Best Food to Have in an Emergency

Emergencies can mean chaos when you have zero preparation for them. When you prep correctly, and think about all the variables that can happen, or at least, most of them, they suddenly do not become problems. Emergencies can be almost like a normal day if you are prepared for them.

In that spirit, you should be aware of one of the most important things in a prepper’s list. It’s vital that you take care of this; the food that you will stockpile for emergencies. This food is the difference between a prepper and someone who thinks can rely on authorities or sheer luck to be cared for during an emergency.

Now, to determine the amount and the type of food that you have to store for emergencies, you need more than simple math. There’s an art to it. This is because even though you have to take into consideration the number of people that are in your family, you should also consider the kind of food that you want to have in your storage.

For example, it’s always good to have food that it’s ready for you to eat since you don’t know if you’re going to have access to clean water and fire to cook. You should also have food that comes in packages that are resistant. In the case of a flood, for instance, you may see all you stock waste away and become inedible. This is enough of a reason to take the package into consideration.

That’s why the best strategy that you can use is to diversify the types of food that you store for emergencies. If you can’t due to space or budget, then go only for foods that have enough calories to sustain you for a long period of time and that come in packages that are resistant.

In case that you do have the budget and space, then you should start thinking about the best strategy for you. Even if you don’t have the budget or/and space, you should create a strategy that guarantees that you will be well set until things go back to normal.

Now, government institutions agree that you should have food for at least 3 days. We believe that you should prep for up to a year if you can. If you don’t want to go that big, have food for a month. In case of big natural disasters, it takes a few weeks for everything to go normal again.

Going straight to the point, you already know that you have to stockpile food for a long time if you really want to be prepared. Still, what is the best food for you to have in an emergency? A lot of things expire fast and are just not worth to waste time storing.

The best food to have in an emergency have to check certain boxes. The most obvious one is the expiration date. Besides that, there are still a few other things that you should care about. Like package, calories, and your own taste.

Non-perishable Food

Non-perishable food is a big range, but the perfect one to begin on your stockpile journey. Since the main criterion that you should use is the expiration date. You don’t know when whatever the emergency is will cease and things will go back to normal. So, it’s a good idea to have food that won’t expire. They’re also easy to store.

There are a lot of options when it comes to non-perishable food that you can choose from. For example, you have a lot of options within the canned food “niche” but there are so many options that we’re going to expand on the subject below.

For now, you have a lot of other options.

  • Macaroni
  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Peanut butter
  • Peas
  • Oatmeal
  • Spaghetti noodles
  • Grits

All these food options are non-perishable and easy to store. More importantly, they are, in their vast majority, easy to cook even during an emergency. The last thing you want to have to worry about is how to cook the meal. Imagine that you have not much water to drink. You certainly won’t be able to use it for cooking as well. This is why it’s important to have options that are ready to eat.

So, create a list with the food options above and any other non-perishable food that you can think about. Start creating your strategy to have your own stock for emergencies. Remember, if you do your part while prepping, you won’t have real problems during an emergency.

The secret is to select the right kind of food, have the storage space, and do the math of the necessary amount of food taking into consideration the number of people and days you’re prepping for.

Now, it’s also important to consider the possibility of the unpredictable. Even though the surprise is what makes the unpredictable non-predictable, you should consider the possibility of having people you’re not counting for or losing some of your stock due to the disaster or storage conditions.

Canned Food

Canned food is the ultimate symbol of non-perishable foods. It’s easy to store and sometimes you don’t even need to cook it. Obviously, canned food does not taste as good as a fresh, cooked meal, but it’s the perfect choice for emergencies. The main examples are foods that are rich in protein, which is great for your minimum calorie intake.

  • Canned meat
  • Fish
  • Nuts

You can find sausages and other kinds of meat as available options for canned food. The best thing is that you get a lot of proteins from this type of meal. During emergencies, it’s important to have the kind of food that will keep your body functioning well for a long time. This is possible with foods that give you an energy boost and that make you feel satiated.

If you only can pick one kind of food to stockpile, you should totally go for the canned meat option. Meat has 90% of all the sustenance that you will ever need to survive. When you take that into consideration and the fact that plants are considered “empty calories” because they don’t sustain your body for very long, canned meat sounds like the best thing ever.

A good tip is to have a variety of food not only because even during a week you won’t want to be eating the same thing but also because different meats will provide you with different vitamins and essential nutrients.

For example, it’s important to alternate between pork, chicken, and red meat. The canned fish is also another great selection to include because it’s the healthiest canned food.

On the long run, canned food isn’t the best thing because of all the sodium in the liquid that is there to conserve the meat, but for emergencies, they’re the ultimate type of non-perishable food you’re going to get.


Cereals are fun and really tasty. They are another great option to have during an emergency because they are also an important source of sugar that you can find readily available. Also, cereals are usually ready for you to eat without the need to have to cook or anything. The only problem is if you only eat yours with milk.

There are a lot of different types of cereal. The secret is to stockpile the favorite of each family member so everyone has something for themselves in case of an emergency. You can find a huge variety of cereal:

  • Corn
  • Rice
  • Oat
  • Wheat

Whatever is the choice, they’re all non-perishable and a great option to have in your storage. Cereals are not usually considered a priority, and since there are other options of food to be your main course for a meal, you can consider them for breakfast.

Still, during an emergency, cereals can be a great ally to keep everyone fed and make sure that the canned food, for instance, will last more. This is due to cereals being, again, a great source of sugar. This energy helps throughout the day. Also, if you have some in the morning and then some in the afternoon, you won’t feel hungry all the time.

The last thing that you should know about cereals, it’s that some of them need refrigerators to last longer in perfect conditions. The point is that even if it lasts longer than most foods, you should think about where you’re going to stockpile all this food.

Not only because you have to worry about storage but also because certain foods attract rats and insects. Cereals are at the very top when it comes to that. As long as the place is clean and fresh, you shouldn’t have any problems.

Dried Fruit

The goal here is to find options that will give you an interesting array of possibilities. Let’s say that during an emergency you are stuck in your house for 2 weeks without being able to buy food. You’re going to want to mix things up instead of eating the same thing over and over.

Dried fruits are a great option because besides being a source of sugar, vitamins, and nutrients, they are perfect as snacks and ways to control your hunger. Your options are many and can be easily found:

  • Raisins
  • Dried cranberry
  • Banana Chip
  • Dried cherry
  • Dried apricot
  • Goji

You can also use the dried fruits as a complement to your meals. You can mix them with rice and certain salads. The great thing about dried fruits is that they last longer than regular fruits while still giving you a lot of possibilities to create dishes.

It’s also an important factor to consider that dried fruits need a little more care while stockpiling than canned food, for instance. So, it’s best to have a special place, maybe even a refrigerator to store the fruits.

A lot of people think that just because you’re prepping for an emergency you should only have the basic to survive. That’s not at all the case when you’re a good prepper who knows how to create an effective strategy. After you cover the basics, you can totally stock less-necessary food groups. It’s all about your strategy.

Also, you always have to assess case by case. It’s because you will have to act according to the emergency. If you know you’re going to be unable to buy food for a few weeks, you should consume the necessary food for the day. In this case, it’s unwise to eat the dried fruit mixed in another dish. It’d be better used as a snack. Of course, these are only tips that you should follow if it fits you.

Power Bars

Powers bars are the canned food of snacks. They’re reliable, easy to store and last a long time. Every human needs a certain minimum amount of calorie intake to survive and for everybody function to work properly. That’s why the power bars are so convenient. They provide your body with a protein boost to work the whole day.

Obviously, you shouldn’t plan on living off power bars only, but they’re a great option for a snack or just a complement to the main meals. They’re also a great alternative to have just as the emergency food of the emergency food. When all the food is over, power bars can be the ultimate savior. You can choose from a vast array of flavors:

  • Chocolate
  • Coconut
  • Granola
  • Strawberry
  • Honey with granola

The options are nearly limitless. An important thing to consider is that energy bars are not the same as protein bars. Energy bars have higher sugar levels and are used to give you an energy boost. The protein bars are a better fit to give you sustenance. They’re considered healthier. A great tip would be to have both available since they both have their place in your stock.

Protein bars can be stored more easily because they’re more resistant to heat and other temperature problems that the energy bars aren’t. For example, energy bars that contain chocolate can become inedible if exposed to high temperatures for a long time.

The secret is to avoid the whole thing by storing the bars in a place that doesn’t get too much sun exposure. Maybe you can even store them in a refrigerator or something similar.

As with all the food options mentioned previously, the power bars should be calculated according to every family member that is included in your plan. Do the boring math now to avoid having problems later.


Bread is perishable, and honestly, it gets spoiled fairly easy. Still, it’s a great option to have in your stockpile plans. Bread gives you the necessary sustenance that you’ll need.

Besides the physiological advantages, bread is also a great option to have because is a versatile food. You can mix with nearly anything and still get a good tasting dish out of it.

The main challenge when it comes to stockpiling bread is obviously the fact that is so easy to get spoiled. So, the main thing you’ll have to worry about is the storage. First, you must have a place that doesn’t get too much sun exposure. Then you shouldn’t stock too much of it because it won’t last too long. If you do that, you can increase the chances of conserving your stock of bread by a long margin.

Another great thing about having bread for emergencies is that you get a wide variety of kinds of bread to choose from:

  • Wheat bread
  • Brown bread
  • Sweet bread
  • Multigrain bread

The point is that you have a lot of choices to make. The one thing that you have to keep in mind is that bread is not the kind of food that you can use as the main one to stockpile for emergencies. You have to have better options and use bread as a sort of bonus.

Especially because pieces of bread are quite susceptible to have fungus growing in them. This spoils all the other pieces of bread that are around, making you lose all your stock. So, be smart about your strategy and also about how you’re going to stockpile everything together.

A final tip is to think about the different uses you can have for each food in your list. This way you avoid stockpiling things that you’re not going to actually eat or even things that limit your cooking options.

Powdered Milk

When you’re stockpiling food, powdered milk is a great alternative to regular cow milk. Regular cow milk, the kind that you buy in gallons, are not perfect to stockpile. They spoil easily and then the odor is just the worst thing to have in your food storage room. Obviously, if you want to take your chances you can do it.

Now, milk still has its place in everyone’s diet. Even though there are better sources of calcium and humans don’t actually need milk in their diets. If we only ate things that we actually needed, we would stop buying more than half of what we already do buy.

In the case that you want a better alternative for regular milk that you’re guaranteed to last longer, you can go with powdered milk. Besides mixing with water, you can have other uses for it. There are a lot of sweets and recipes that you can utilize the powdered milk in.

The main reason that dried milk lasts so long and that makes it perfect for stockpiling, it’s the fact that it does not need to be refrigerated due to its low moisture content. So, you can have as much powdered milk as you want without having to worry so much about storage and the expiration date as you do have with regular cow milk.

Again, if you have to pick only one kind of food to stockpile for emergencies, canned food is probably the best. It’s non-perishable. It has all the calories you’re going to need to consume daily, and it’s easy to store. Now, if you want to create a prepping strategy that satisfies all your needs and tastes, then you’re going to want to diversify your food options. In this case, you should consider other food groups to have more comfort and options during an emergency.

Sugar, Pepper, and Salt

So far, we’ve talked a lot about meals, but we left one very important thing out of it. How you’re going to season your food. That’s why it’s important to think about every minor detail. You don’t want to have all the meat in the word and not be able to flavor it because you didn’t buy salt or pepper.

When it comes to sugar, it’s still a problem. You’re getting the powdered milk, all sorts of flour, and different ingredients but you can bake nothing because you didn’t get the sugar. We can pretty much say that your stockpiling efforts will go to waste if you don’t have those crucial ingredients for an emergency.

Now that you do realize how important they are, you still have to take two more things into consideration in your strategy. How much of each you’re going to get and what kind you want:

  • Brown sugar
  • White sugar
  • Granulated sugar
  • Caster sugar
  • Regular salt
  • Sea salt
  • Kosher salt
  • Flake salt
  • Jalapeño
  • Cayenne

This is just a fraction of all the possibilities that you have with those 3 ingredients. The great thing about them is that they are really easy to store and don’t require much thought into how you’re going to do it. You don’t need special refrigerator like when you’re storing milk or certain meats.

If you have plans to have food for months, the best you can do is to buy everything in bulks to get a better price, and because it’s easier to store everything when it comes in great quantities.

Salt can also help you to preserve other foods for longer. Meats, especially, are perfect if you want to do this. You can use brine or coarse salt to do the process that not only preserves the meat but also flavors it.


Corn is one of the most versatile foods, and it’s super easy to store. You have a wide variety of things that you can do and meals that you can prepare according to the type of corn you’re using. No matter what type of corn you’re going to use, you have at least 5 different ways that you can prepare it.

A good tip is to have all the 3 types of corn on your prepping list. They last long and are a great addition to your stock. Just remember that each type has different stockpiling rules. Again, you have 3 options:

  • Canned corn
  • Corn as a vegetable
  • Corn as a grain

Canned corn is the easiest one to store. You can pile the cans in nearly any small room that you have. It’s also ready to be eaten, which may be important if you are unable to cook during the emergency. You can also prepare some dishes that do require that you cook it, but the point is that it’s not necessary.

Your strategy should honestly involve all the types of canned foods that exist. This way you ensure that you have the most reliable ones guaranteed for any emergency. So, buy canned corn in bulks and stockpile alongside the other canned foods that you bought.

Now, corn as a vegetable will require you to cook, but besides being delicious, it truly is a great addition to your prepping diet. It also lasts long, but it requires more care when you’re storing than canned corn. You can use corn as a vegetable with your main meals or other dishes.

Corn as a grain has a whole other variety of uses. It’s also easy to store and lasts a really long time. It’s one of the most common grains in the world, and it totally has a place in your stockpiling food plans.


If you want to cook anything with taste, you need fat. Cooking oils are a vital part of your prepping strategy because if at all possible, you’re going to cook. Obviously canned food that is ready to be eaten, for example, has more than its place in your strategy, but you must have everything in place to cook.

Now, the bad news is that cooking oil doesn’t last long. This means that the best strategy is to buy in small containers and not go overboard with this one. If the oil becomes rancid you can use it as fuel, but you’re probably not interested in that. The main kinds of cooking oils will enhance the taste of the food:

  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Lard

As you can see there are these and many other options for you to pick as your cooking oil of choice. Even though they expire fast, they still have some upsides. Besides being essential to cooking and adding flavor, they’re easy to store and cheap in its vast majority.

As you can see, there are a lot of options that you have of foods in an emergency. The secret is to know how to pick the ones that last long, are essential for your diet, and are cheap.

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