hand can make it easier. You won't need to leave your home for meals. And if you live in a rural area, having freeze-dried or canned foods can give an extra layer of security.

Finally, having staples like canned veggies and beans can help with meal planning and cooking during a disaster or pandemic. It could save time and money, since you don't need to go shopping multiple times when supplies are limited.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What types of food should I have in my emergency food supply?

A1: It is best to have a variety of food items that are non-perishable, easy to store, and able to provide essential nutrients. These items can include canned meats and fish, canned fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, dry cereals, instant soups and drinks, dried fruit, nuts, and crackers.

Q2: How long can I store emergency food for?

A2: Non-perishable items like canned foods, dried fruits, and nuts can typically last for up to 1-2 years when stored in a cool, dry place. It is important to check expiration dates and rotate your supply regularly.

Q3: What are some of the best food choices for an emergency supply?

A3: High-calorie foods such as peanut butter, nuts, and canned meats are great choices because they are non-perishable and provide essential nutrients. Other good choices include protein bars, dried fruits, cereal, and instant soups.

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