Survival 101: Best Emergency Food Kits

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Outdoor Grill in Use: Best Emergency Food KitsHurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, even the occasional snowpocalypse can leave you stranded in your home for days or even weeks. Are you prepared if a disaster hits?

You’ll be glad you planned ahead, and it doesn’t get more basic than making sure you and your family have a sustainable food supply.

We’ll give you the lowdown on how to prepare emergency food supplies and, if you’re too busy to DIY, we’ll give you some of our recommendations for the best emergency food kits on the market.

Why Take The Risk Of Being Unprepared?

From 1994 to 2013, 6,873 natural disasters were recorded worldwide. Those disasters claimed 1.35 million lives, an average of 68,000 each year.

Of course, some areas of the world are much more prone to natural disasters, and if you live in these areas, you should already have taken emergency preparation steps.

But disaster can strike anywhere, leaving you cut off from your typical food supplies and water. It’s wise to make sure your family can survive… just in case.

What Are Good Survival Foods?

If you’re going the DIY route, the first thing you need to do is make a survival food list. Where do you start?

Make sure you pick foods high in calories and nutritional value that require no refrigeration, cooking, water or special preparation. Ideally, foods that have a shelf life of several years make good options — you’ll minimize waste and the inconvenience of having to re-stock your emergency food kit too often. Some of the best emergency food includes:

  • Canned goods, including vegetables, beans, tuna, salmon (except they do get heavy)
  • Freeze dried fruits & vegetables
  • Peanut butter, nuts and seeds
  • Protein and/or energy bars
  • Bottled water

How much should you include in your emergency food kit? The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.

But depending on where you live, especially if it’s in a remote location, you probably want to stock up on more. You also need to make sure all of your survival food is sealed tightly in sturdy packaging or air-tight containers.

What Other Food Supplies Are Important?

So, you have your basic survival food picked out. What else should you include in your food emergency kit? Here are some basics (some depend on your individual family’s needs):

  • Manual can opener
  • Matches, stored in a waterproof container
  • Disposable utensils, plates and cups
  • Infant formula (if you have a baby)
  • Non-perishable pet food (if you have pets)
  • Any special dietary items

What Are the Best Survival Food Kits?

Don’t want the hassle of assembling a kit yourself? There are a number of pre-packaged emergency food kits on the market that are pretty affordable (considering the typical costs of feeding your family). Here are some of our recommendations, ranging from small to larger-scale emergency food supply kits.

Ready Store 1 Month Supply MRE Self-Heating Full Meals Review

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 MRE Self-Heating Full MealReady Store is a go-to supplier of emergency supplies and has a solid reputation for the quality of their products. Their survival food kits have a shelf life up to 5 years, and each entree/meal pouch comes with an MRE (Meals Ready To Eat) flameless heater and salt water pouch.

MRE meals are a great alternative to canned or dried foods if your family members are picky. The one-month supply kit includes 48 different entrees, 240 servings of desserts and snacks, 48 condiment packs and 48 heating pouches. Ready Store gets great reviews from customers about the quality and taste of their survival food products.

  • Price: $435.84

Wise Company Emergency Food Variety Pack (104-Serving) Review

Wise Emergency Food KitView on Amazon

The Wise Emergency Food Kit has a variety of entrees (16 servings), breakfasts (8 servings), fruits, veggies, desserts and whey milk — all you have to do is add water (rehydration takes about 15 minutes).

With a shelf life up to 25 years, you’re set for a long time. And this kit comes in a convenient grab and go bucket in case you need to evacuate quickly. Customers say the food tastes better than many other emergency food kits. Wise also offers a wide variety of kit sizes and types of food.

Emergency Essentials Half-Month Supply of MREs Review

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MRE Meal BoxesEmergency Essentials is also a popular supplier of MREs, although they can be significantly more expensive than Ready Store. But Emergency Essentials a wider variety of food — 45 entrees, 15 sides, 15 desserts, 15 drink mixes, 30 bread/crackers, 8 jam, 8 peanut butter and 4 cheese. Their MREs have a shelf life of 5-7 years.

  • Price: $219.95

Mountain House, Just in Case… Essential Bucket Review

Mountain House's Essential BucketView on Amazon

Mountain House’s Essential Bucket is perfect to feed a person for 3.5 days. Their grab and go emergency food kit contains 32 servings, with a 30-year taste guarantee.

In this kit you’ll get 12 pouches per bucket (4 rice and chicken, 4 chili mac, and 4 spaghetti), and all you have to do is add water. Amazon customers rave about the taste of their food. Likewise, Mountain House offers a wide variety of emergency food buckets.

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

LifeStraw Personal Water FilterView on Amazon

We also highly recommend a cool device called the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter. The award-winning LifeStraw removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites. It filters up to 1,000 liters of contaminated water. A must if your water supply gets compromised following a disaster.

The American Red Cross Weighs In

Check out this extremely informative video, featuring American Red Cross spokesperson Jamie Lee Curtis, on how to prepare for emergencies.

Other Survival Kits

Don’t just stop at food prep. Make sure you have an emergency kit, fire escape ladder and bug out bag too. Also check out our tornado safety tips.

Do you have any tips for assembling emergency food supplies?

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While attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s graduate school for journalism and public relations, Sally began a long career researching and writing about hard-to-understand topics, such as insurance and finance. Her additional experience in marketing, fundraising, public relations and financial planning at various foundations and nonprofit organizations over the years has given her the practical tools to inform consumers about making the smartest business and personal financial decisions. Speaking of smart living — growing up in the (at-the-time) per-capita murder capital of the U.S. (Richmond, VA) taught her a thing or two about the need for personal and home safety. Sally stays on top of all the latest gadgets and services to protect her and her teenage daughters from potential predators and thieves. And she brings this knowledge to every article she writes.

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Nutella Ninja
I’ll tell you what the best emergency food kit is – NUTELLA!!!! HAHAHAHAHAH
Dorthy K
Hopefully I’ll never need one of these, but you never know! This is definitely one of those things you don’t think about needing until it is too late so going to be proactive and stock up on supplies for my family so we’re prepared.