Disaster Preparedness Checklist – Best 10 Food Items
Welcome to my disaster preparedness checklist!
Here’s a quick rundown on the top 10 food items I have in my disaster preparedness supplies.
No surprises here.
The body can go much longer without food than without water.
The US reference daily intake is 3.7 liters which is almost a gallon of water! Plan for no less than two liters per person per day in your emergency preparedness plan. You will need this amount every day, as long as the crisis lasts.
It can add up very quickly.
One week’s supply of water, for a family of four is 2x4x7=56 liters, or 17 gallons. Many of the other items on this list are not absolute necessities, but water is.
Storing enough water for a long term crisis can be challenging. It is important to have a back-up plan. This may involve gathering rainwater, or having an underground water collection system. Water filters and purification systems are necessary to make use of such water. Bleach may be used in an emergency. See most important non-food items for instructions.
Pasta has long shelf life. It’s nutritious, and is easy to store. It’s also not too heavy to carry. Best of all it’s inexpensive, and it can be bought in quantity even on a budget. A great addition to your emergency preparedness checklist.
An other carbohydrate, and the staple food of many nations. Rice is easy to prepare and lasts long if stored properly.
Steamed, boiled, or added to a soup it makes a filling meal or side dish.
Brown rice has more nutrients but white rice keeps longer. I keep both.
4. Canned Goods
Canned soups make a great addition to your disaster preparedness list. They may be warmed on any cooking implement. They have a long shelf life and require little rotation. There’s quite a variety of flavors; you’re sure to find something for everyone in the family.
Canned vegetables are great for cooking and supply vitamins when fresh produce is not available.
Canned meats supply not only protein but fat. The latter is an important consideration when supplies are short. Fats store lots of calories, supply energy for physical labor, and are required for absorbing some vitamins.
For more detail see Canned Food 3-Day Example Checklist.
Salt has an extremely long shelf life, and is an important part of cooking and baking. It makes dishes tastier, which improves morale – an important consideration in a disaster scenario.
Further, it has alternative uses that make it an even more valuable part of your disaster preparedness kits. Salt may be used as a preservative, as a cleaner for chopping boards, cast iron items, and others, and even as an absorbent for spills.
Milk is a staple for cooking and baking, and you’ll need it if you have cereal in your emergency preparedness storage.
Fresh milk spoils quickly, so you’d want to store powdered or condensed milk.
Powdered milk has the longer shelf life.
Condensed milk, on the other hand, is great for baking and the occasional dessert – comfort foods lift spirits in times of despair.
Cereal is easy to prepare. No heating is required. Kids eat it without a fuss.
For long-term sustenance I recommend nutritious cereals over sugar-loaded ones.
Check the shelf life when buying for your emergency preparedness supplies – most have fairly long ones, but they do vary.
8. Beef Jerky
Beef jerky is dehydrated and salted lean meat (and an example of salt being used as a preservative – see #5).
Its traditional method of preparation guarantees an extremely long shelf life. It’s delicious, easy to store and carry. There’s no emergency kit it’s too heavy for.
On the longer term, it’s not too difficult to make when no other methods of meat preservation is available. All that’s required is a low heat source for drying, and salt to prevent bacteria growth during preparation.
Flour does not last forever, however grains such as wheat get close.
Wheat and dent corn in whole grain form have decades of shelf life.
Groats, unrefined oats, are also a great choice.
Grains require processing. Make sure you have equipment to mill it into flour when the need arises. There are many hand-crank mills available on the Internet. Whole grains can be used as seed if necessary, and can provide ongoing sustenance in a long term crisis.
Honey does not require cooling and does not spoil, though its consistency may change with the temperature. It’s nutritious, great for baking and all kinds of sweetening.
Honey sauce, which is 1 part honey and 10 part water, is useful for preserving fruits.
Honey has antimicrobial properties and may be used to treat wounds and burns if no better method is readily available.
This is not a complete list, but I believe it to be a good starting point.
For a more detailed, no-fluff guide on other items you need, an action plan, and tons of survival tips, I recommend you check out survival expert Damian Campbell’s “37 Food Items Sold Out After Crisis” e-book. It’s a very well researched guide that I’ve found immensely helpful when preparing my family for an emergency. I’ve also used bits of it in the making of this site.
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