Your body needs fuel in order to function. Food is fuel. When preparing for an emergency it is essential to include food to nourish your body. With food there are many things to consider:
- Does the food require preparation? If so, do you have the equipment to prepare it?
- How many calories are required?
- How is the food packaged? Can you easily open the packages?
- Does the packaging protect the food from predators and pests?
- How much food is required?
When creating an emergency food plan be sure to consider these factors. Find foods high in protein and not too salty. There are different types of foods for different situations.
- Pantry Food is food that you normally keep in your house. Your house is your first line of defense and a well-stocked home pantry could get you through a variety of emergency situations.
- Ration Bars are high-calorie, highly concentrated food rations. These are normally very high in salt and calories. These normally are not pleasant to eat but can supply needed calories in an emergency.
- Short Term foods can be eaten immediately. These include MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) and packaged items such as energy bars, jerky, snacks, etc. These foods can easily be carried on hikes. Select foods appropriate for your activity.
- Medium Term foods require very minimal preparation. Examples are the freeze dried meals that only require hot water to prepare. These normally require a small camp stove to create boiling water. There are many light, effective, and affordable stoves that can be easily packed. Examples include JetBoil, MSR, Primus, etc.
- Long Term food has a very long shelf-life and normally requires cooking. These foods are normally sealed in cans and often have a shelf life of up to 25 years. You normally need a stove to prepare this type of food. When using a smaller camp stove make sure that it can generate sufficient heat to cook the food. For home kits you can use the larger cans but for field use I would choose the smaller cans.
Packaging is a very important part of food products. The packaging must protect food from the environment and from predators. Rodents can be especially clever and destructive. Long-term food should be in sealed cans for protection. I normally chose the smaller cans of freeze dried foods for emergency use. The cans provide excellent protection from the elements and from animals. If you have multiple small cans then you have backup cans if an open can is compromised. For home food supplies you can more easily use the larger cans.