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If a disaster were to strike, would you be able to survive the next 72 hours without power, water, and other essentials? Most of us wouldn’t be able to. Thankfully, it’s fairly easy and inexpensive to put together a real food emergency kit.
Even if you don’t live in Tornado Alley or a tropical cyclone basin, it’s still important to have a real food emergency kit on hand for disasters. Major storms, power grid failures, earthquakes, and wildfires are all possibilities that can affect everyone.
I learned this the hard way a few years ago when a neighbor’s home caught fire and threatened our own. I didn’t have a plan in place to evacuate with our animals, nor did I have a disaster kit to grab with celiac-safe foods. Yes, the grocery stores wouldn’t be affected by our home catching on fire – but having an emergency kit prepared would be one less thing for us to worry about.
You don’t need expensive gadgets or freeze-dried meals to assemble your real food emergency kit. Chances are, you already have many items on hand to build your custom real food disaster kit.
What Is An Emergency Kit?
According to the Department of Homeland Security, after an emergency, you need to have enough supplies to survive the next 72 hours without assistance. Food, water, and survival supplies such as flashlights, hand crank radio, personal care items, and batteries. Your disaster kit should be easy to grab and go, while also being sturdy and protected from the elements.
Building A Real Food Emergency Kit
When assembling your real food emergency kit, it’s easy to want to default to premade freeze-dried backpacking meals. While those meal kits are convenient and take up little space, they aren’t exactly fitting to your family’s tastes and dietary needs. Plus, they’re expensive and you can’t control the serving size – food goes to waste. It’s important to choose foods you know will agree with your family’s bodies, especially in a stressful situation.
For example, I have celiac disease and several other food allergies. Even though there are more gluten-free freeze dried meals available now, many of them have other ingredients that can cause stomach upsets like gums, MSG, soy, and artificial preservatives.
Consider these questions as you assemble your real food emergency kit:
- Will this food last my family for at least 72 hours?
- Is this food my family will willingly eat?
- Will this food agree with our bodies and give us energy?
- Will this food make us thirsty?
Non-Perishable Real Food For Your Emergency Kit
These non-perishable real food items are versatile and common – you can probably build most of your kit right now! While this list might not sound appetizing at first, the meal possibilities are endless. You can make chicken salad with the canned chicken, and trail mix from the nuts.
- Ready-to-eat canned foods like meats, vegetables, and fruits
- Coconut milk powder
- Nuts and seeds (soaked & dehydrated would be best!)
- Nut butters
- Healthy cooking oils, like coconut oil and olive oil
- Dried fruit and coconut chips
- Beans, grains, quinoa, and wild rice
- Your favorite herbs, spices, salt, and shelf-stable condiments.
If you have time – you can also grab perishable food while evacuating to stretch your kit further.
Maintaining Your Real Food Emergency Kit
It’s important to store your kit in a location that’s easily accessed as you run out the door. Just as important, the location needs to be cool and dry to reduce the chances of food spoiling prematurely. Any boxed or bagged food needs to be in sealed plastic or metal containers to prevent bugs.
Make sure the non-perishable real food items for your emergency kit have an expiration date at least a year from assembling. It’s vital to check on your emergency kit once a year and replace any expiring items or make adjustments. Personally, I check over our emergency supplies twice a year – when daylight savings time begins and ends.
Additional Items and Resources For Your Emergency Kit
Assembling non-perishable foods is a huge step towards completing your real food emergency kit. Your disaster kit also needs survival supplies, your pets’ food and supplies, prescription medication, important paperwork, personal care items, and more. You can find a full list of necessary emergency kit items on the DHS website dedicated to disaster preparedness.