We never know when a disaster might hit. It could be anything from a hurricane to an earthquake. Either way, we want to make sure that we are prepared. Making a disaster kit is one of the easiest ways to do that. But sometimes figuring out what to put in one can be a bit daunting. Water is a necessity. Make sure you have more than enough water, in jugs or in bottles. But what about food?
There are some things you have to think of when choosing foods to put in your kit. The first is shelf life. You want foods that will last a very long time because you never know how long you might need them for. A good rule of thumb is to change the foods in your disaster kit once a year, to make sure that nothing’s spoiled. The second thing to consider is cooking. You don’t know whether or not you’ll have access to heat, so choosing foods that require little or no cooking is best. The final thing you have to think of is personal taste. You want to make sure that the foods you choose are foods that you and your family will eat. Don’t forget to account for any allergies or health issues you or your family members may have when buying foods for your disaster kit.
To make it easier on you, we’ve compiled a list of must-have foods for your disaster kit.
High-Fiber, Ready-to-Eat Cereals
We emphasize high-fiber here because the higher the fiber the fuller you will feel, and the longer that satiety will last. Keeping a variety of different cereals will decrease stress that may come from having to eat the same thing day after day. We suggest Quaker Oat Squares or Cheerios. They are high in fiber, but they also are tasty.
You want to make sure that you have a variety of both vegetable and meat soups. Chili is a great option because it provides a lot of carbohydrates, which you will need. Avoid getting any of the cream-based soups because they will go bad quicker and won’t taste as good unheated. Soups with beans, vegetables, and differing meats will give your family much-needed nutrients.
Peanut butter is packed with vitamins. It’s also highly caloric, which in a disaster is a good thing. You want to get as many calories and nutrients as you can in the smallest amount of food. Peanut butter is perfect for this. Avoid peanut butters that require refrigeration after opening, though. You don’t know whether you’ll have access to electricity.
Canned Fruits and Vegetables, Dried Fruits, and Fruit Juices
Keeping fruit and vegetables in your diet is important even during a disaster. Even if you can’t have fresh produce, canned and dried options, as well as juices, will provide you with some of those necessary nutrients. And they’ll last for up to a year.
This one isn’t a nutritional necessity, but having some hard candies or prepackaged cookies on hand will help during when the times are really tough. Especially for kids, the stress of being in a disaster can become a lot to handle. Sucking on something sweet will help ease your mind a little. Just make sure you’re not having it too often. You want to remain as healthy as possible.
This post was originally published on June 20th, 2014.