12 Types of Food To Keep in Your Pantry for Emergencies
February 15, 2023 | Christian Schauf
12 Types of Food To Keep in Your Pantry for Emergencies

The world is changing quickly these days. And while nobody can predict which emergency is going to show up at your door, it’s hard to argue with the fact that we’ve all been effected in the past few years, and that trend is likely to continue. 

With conversations around cyber attacks, energy/gas shortages, and supply chain constraints, we wanted to talk a little bit about how to simply and easily make sure you have the food you need to make it through.


Well, as with anything, it’s very hard to predict exactly how much food each person is going to need. It’s dependent on several factors - duration of emergency, how many people in the family, physical activity during emergency, and more.

My recommendation is to have 2 weeks worth of non-perishable food on hand for you and your family. Fortunately, we live in a time where our government is able to quickly adapt, and while short-term shortages are more and more likely, it’s also very likely that emergency response teams, the National Guard and others will provide solutions within a reasonable amount of time. But having what you need BEFORE something happens, prevents the need to race to your local grocery store, fight traffic, and scrounge for the remaining bits of food on the shelves that nobody wanted to eat anyways.


My goal here is to provide a list of products that not only have a decent amount of nutritional value, but are extremely shelf-stable, and generally are popular outside of an emergency.

Peanut Butter - PB doesn’t require refrigeration, is calorie-dense, and generally full of healthy fats and protein. It goes well with a variety of foods, and is packaged in a way that is very durable.

Nuts and Trail Mix - similar to peanut butter, trail mix is high-calorie, doesn’t need to be cooked or refrigerated, and you can get different varieties for a change in taste. Make sure to buy single serving in vacuum pack containers to keep nuts from eventually going bad.

Granola (or cereal) - I like granola over cereal given its density and propensity to be more edible by itself (vs w a bowl of milk). Cereals come in sealed bags and will not spoil as fast as bread, providing a good sustainable source of carbs.

Canned meats - frozen chicken breast may look most desirable, but if the power goes out, or you don’t have a way to cook, you’re going to set yourself up for some salmonella or worse. Canned meat (chicken, tuna, turkey, salmon) is pre-cooked and has an incredible shelf-life. It’s not hard to spice it up, but if push comes to shove, it’s ready-to-eat food. Just make sure you have a mechanical can opener as well.

Canned vegetables - dealer’s choice here, but I recommend a vegetable medley given the choice. This will give you the best assortment of nutrients in a serving. Again, make sure you have a can opener, and make sure you’re getting a wide variety of vegetables if you do decide to buy cans by the specific vegetable.

Canned Soups - Are you seeing a trend here? Cans are really the way to go, and given soups are really a great comfort food, making a delicious meal takes nothing more than heating up a few cans of chicken noodle or tomato soup.

Water - if you are in an area that will be difficult to source water, consider a large 5 gallon water container. If an emergency is coming on quickly, fill a bathtub, and you can filter that water later. If you missed your chance, there is likely water in the top of the toilet and in the water heater - use it if you need to… water is extremely important.

Electrolytes - There are dozens of options for powdered drink mix. I’d suggest an organic mix with electrolytes and carbohydrates to get the most bang for your buck. 

Greens - While they may not last as long as canned foods, having a sealed / air-tight mix of greens like Athletic Greens or Amazing Grass Greens is a great supplement when it’s difficult to get a wide variety of vegetables and fruit in. 

Multi-vitamins - stock up on a good multi-vitamin that contains Vitamin D, Magnesium, Calcium, Zinc, Iron, Folate, B-12, and add some fish oils for omega fats.

Pretzels/Crackers - Buy sealed packages of your favorite carbs. Whole grain is better, but in an emergency, simply getting enough carbs in is a win enough.

Candy - A big part of making it through anything is positive mental attitude. Sometimes a treat can go a long ways. Whether it’s individually packed Snickers, hard candy, or gummies, having these on hand will put some smiles on faces during tough times.