Within the list of items to have on hand in the Disaster Supply Kit is [a] three-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day), and ready-to-eat canned, non-perishable food—make sure you have a manual can opener.
I'm taking the time this morning to provide information about how you can ensure you and your family not only have something to eat, but eat well during an emergency. When an emergency hits, you're not only in need of safe, clean drinking water and basic food - you need nutrient-dense foods to counter the stress you're under also. Stress causes you to release stress hormones and increases your requirements for essential nutrients to counter the effects of stress on the body and mind.
With that said, let's take a look at the potential foods you can have on-hand that offer the best nutritional quality when you have no electricity to cook. Not only is nutrient-density important, calorie density is also key since storing large quantities of food is impractical. And, don't forget, have a manual can opener too!
Canned Tuna in oil (preferably olive oil)
Canned Alaska Salmon (preferably with bones)
Natural Nut Butters (peanut, macadamia, almond, walnut, etc.)
Canned Turkey or Chicken
Nuts and Seeds to snack on - peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, sunflower kernels and pumpkin seeds
Small wheels of Hard Cheese in Wax - keep refrigerated until emergency
- Fats and Oils
Small Jars of Real Mayonnaise (once open mayo goes bad quickly)
Packets of Real Mayonnaise that do not require refrigeration
Cold Pressed Oils - Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, Macadamia Nut Oil, Walnut Oil, etc.
Butter (store in freezer, once thawed it will keep up to one week without refrigeration)
Apples, Pears and Oranges all keep well without refrigeration
Lemons, Limes and Grapefruit all keep well without refrigeration
Other fresh fruits you have on hand will keep, depending on variety, up to a week
Canned Fruits in natural juice or light syrup
Small jars of 100% fruit jams
Canned green vegetables - green beans, asparagus, spinach, etc.
Canned roots - yams, beets, potatoes, etc.
Fresh vegetables that you have on hand will keep, depending on variety, up to a week
Grains require cooking and therefore are more difficult to have available, however, freeze a loaf or two of a 100% whole grain bread - after thawing it will keep up to a week without refrigeration
Cold Cereals made from Whole Grains
- Water and Beverages
Bottled Water - 1 Gallon per person per day
Sports Drinks with electrolytes
Boxed Fluid Milk - the smaller boxes are better to avoid waste and spoiling
Boxed, Canned or Bottled 100% Vegetable Juice
Boxed, Canned or Bottled 100% Fruit Juice
Tea Bags or instant tea
Canned Beans and Lentils that are cooked and ready-to-eat
- Condiments & Spices
Dried, ground spices like onion powder, celery salt, garlic powder
Sugar or Artificial Sweeteners
- Combination Foods or Snacks
Ready-to-Eat, Just Add Water Meals (camping stores sell these)
Dark Chocolate Bars
Jerky - Beef, Turkey, Chicken, Fish
High Quality Full Spectrum Multi-vitamin for adults
High Quality Full Spectrum Multi-vitamin for children
Combination EFA Supplement with omega-3 and omega-6 EFA's
Before heading to the store and aimlessly shopping for this and that, take a few moments to plan meals for a week for you and your family. Plan nutrient-dense meals and determine how much each person needs for each meal and snack and build a shopping list based on your actual needs for up to a week of eating without electricity or ability to cook. While you might not be able to cook, you still want to nourish your body and eat as well as you can during a stressful event! It's a good idea to purchase only foods you will eat even if there is no emergency, which is, of course, what we all hope for! In the event you find yourself with foods not eaten and they're nearing expiration, consider donating them to a food bank if you won't be able to eat them!
Keep any foods that do not require refrigeration stored in an accessible place and consider keeping a day or two worth of food and water in the trunk of your car in case you must evacuate quickly. Lastly, keep your car filled with gas since gas pumps do not work without electricity!