Emergency Foods

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Emergency food options
It's important to remember that the average person needs around
2,000 calories per day to sustain body weight, but someone
exerting more energy, such as a first responder or member of the
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) may need 3,000 -
4,000 calories per day in an emergency.

Happy endings...
Our society's food source is a complicated and fragile system that
depends on an infrastructure of highly orchestrated truck
deliveries. While it's unimaginable, there are many possible
cataclysmic events, such as an
ElectroMagnetic Pulse, oil crisis, or
that could stop all deliveries. This means your grocery store
would be out of food in less than three days.

You can ensure a happy ending for you and your family or group if
you stock up on various kinds of emergency foods.

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Emergency food options
List of foods to stockpile for survival

Emergency food isn't an option: it's a necessity!
You can live only a few minutes without air, and a few days
without water, but you can actually survive three weeks without
food. No need for that ~ starvation is a slow and cruel process
both physically and mentally ~  and thankfully you can avoid
starvation with careful preparation and a well guarded stockpile.

There are several kinds of emergency food options. If you're new
to prepping you need only know what are the non-perishable
foods to stock and to be aware of optimum calories and nutrition.
Your budget will help you decide what's best for you. If you can
afford, it's good to have a variety of emergency foods, including
the ready to eat kind (no heating or water required), as well as
those that require water or heating. Some emergency food
options are for specific situations.

The following list of emergency food options will help understand
your options...

Overview of Emergency Food Options
If you're new to prepping, welcome! You may be wondering what
are your emergency food options and below is our list:

#1: Canned foods.
Canned foods, like fruits, meats and vegetables, are ready to eat
straight from the can and ideal for the prepper's pantry. You don't
need to heat them! Though some will taste much better if you do,
it's not necessary to heat them up for safety reasons.

Yes, it's perfectly safe to eat canned foods without cooking them
because they are commercially heated and sealed at the factory.
The canning process makes your food safe because it destroys
microorganisms and inactivates enzymes; however, once you
open the can, bacteria can enter and begin growing in the food.
That's why it's important to eat up the full contents of your
canned goods once opened, or dump the remains so you don't get

  • Shelf life. Some canned foods can last up to ten years,
    including Yoder's canned meats, but most are good only for
    about a couple of years. The contents may turn mushy or
    otherwise unpalatable, though it's still safe to eat.

  • Storage. Do not store canned foods in places where
    temperatures may fluctuate, such as an attic or garage. Also,
    do not store them where moisture may cause the cans to
    rust. Canned food fares best in even temperatures, like the
    pantry, closets, or under your bed.

  • Can openers. Be sure to have several manual can openers
    handy! Can openers break at inconvenient times and you
    don't want that the happen in emergency.

#2: Dried and dehydrated fruits and nuts.
Dried fruit and nuts are among the ancient prepper foods to
consider stockpiling in the prepper's pantry, but also to take
along with you in your go bags if you rotate often. Your ancestors
stored these kinds of foods to get them through the harsh winter
months, but not much beyond that.

  • Nuts have a relatively short shelf life. Be sure to rotate as
    nuts can get quickly rancid! They are still a great food for
    emergencies as they can provide dietary fiber and protein,
    and even load you up on Vitamin E and zinc. Though nuts are
    not a good source of carbohydrates, they are a good source
    of calories, which can help sustain you in an emergency.
    They are ideal for emergency food if you eat them regularly,
    but they are expensive. Another caution is that nuts may be
    life threatening to others in your group.

  • Dried fruit also has a relatively short shelf life. In the
    pantry, dried fruit can last 3-6 months, but in the refrigerator
    they can last 6 months to a year! Dried fruits can provide a
    healthy dose of potassium and some may provide dietary
    fiber when fresh fruits are not available, but they are also
    expensive. Fruits also ren't for everyone because of the
    sugar content and because some people have allergies to
    them. There are allergies to dried fruit, including skin flush
    and nausea. Dried fruits can be life-threatening with some
    suffering anaphylactic shock. Read more about fruits to
    stockpile in the prepper's pantry.

If you're not allergic, think of stocking a modest amount of:
  • almonds and almond butter
  • dates and prunes
  • dried apricots
  • dried blueberries
  • dried cranberries
  • figs
  • peanuts and peanut butter
  • raisins
  • trail mixes

Finally, it's important to consider that even people who have
never had allergies can develop them suddenly.

#3: Emergency ration bars.
Ration bars, such as Datrex ration bars or Mainstay, are non-thirst
provoking cookie-like bricks that easily withstand temperature
changes. Many preppers choose them for their bugout bags, but
ration bars aren't as lightweight as you may think, and yet they
are compact. The truth is that professional backpackers reject
them as they are bulky and heavy bricks!

The important distinction from a food bar is that a ration bar will
get you through an emergency with little or no water supply.
Preppers should have ration bars tucked away their vehicles, and
desk drawers or office cubbies, and stashed in the safe room, but
maybe not in the bugout bag.

Another consideration is that although a 2400 calorie bar may
keep you alive for three days, that's only 800 calories per day,
which is not sufficient to sustain heavy activity, such as survival,
search and rescue activities or bugging out. They are intended for
such situations being stranded in a watercraft or being stranded
off road in your vehicle with a limited supply of water.

The bottom line is that you're not likely to eat ration bars just for
the taste (though some are quite good). After about five years,
when your product expires, you'll throw them away and need to
buy a replacements. It's a real waste unless you can get them to
the homeless before they expire. Even so, ration bars have a role
in sustaining you until you get to your main food supply.

#4: Energy chews.
Have you thought about stashing energy chews in your preps?
Give them a shot! Energy chews work for athletes competing in
marathons to boost performance, and they can work for you too
as part of your preps. Think of them for your go bags and vehicles.

Energy chews, gels and survival tabs all are lighter and more
portable than ration bars, though they won't make you feel full,
they will give you energy! The main benefits are that they will
boost your endurance, reduce cramping, give you a psychological
edge and save you from pure exhaustion.

There are many kinds of energy chews, gels, nuggets, shots and
tabs to consider:

#5: Energy food bars.
Energy food bars are not the same as ration bars. While they are
relatively inexpensive (about $1.50 for 240 calories) , they have a
very short shelf life and you'll need to rotate them often in your
go bags. Also, they normally lack fiber. You'll want some dietary
fiber in a sustained emergency. Use them in your go bags if you
can rotate them. They don't have as long of a shelf life as ration

Generally food bars are not meal replacements. Likely the only
exception to this is
pemmican., which is a complete protein and a
concentrated food bar for quick energy.

Energy bars to consider include:

#6: Freeze-dried camping food.
Freeze dried camping food is an excellent choice for bugout bags
because they are light weight, just add water. While the fiber
content is lacking and the sodium content is generally high, the
nutritional value of freeze-dried foods is good with a balance of
protein, carbohydrates and fat.

Freeze-drying is a process of cooling the food to temperatures
about 50 degrees below zero to remove the water, whereas
dehydrating dries the food. The shelf life of #10 cans of freeze-
dried food is about 25 years; while the pouches last between 5 -
7 years. Mountain House buckets of freeze dried food can store
for decades if properly stored.

As mentioned above, they require water to prepare. You can eat
them without heating them, though you'll have to saturate them
with water twice as long and some of the ingredients may not mix
as well. You will be able to eat! It just may not be as palatable
as you would have liked if there was heat.

How much water will you need? A pouch of 400 calories will take
about 2 cups of water, and a complete day's ration of 2,000
calories will take 8 cups.

Some excellent freeze dried foods include:
  • Augason Farms. Augason Farms offers a variety freeze dried
    and dehydrated foods in #10 cans and buckets. They also
    offer bulk grains, beans and fruit.
  • Mountain House. Mountain House was the originator of
    freeze dried foods. They first set out to make foods for
    campers and soon realized these convenient foods would be
    ideal for emergency food.
  • Legacy foods. Legacy foods is non-GMO food with hearty
    portions. You pay for what you get with this quality food.
  • Saratoga Farms. Saratoga Farms is on the pricey side, but
    you can enhance your food supply with variety using them.
  • Wise Foods. Popularized by Mykel Hawke and heavily
    televised on National Geographic's Doomsday Preppers show,
    Wise food buckets have become a prepper favorite, though
    it's not as high quality as Mountain House or Legacy foods.

Finally, some freeze dried foods do not need to be rehydrated.
Freeze dried fruits, like those from Crispy Fruit, or Saratoga
Farms, both right, do not require water at all. They are snacks
and delicious as they come out of the can or pouch.

#7: Meals Ready to Eat (MREs).
Real Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) usually have a self-contained
heating element and some of the items do not require cooking.
Created for military use, civilians first got a hold of MREs in
commissaries, which provide discounted and conveniently located
groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families.

While they are a novelty, they are also extremely useful in
emergencies, though relatively expensive. Each MRE contains
about 1200 calories vital nutrition for heavy exercise,, search and
rescue ops and combat. They also contain high amounts of salt
for water retention. Unfortunately, they last only about five years,
and they must be ststored at less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit. At
60 degrees, the shelf life is 4 years, and at 80 degrees, the shelf
life is 3 years. At 100 degrees, the shelf life is only 6 months.

#8: Shelf Stable foods.
Foods that you can store safely at room temperature on the shelf
fall into the category of shelf-stable foods. Anything that does
not require refrigeration until after opening is considered shelf
stable. (Canned foods may become unsafe to eat after opening.)

If you're looking for a shopping list of non-perishable food items,
consult our popular

Here's a partial list of the many foods you can eat straight from
the box or can without the need to reheat.

Now you know that there are several possible kinds of foods you
can set aside to eat during an emergency. You can decide for
yourself what foods are most desirable for your family, and cost
effective for your budget.

Now that you know the basic kinds of emergency food, it's time to
stock up!
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