Best Emergency Foods: Get Nourishment in a Crisis

Be prepared for unexpected events with these top emergency foods

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You can’t go wrong with an emergency food supply, especially if you’re a frequent camper. If you find yourself lost when hiking, you can rely on food to keep your energy up before help arrives. Backup food provisions are also key for preppers and survivalists. Consider including the following emergency foods to your must-have survival supplies.  

  • Best Overall
    Augason Farms 30-Day Emergency Food Storage Supply
    Summary
    Summary
    A 30-day emergency food supply that’s highly nutritious, delicious, and high in calories.
    Pros
    Pros
    It contains a rich meal of oatmeal, potato soup, broccoli rice, low-fat milk, vegetable soup, and macaroni and cheese. Won’t expire for at least 20 years. Easy to prepare. It offers a balanced diet. It can offer several servings for the entire family. It comes with a 45-day meal planner.
    Cons
    Cons
    Some meals need to be prepared. Some of the foods in the bucket have a shorter shelf life.
  • Best Value
    SOS Food Labs Emergency Food Rations  
    Summary
    Summary
    Nine ready-to-eat bars of fortified food, each containing 410 calories with a shelf life of five years.
    Pros
    Pros
    Each bar is rich in vitamins, minerals, sugar, and protein.  Affordable. High in energy. Can sustain you for three days before help arrives. A great cinnamon flavor that’s non-thirst-provoking. Compact packaging. It can survive through extreme weather changes.
    Cons
    Cons
    Less nutrient-dense than most emergency foods. It contains wheat gluten.
  • Honorable Mention
    NorthWest Fork Gluten-Free Emergency Food Supply
    Summary
    Summary
    Six-packs of highly nutritious, 30-day emergency food that offers 90 servings.
    Pros
    Pros
    It contains a variety of flavored food, including pinto beans, green peas, oatmeal, and black beans. Gluten-free. Vegan diet. Full of flavor. Has a shelf life of more than 10 years. The freeze-dried meals are easy to prepare. It comes in thick and resealable bags. The bags can be easily divided into smaller portions. Not hard to bite or chew. 
    Cons
    Cons
    Expensive. The shelf life may be reduced if the bags are left open. High bean content.

Tips

  • Cater to the special dietary needs of your family. Be aware of food ingredients that may trigger allergic reactions. Also, do not forget about pets and infants. Buy food that’s easy and safe for them to eat.  
  • Make sure everyone understands that the emergency food should be left untouched unless there’s an actual emergency, no matter how delicious it may appear. 
  • Come up with a feeding plan for the family. Look into how much food you have and how many days you can stretch it out while keeping your energy. 
  • Avoid foods that will make you thirsty. Salty and sweet foods can make you dehydrated, especially if you don’t have access to clean water. 
  • Pack several bottles of clean water. Store a few bottles at strategic points of the campsite where it’s easy for you to remember. You can strap one bottle to a thick branch.  

FAQs

Q: Do I need to refrigerate emergency food?

A: You shouldn’t buy emergency foods that need to be refrigerated. Emergency foods are typically dried and can last for over 20 years without refrigeration despite changes in the weather. Simply store the food in dry sanitary conditions. 

Q: Will emergency food still be fresh after being opened for a week?

A: Try and store the food unopened if you don’t have to consume it. If you open it, the dry food may lose its taste within a week. You can store it in plastic bags or containers to preserve the taste. 

Q: Does food go bad after the shelf life has passed?

A: Most emergency food products don’t go rotten or have a foul smell after the expiration date. However, you may notice a change in flavor or texture of the food. Some foods contain preservatives and still taste great past the expiration date. It depends on the brand. 

Q: Do dried foods lose their nutritional value?

A: Typically, no. The nutritional value of dried foods is almost the same as fresh food. The drying process only removes water from the food content, which causes the food to rot. Other than that, all the nutrients are preserved. 

Final Thoughts

Our top pick is the Augason Farms 30-Day Emergency Food Storage Supply. It’s a large food bucket with numerous portions that will keep you alive for about 30 days if you follow the meal plan.

The SOS Food Labs Emergency Food Rations is a cheaper alternative that will give you a calorie boost for a few days.