Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Emergency Food Supplies


Part of efficient and effective living is planning ahead. Here are a few of my thoughts when it comes to what to stock for an emergency food supply.

The scope and range of possible emergencies in the 21st century are broader and far wider reaching than ever. From natural disasters such as floods, storms, fires, epidemics, and droughts, to man made catastrophes like terrorist activities, financial collapse, civil unrest, environmental destruction, even the crash of technology based services such as internet or electronic banking, emergencies can encompass a variety of possibilities. These disasters can last from a few hours to weeks or even months, and can affect very specific areas and societal demographics or be spread across vast regions, countries, even the entire world.

Having a stock of food and water available for yourself and your family is one of the best ways to be prepared for an emergency. Simply having a supply of food isn’t enough though. You must ensure that you have certain types of food on hand and that they are properly stored. Storing your food supplies in a cool dark place, rotating them by freshness and expiration dates, and having well packaged, non-crushable containers for easy storage and transportation, are all factors to consider when compiling your emergency food stores. But you can only stock so much, so what foods are best to have on hand during an emergency?

If space is a factor, you aren’t going to want to have many items like chips, pretzels, crackers, etc. that are poorly packaged, low in nutrition, take up a lot of room, and are easily crushable. This type of item is better replaced by high protein foods that are compact and will keep for long periods such as peanuts, peanut butter, granola, etc. When it comes to your emergency stockpile, forget the frills. In an emergency, you want the necessities, so in most cases you won’t be stocking the condiments, milk, butter, eggs, etc. You need food that won’t spoil quickly and is easy to transport and store.

Necessities

First off, you won’t be getting far in an emergency without water. While you will need it to drink, it is also quite difficult to cook many types of food without water. Therefore, bottled water should be the first item you stock in your emergency food supply. Besides water though, you should have flour, sugar, powdered or condensed milk, salt, and dehydrated or powdered eggs. These items have a long shelf life, don’t take up much room, and in a long-term emergency these ingredients will provide a long list of foods and meals you can create.

Staples

Items that are canned or dried can often be great additions to your emergency food supply due to their long shelf life and easy storage. Dry cereals such as oatmeal, cream of wheat, granola, grits, etc. are perfect for your stock. Regular boxed cereal can be good as well, although you have to watch expiration dates more closely. Other good staples include noodles, pastas, dry soups, peanut butter, peanuts, and dried meats. If you don’t want to have to add water to make your meals, consider canned fruits, vegetables, pastas, and other canned, ready to eat foods.

Special needs

If you have someone in your family with diabetes or hypoglycemia, you should consider storing special items to meet their needs. Fruit juice, powdered juice that can be mixed with water, raisins or dried fruit, and candy can be good for getting blood sugar levels up. Low carbohydrate/high protein foods such as dried meat, tuna fish, peanuts, and peanut butter, are other good foods to have in your emergency supply for helping to regulate blood sugars. Since the majority of these foods can be eaten by those without special needs, and typically have a long shelf life, they make great additions to your emergency food supply.

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