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12 Tips For Your Emergency Food Supply List

Emergency Food Supply List

With current events causing people stress and fear many are searching for an emergency food supply list.  While it is best to be prepared before a crisis, many of us aren’t.  This guide is a crash course beginners guide to emergency food supply and storage.  What to buy, how to store it, how to cook, and how to survive if you can’t just go to the grocery store. 

Emergency Food Supply List Contents

  1. Set Goals
  2. Ensure You Have Water
  3. Water purification
  4. Best Emergency Foods To Buy
  5. Save By Buying In Bulk
  6. Get Some Seeds To Sow
  7. Get Fresh While It Lasts
  8. Rotate Rations
  9. Food Safety & Sanitation
  10. Cooking
  11. Managing food without power
  12. Summary

Set Goals

The first thing to consider when investing in emergency food supplies is how much do you need?  This is decided first by how many are in your household and then how much you think you need. Do you just need a 72 hour kit?  Or do you think in a crisis having a month, 6 months, or as many experts recommend up to or more than a year.  

At minimum the Department of Homeland Security recommends that every household have 72 hours of food for each resident.  

“After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours.”

Clearly it is important to have you bases covered if the government we depend on recommends you have your own supplies.  It is a subtle way of admitting that you will be on your own in a real crisis that lasts more than 72 hours.

Ensure You Have Water

In the event of a major disaster you may not be able to rely on clean water from your tap.  Regular water sources such as the reservoirs we depend on may be compromised. This could be due to dams failing or they become contaminated.  Having your own water supply is a foundation for all emergency food supply lists!

How Much Water Should I Have?

It is a good rule to have at least one gallon of water per person for three days. This is the water each member of your household for their drinking and sanitation needs.  In addition for cooking it is recommended that you have at least a gallon of water for each day. Most emergency food storage products take about 3 to 4 cups of water per meal to prepare.  

There are some special considerations, such as: 

  • Medical emergencies may require more water.
  • Nursing mothers, children, or the sick require more water per day.
  • Hotter climates require doubling water storage

While unopened commercially bottled water is the more reliable and safe water during an emergency, it runs out of stores fast.  During a big enough crisis relief organizations such as the Red Cross will be overwhelmed and unable to show up and help with water and food.

So the average amount of water for a family of 2 parents with 2 children for 3 days is approximately 15 Gallons of water.

Storing Water

A lot of emergency storage experts recommend planning and storing your water.  This can be done in large water barrels. They come in various sizes but are available online.  It is important to purchase and store water in Food Grade water barrels that are clean.

  • Store Bought Bottles - Having bottles of gallons of water isn’t a bad thing to have in an emergency.  However it is important to check expiration dates.
  • Water Barrels - All water you store needs to be checked at least 2 times a year.  Ensure it hasn’t ended up contaminated. Replace it if necessary.

If you’re going to store water yourself always ensure that the containers are unopened or are safe.  Buy containers meant for culinary water storage and never clean them with color-safe bleach or other cleaning additives.  It is vital you use cleaning products that are safe for water containers. 

Water purification

If you don’t have water storage or when it runs out you will need to treat the available water.  For suspicious sources of water you will need to purify it before you drink it, cook with it, wash dishes, brush your teeth, or even make ice.  Contaminated water isn’t just about smell and taste, it may be hazardous! It may contain microorganisms that will cause hepatitis, dysentery, typhoid, and coolera.

Ways To Purify Water

There are many ways to purify water, though a combination is typically the approach that yields the best water.  Before trying these methods it is important to let particles settle and or strain them out of the water with clean cloth or coffee filters. 

Boil It

Boiling is the simplest method and probably the oldest method.  We have been purifying water through applying heat for as long as there’s been fire, because it works.  It is the safest method of purifying water. Whether you boil it in a kettle or a pot make sure you keep it at a rolling boil for at least 1 minute.  You will lose some water to evaporation, but you’ll also have purified water that is safe to drink. Make sure you allow the water to cool before drinking.  

After boiling water the water may taste a little stale.  Re-oxygenate the water by pouring it back and forth between clean containers. 


Distillation is a fancy word to mean collecting the steam from boiling water.  When boiling water the evaporating water rising as steam is the cleanest water available.  It is free from salt, heavy metals, chemicals, and the dead microbes that boiling and chlorination leave behind.

To do this you’ll water to have a pot filled half way up with water.  Attach a cup to the handle on the pot’s lid so that the cup hangs right side up when the lid is upside down.  With the lid upside down and the cup hanging just below it steam will rise and pure water will fall into the cup like rain.

Using Chlorine

 We all know that pools are kept clean with chlorine, but not so many people know it can be used to purify drinking water.  Household liquid bleach will kill microorganisms. It is important to note you shouldn't use a bleach that has added cleaners, scents, or color safe features. 

To purify water with chlorine bleach add about 1/8th of a teaspoon to 1 gallons of water.  The water needs to stand for a half hour before drinking. Purified water done with chlorine bleach should have a slight bleach order.  If it doesn’t you need to repeat this process or find a better source of water. 

Best Emergency Foods To Buy

Your goal here is to choose foods that last for longer and you’ll be glad you have.  Criteria for these foods are high energy, easy of preparation, and fast cooking or ready to eat foods. Some of these foods require some water to cook, which is why it is important to have clean water stored or the knowhow to purify it. Choose Highly Nutritious & Flavorful Food.  Having food that you and your family will eat and enjoy during an emergency is just about as important as having it. While we could all just chew on some bark to get nutrients, it doesn’t help morale!

Freeze-Dried Foods

  • Dehydrated Powdered Milk - Milk isn’t just a great source of calcium, it is a vital ingredient for many of our favorite foods.  Having it for drinking, recipes, or even a blow of cereal is a way to make hard times feel a little more normal.
  • Dehydrated Whey - Whey powder is packed with nutrients.  It has essential amino acids that your body needs.  It is fast to make and just requires water.
  • Dehydrated Eggs - Eggs are an excellent source of protein.  As a cornerstone for just about any food storage having them on hand is huge.  Many emergency food storage companies have run out during the recent crisis. In fact some of the biggest names in emergency food have 1 to 2 months backorder times.
  • Freeze-Dried Meals - There is a wide range of freeze-dried meals.  From mac & cheese to jambalaya there are many options. 
  • Freeze-Dried Fruits - From apples and mangoes to raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries freeze dried fruits are a great source of energy and flavor.
  • Freeze-Dried Chips - Chips might not make it on the daily healthy list, but in a crisis they are easy to store and eat.  They can be eaten right out of the bag or rehydrated for recipes.
  • Cheeses In Wax - We’ve all seen wheels of cheese encased in wax or plastic.  This is done to prevent cheese from growing bacteria or mold. It also preserves your cheese's moisture.  Cheese properly encased in wax and stored right can last up to 25 years!
  • Protein & Snack Bars - Whether you’re interested in Taos Bakes, Luna Bars, or Clif Bars they provide a ton of protein and energy.  They are easy to carry and quick to consume.
  • Drink Mixes - In addition to instant milk other drink mixes you may want to have on hand are: tea, orange powder, grape powder, coffee and tea.  These are not only great sources of energy but also help promote morale. For a lot of the world the day simply starts with a cup of coffee.  That sense of normalcy helps us cope with uncertain times.
  • Butter & Cooking Oils - Most freeze dried meals do not require these items, but they do add flavor.  Having vegetable oil, olive oil, coconut oil, and others will make it easier when you do have fresh meat and other foods to cook.
  • Break, Pancake, & Wheat Flour - A lot of survival experts encourage grinding wheat into flour.  Getting some flour or some wheat for grinding into flour is a good step in food supply.  
  • Multigrain Cereals - Cereal is fast and simple to eat.  Whether it is shredded wheat or a box of multigrain cereal it is a must have for food storage.  

Save By Buying In Bulk

With current economic conditions getting what you need on the cheap is vital.  To save money, buy in bulk! It may cost more but getting what you need is done for less when you buy more at a time.  For larger households it is absolutely necessary to buy larger emergency food supply kits.  A key to emergency food supply is buying what you might need now, that will last!  That way if you don’t use it now, you will have it later. You can start to integrate it into your weekly meals or save it as your peace of mind against an unpredictable world. 

Get Some Seeds To Sow

For longer term uncertain times having some seeds to plant is just smart.  Growing your own grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and herbs helps remove dependencies on supply chains.  It doesn’t take as much as people think to disrupt the production and delivery of the foods we rely on. Some massively popular items to grow would be all the varieties of berries, tomatoes, string beans, squash, and cucumber.  Think ahead at what you’ll miss if you can’t get it at the store, and grow your own!

Get Fresh While It Lasts

While groceries stores still have fresh produce, getting ones that will last longer is a way to ease demand on your emergency food supply.  Potatoes, yams, squash, apples, oranges, lemons, and mandarin oranges are all great items to buy now!

Rotate Rations 

A key of food storage is to rotate newer stock to the back.  Eat first whatever is closer to it’s expiration date. This will make it more nutritious and safe to eat.  Keep track of what dates you have on your various types of emergency food supply storage. Prioritize whatever is going bad sooner.

Food Safety & Sanitation

During serious emergencies the power may go out.  If the power goes out the food in your refrigerator and freezer will not last long.  Bacterias grow very quickly when food is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. While some might think it is all about taste, eating these foods is downright dangerous.  These bacterias will cause people to become sick.  


If your stove is still going, no problem.  If the power is out or natural gas is off, it can be a challenge.  Having an outdoor charcoal grill, fondue pot, fireplace or even a candle warmer will help heat some foods.  One of the best things to have for these situations is a propane camping grill or charcoal grill. They are simple to use and usually easy to find their fuels. 

Managing food without power

While freeze-dried emergency food supplies don't require much; the rest of your food requires attention.  If the power is out you should keep your fridge and freeze closed as much as possible. It will help keep your foods cold enough to avoid dangerous bacterias.  


In uncertain times we help and care for each other.  Care for your family, your friends, and yourself during this challenging time.  Get the food, water, and equipment you’ll need to survive. Most of all get it safely and before it potentially gets harder to find what you need.