What Food Should Be Included in an Emergency Preparedness Kit for a Natural Disaster?

When disaster strikes, having a well-prepared emergency kit can make all the difference. While water, shelter, and first aid supplies are essential, food is equally crucial. A well-stocked emergency food supply can sustain you and your family during the aftermath of a disaster, providing the energy and nutrients needed for survival. Non-perishable food items such as canned goods, granola bars, and dried fruits are ideal, as they require no refrigeration and can be eaten without cooking. It's also important to include a manual can opener, disposable plates and utensils, and any necessary cooking supplies in your emergency kit. Rotate your emergency food supply regularly to ensure freshness, and consider dietary restrictions or special needs of family members when selecting items. By preparing an emergency food supply in advance, you can ensure that you and your loved ones are well-equipped to handle whatever challenges come your way. In this article, we’ll explore the best foods to include in your emergency preparedness kit to ensure you’re ready for any natural calamity.

Why Food Matters in an Emergency Kit

During a disaster, access to fresh food may be limited or completely cut off. Having a stockpile of non-perishable, nutrient-dense foods can sustain you and your family until help arrives or normalcy is restored. Here’s what you need to consider:

Caloric Needs: Aim for foods that provide sufficient calories to keep you energized. High-energy foods are essential during stressful situations.

Long Shelf Life: Choose items that won’t spoil quickly. Canned goods, dried foods, and energy bars are excellent options.

Ease of Preparation: You won’t have access to a full kitchen, so prioritize foods that require little to no cooking.

Essential Food Items for Your Emergency Kit

1. Water

Before we dive into food, remember that water is the most critical item. Store at least one gallon of water per person per day for both drinking and sanitation. For a 3-day evacuation supply, and a 2-week home supply, ensure you have enough water.

2. Non-Perishable Food

Stock up on the following non-perishable food items:

  • Ready-to-Eat Canned Meats, Fruits, and Vegetables: These provide protein and essential nutrients. Don’t forget a can opener!
  • Protein or Fruit Bars: Compact and energy-dense, these bars are perfect for emergencies.
  • Dry Cereal or Granola: A quick and easy source of sustenance.
  • Peanut Butter: High in protein and healthy fats.
  • Dried Fruit: A natural source of energy.
  • Canned Juices: Hydrating and refreshing.

Non-Perishable Pasteurized Milk: A good source of calcium and vitamins.

3. Consider Unique Needs

Tailor your kit to your family’s specific requirements:

  • Medical Supplies: Include medications (a 7-day supply) and any necessary medical items.
  • Baby Supplies: Bottles, formula, baby food, and diapers if you have infants.
  • Games and Activities for Children: Keeping kids occupied during stressful times is essential.
  • Pet Supplies: Don’t forget your furry friends! Collar, leash, ID, food, and a carrier.
  • Two-Way Radios: Communication is vital.
  • Extra Set of Car and House Keys: In case of evacuation.

4. Disaster-Specific Considerations

Depending on the types of disasters common in your area, add these items:

  • Whistle: For signaling.
  • N95 or Surgical Masks: Protection against airborne particles.
  • Matches: Useful for lighting fires.
  • Rain Gear: Staying dry is crucial.
  • Towels: Versatile and handy.
  • Work Gloves: Protect your hands during cleanup.
  • Tools/Supplies for Securing Your Home: Nails, hammer, etc.
  • Extra Clothing, Hat, and Sturdy Shoes: Be prepared for changing weather conditions.
  • Plastic Sheeting and Duct Tape: Useful for shelter and repairs.
  • Entertainment Items: Mental well-being matters too.
  • Blankets or Sleeping Bags: Keep warm during cold nights.


Remember, an emergency preparedness kit is only effective if it’s well-stocked and regularly updated. Check expiration dates, rotate food supplies, and customize your kit based on your family’s needs. By including the right foods, you’ll be better equipped to weather any storm that comes your way.

Stay safe, stay prepared!


American Red Cross: Survival Kit Supplies. https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/survival-kit-supplies.html

Ready.gov: Food. https://www.ready.gov/food

Food Network: Emergency Preparedness Kit. https://www.foodnetwork.com/how-to/packages/help-around-the-kitchen/emergency-preparedness-kit

Government of Canada: Making an Emergency Kit. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/emergency-preparedness/making-an-emergency-kit.html

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