How Much Food Do You Need?
Experts recommend having a three-day supply of non-perishable food and water for each person in your
household. Figure about 2000 calories per person per day.
You also want to have at least one liter of clean drinking water per person per day. This may be less
water than you are used to drinking. For this reason, it’s good to avoid salty foods and other foods that
may make you thirsty.
How to Stock Your Emergency Food Kit
The ideal foods for an emergency kit do not require cooking. This rules out things like pasta and dried
beans, even though they are both nutritious and non-perishable. If canned foods are in your kit, make
sure to store a non-electric can-opener with your emergency supplies. Dehydrated foods such as dried
fruits and vegetables are lighter and more portable than canned, which can be an advantage in the event
that you need to decamp.
Here’s a list of good candidates for your emergency food supplies:
- Canned fish, such as tuna, salmon, or sardines. Tuna and salmon are also available in shelf-stable
- Beef or fish jerky
- Dried or canned fruit
- Dehydrated or canned vegetables
- Canned beans
- Unsalted nuts and seeds
- Whole grain crackers
- Protein and/or energy bars
- Milk or nondairy alternatives in shelf-stable packaging
Fortunately, many of the foods in your emergency preparedness kit are also most affordable. So resist
the temptation to save money by buying foods from open bulk containers. Manufacturer-sealed
packages are better protected from air, moisture, and contamination and are less likely to spoil.
I hope it will be a long time (or never) before you need to use these foods. But even non-perishable foods
get old eventually. Every couple of years, rotate your emergency stock into your regular pantry and
replace it. Store your emergency supplies in a cool, dry place and do what you can to prevent rodents
and insects from raiding your stash.
If the power goes out, you will not be able to keep foods refrigerated or frozen for long. But you will
probably have a fair amount of food in the fridge and freezer. Before breaking into your dried and
canned goods, eat your refrigerated first—but only as long as you can maintain them at food safe
temperatures. Keep a non-electric thermometer in your fridge and freezer to monitor temperatures.
Once your fridge or freezer climbs above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the clock is ticking, especially on highly
perishable items like milk and meat. If you are able to heat foods, cook and eat raw meats before they
spoil. Cook and eat frozen meat and vegetables as they thaw. Open your fridge and freezer as quickly
and infrequently as possible to keep the food cold for as long as possible. It helps to have a mental
picture of what’s in the fridge. Decide what you’re going to remove before you open the door