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25 Hardcore Healthy Foods You Need in Your Emergency Pantry

Ready Nutrition - 25 Hardcore Healthy Foods You Need in Your Emergency Pantry
Natural disasters like hurricanes, Nor’easters, and winter storms can cause you to be stuck in your home for days (or even weeks) on end – and stuck eating whatever you currently have stashed in your pantry and freezer.

Normally, enough notice is provided to allow time to run out to purchase items prior to a storm’s arrival. It is tempting to stock up on convenient comfort foods before a disaster, but this isn’t ideal. For example, many freeze-dried foods are notorious for having excessive amounts of sodium – thus causing you to consume more water to make up for it (oops, there goes your stored water supply [1]!). Staying hydrated in winter is especially important [2] – your body needs more water during winter than it does during the warmer months. And, remember – you will need to store enough water for drinking AND for cooking.

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Surviving on your favorite junk foods may leave you feeling dehydrated [2], drained, and stressed, which will make enduring a sustained emergency situation even more difficult.

Building an adequate emergency pantry takes time and planning to make it fully functional. Ideally, you will store nutritious shelf-stable foods that your family normally consumes (and enjoys), as well as foods that serve many purposes [4].

Learn how to build a well-stocked pantry using a layering system: The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals [3], or The One-Year Pantry, Layer by Layer [5].

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How to build a pantry stocked with nutritious, energizing foods

When selecting foods to add to your emergency pantry, focus on the most nutrient-dense items you can find that are also shelf-stable, with a focus on macronutrients.

Macronutrients are compounds found in all foods that humans consume in the largest quantities, providing the bulk of our calories (energy) from our diets. The three main categories are protein, carbohydrate, and fat.

You’ll want your pantry to have a diverse assortment of foods from all three macronutrient categories.

Protein is the most satiating macronutrient – in other words, it is the most filling. Carbohydrates come in second to protein, and fat takes third place.

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Fiber is also filling, so including it in meals can reduce mindless snacking (which humans are prone to do when boredom sets in – and let’s face it, being stuck indoors for days on end can get boring).

In a previous article [8], we stressed that the foods you store for emergencies should provide you with the energy you’ll need during challenging times. Finding foods that are high in complex carbs and dietary fiber are more efficient from a dietary standpoint and will keep you feeling fuller longer.

To build balanced meals, including a source of each: protein, carbohydrate (ideally with fiber), and fat. Low carbohydrate vegetables (like broccoli and leafy greens) have no limits – add them to meals generously.

Here are some sample meal ideas that include each of the macronutrients:

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If you are unable to cook, you’ll need sources of each macronutrient in shelf-stable, ready-to-eat form, so we have included ideas for those in each category.

Protein sources

Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks [10] for our bodies. If we consume excess protein in our diets, our bodies will usually find a way to use it – we don’t store a lot of extra amino acids like we do carbohydrates and fat. Because we either use or excrete extra protein, we need to replenish it through our diets.

Daily protein needs vary among individuals. Body composition, activity level, and overall health are factors that need to be considered when calculating protein needs. A VERY general guideline is one gram of protein per pound of body weight for healthy adults.

You likely already know that eggs, poultry, and meat are good sources of protein, but what about shelf-stable sources?

Here are some options to consider:

Carbohydrate and fiber sources

Many preppers find solace in growing produce from their gardens [22] and preserving the fresh grown fruits and vegetables. Doing so gives them a constant supply of food to put away and seeds for the next year (provided that the seeds they use are non-GMO).

Fortunately, it is not difficult to find nutritious shelf-stable sources of carbohydrates and fiber.

Fat sources

Usually, fat sources that are solid at room temperature last longer on your pantry shelf. Fat sources can go rancid over time, and not only do they taste terrible when that happens, but they also aren’t good for your health. To increase the life of your fat sources, store them in a cool dark place, out of direct sunlight. Don’t let water get into the containers, and use a clean utensil every time you scoop a bit out.

Beverages

Of course, water should be your top priority [41] when it comes to building your emergency pantry.

However, there are various reasons you may want to include other things to drink in your emergency pantry. Many of us can’t imagine going a day without coffee [42], for example. In fact, during a long emergency situation – especially during the colder months – coffee can be a great source of comfort. Thankfully, there are ways to prepare coffee [43] without electricity, should your power go out.

Instant coffee, powdered milk, rice milk, almond milk, and other non-dairy beverages can be stored in the pantry until ready to use (must be kept cold after opening, so buy small containers if you won’t use them up in one day).

Tea can provide comfort and nutrients during emergency situations, so consider keeping a variety of herbal options [44] in your pantry.

And there you have it!

Hopefully, you’ll find the ideas presented here helpful when you are building your emergency pantry. Are there any items you’d add that we left out? Please feel free to share in the comments.

Be well!

 

 

Additional Reading:

8 Nutritious Foods You Can Afford When You’re Practically Broke [45]

How To Stock a Prepper Pantry [46]

Prepping for a Full On Breakdown? Stockpile These Foods [47]

5 (More) Foods That Last Forever [48]

 

Here's how to build an emergency pantry that is packed with nutritious, shelf-stable foods that will help your family keep energy levels up.