If we learned anything from 2020, it is that you never know when you might be stuck at home. Between stay-at-home orders and extreme weather events, more people were at home for long periods last year than ever before. The main difference in 2020 was that most people knew about the closures ahead of time, and people were still able to order groceries for delivery and pickup throughout the quarantine. In a true emergency situation, there would be no Postmates or curbside grocery pickup. This means you should be prepared with an emergency food kit before disaster hits.
An emergency food kit is a complete set of all the food you will need for a prescribed period, maybe a couple of days, maybe a week. There are longer-period kits that are usually saved for things like bug-out bunkers. You can make your food kit yourself, or you can purchase it. You should plan for 2000 calories a day, per person, and about 1 gallon of water per person, per day. No matter whether you buy or make it, the best emergency food kit will contain a few key items:
Quick energy sources have a relatively high carbohydrate ratio, with enough protein to keep you full for a little while. Look for items that don’t require you to do much in order to eat them, like granola or energy bars. Beef Jery, either store-bought or homemade works well here as well, even though it leans more toward protein than carbs. These items are great if your disaster causes you to have limited room for whatever reason. A great example of this would be a storm shelter since they are often separated from your kitchen with very limited floor space. There are some energy bars on the market that actually taste pretty good, as opposed to those post-workout bars that were the only thing on the market a few years ago.
Sustained Energy/ Meals
The other main component you should plan for is balanced meals. Energy bars are fine, but they get old pretty quick when you are trapped for days. These are foods that you can prepare and treat as complete meals. If you have a dehydrator, you can make your own items by dehydrating your prepared meals. Alternately, you can purchase prepared freeze-dried meals, either by ordering them online or heading to an outdoor supply store.
In addition to freeze-dried meals, you can also consider ramen noodle cups or instant mac and cheese cups. If you are stocking a location with plenty of storage you can also just stock canned goods.
What is it for?
The way you fill and stock your emergency food kits depends largely on how you plan to use it. A bug-out bag for people in the path of a hurricane is going to look very different from a kit that will be used to stock your survival bunker. Know what you want to stock, so you only have what you need and can use.
Take the time to learn about the expiration dates on the products you are stocking. If they are shorter term, like two years or less, plan a system to rotate new in and move the old stuff into your regular pantry to avoid waste. Ideally, you will find items that have longer shelf lives. Freeze-dried items can often survive up to 25 years on a shelf, making them perfect for your survival bunker.
Whatever your needs, it is very important that you plan to protect yourself and your family with an emergency food kit. It can help you through a multi-day power outage or hurricane forced evacuation. Start planning, and make your emergency kit today!