Being Prepared with an Emergency Food Supply Kit

During the winter, it is important to be prepared with an emergency food supply kit. Whether the snow prevents you from getting to the store or ice has knocked out the power, having a fully-stocked kitchen is one less worry for you and your family. Many of these foods may be the usual foods that you buy. Choose foods that store well from each of the food groups to provide the variety of nutrients you and your family need and like. Consider anyone who has special dietary recommendations and include these foods in the emergency supply.

The recommendation is a 3-day food supply for each member of your family (including pets) so pick up a few items each time you go to the store and store it separately from your normal groceries. Be sure to check expiration dates every 6 months so you can use foods before they expire and replace them as needed. Keep a running list of your supply items so it is easier to shop. Plan ahead to stock shelf-stable foods and then all you need to purchase at the last minute are perishables.

One of the most important things to stock is bottled water. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends 1 gallon of water a day for each person and pet in the household to use for drinking, cooking and washing up.   

Shelf-stable foods include a variety of healthy, high-energy foods to meet everyone’s tastes. Include high-protein foods like peanut butter, canned meats and beans. Canned tuna, salmon and chicken will last longer than vacuum-sealed pouches. Canned soups, chili and stews make quick and easy lunches. For healthier choices, choose no salt added canned foods and low-sodium soups. Other shelf-stable foods that need no cooking are cereal, canned vegetables and fruit, 

Snack foods that may be handy to stock in your emergency food kit include chips, pretzels, popcorn, cookies, crackers, granola bars, nuts, jerky, dried fruit, trail mixes and shelf-stable juice. Buying individually wrapped snack foods will keep them fresh longer. Dried pasta and jarred sauce are good choices to keep available for a quick, hot meal. Coffee, tea, and hot cocoa mixes make good beverage choices. An easy way to keep milk on hand in emergencies is stocking powdered milk or milk that undergoes ultra-high temperature processing (UHT) that doesn’t need to be refrigerated and can sit on the shelf for up to six months.

If you anticipate a storm in the next few days, make a trip to the grocery store to pick up some perishable food items that will stay fresh for at least a week. These include apples, oranges, bananas, tomatoes, potatoes, salad foods, squash, yogurt, eggs, milk, butter and avocados. Buying fruits and veggies that are not quite ripe will help them last longer. 

Any emergency food supply kit needs some other essentials like a non-electric can opener, flashlight, extra batteries, candles, matches and cleaning wipes. Being prepared is key to staying healthy when there is an emergency.

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