Shelf-stable Foods for Emergencies

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*This article includes a free printable guide to assist you in stockpiling shelf-stable foods for emergencies!

Stocking The Basics

Do you have shelf-stable foods for emergencies? In times of crisis or emergencies, having a well-stocked pantry can ensure you and your family access to nutritious, life-sustaining foods. You never know when or if you might face a natural disaster, local crisis, or other emergencies. Being prepared with food and supplies will bring you peace of mind should you ever find yourself in one of these problematic situations.

In this article, we will explore a variety of simple, shelf-stable foods that you can easily store in your home for emergencies.

How Prepared Are You?

How prepared are you for situations like natural disasters or power outages? Do you have emergency food and water stocked up? If you feel underprepared, it’s time to get to work! But don’t worry; we will tackle these projects with baby steps! I am here to help you along the way.

10 Shelf-Stable Foods to Stock Up on For Emergencies

  1. Bottled water
  2. Protein powder
  3. Oatmeal 
  4. Nut butter: peanut/almond butter
  5. Canned fruits and vegetables
  6. Canned meats and fish 
  7. Prepackaged snacks: crackers, granola bars, etc
  8. Freeze-dried foods: fruit, vegetables, etc
  9. Freeze-dried meals
  10. Hard candy

Why Should You Store Emergency Foods?

picture of shelf-stable foods for emergencies in glass food storage jars.

Let’s discuss these specific emergency foods and why you would want to store them as part of your emergency preparedness plan.

You will create a well-rounded emergency food supply by having a mix of nutritious foods, comfort foods, and something sweet. These foods are considered part of your food storage; most foods discussed in this article fall into the “short-term” food storage category. Short-term food storage is the food you regularly buy, consistently eat and rotate through. Short-term food storage is shelf-stable foods with a 3-12 month expiration date.

I also suggest buying some emergency foods in the long-term storage category. Long-term food storage is shelf-stable for many years. Many of these types of foods are freeze-dried foods. We will talk about which foods fall into each of these categories.


emergency water jugs

Water is your most essential emergency food item! Here are a few reasons why it is necessary to store emergency water.

-Water is a crucial element for survival; it is your most essential need.
-It is recommended to have at least one gallon of water per person daily for emergencies.
-You need emergency water for drinking, cooking, and hygiene.
-Without water, the human body can only survive for a few days.
-In emergencies, there may be a higher risk of contamination of water sources.


protein powder food for emergecies

Protein powder is an excellent long-term food storage option; this is shocking, right?! Here are a few reasons to add protein powder to your emergency food supply.

-It is a great food storage item due to its extended shelf life. Some brands of protein powder are shelf-stable for 4-5 years.
-Protein is essential for muscle repair and overall body strength; this makes protein an excellent source of nutrition to have on hand.
-You will only need water for mixing; it is effortless to prepare and does not require cooking like many other forms of protein.
-Come in various delicious flavors, and the powder is easy to transport.


oat meal food storage

Oatmeal is a staple food storage option; you can store oatmeal on your pantry shelf as a short-term food storage. You can also store Oatmeal long-term in Mylar bags or buy it in #10 cans. Here are a few reasons to add oatmeal to your emergency food supply.

-Oatmeal is a versatile and nutrient-rich food you can easily prepare with only boiling water.
-It is packed with healthy fiber. Beta-glucan, a soluble fiber found in oatmeal, promotes the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, which can boost the immune system and aid digestion.
-This is an incredibly filling food. It is crucial in a crisis to keep your family full and satisfied.


peanut butter food storage

Nut butter, such as peanut and almond butter, are excellent short-term food storage options. Besides nut butter being delicious, there are several reasons why you should add nut butter to your stockpile of emergency foods.

-Nut butter is a valuable source of healthy fats to help sustain your body.
-These foods are convenient; you can consume it directly from the jar or spread it on crackers or bread if available.
-Contains protein. In emergencies, protein could be challenging to come by.
-Another benefit of nut butter is its long shelf-life. When stored in a cool, dry place, nut butter can last an average of nine to twelve months.
-Nut butter is highly versatile. You could add it to your oatmeal or mix it in a smoothie.


canned fruit and vegetables food for emergencies

Canned fruits, and vegetables are excellent short-term storage options and perfect simple foods to eat in a crisis. Here are a few reasons why adding canned fruit and vegetables to your emergency food supply is a great idea!

-Canned fruits and vegetables are a convenient and valuable food source during an emergency.
-They can last several years, so you can stock up on it without worrying about them quickly spoiling.
-Canned produce is pre-cut and pre-cooked (when cooking is required), saving you time and effort when preparing a meal.
-You can easily add canned vegetables to soups or enjoy canned fruit as a quick snack right out of the can.
-These foods are often picked and canned at the ripeness’s peak, meaning they will retain most of their nutrients.


canned fish and meat for food storage

Canned meats and fish are excellent choices for short-term food storage. Here are a few reasons why you would want to have these items in your pantry should you ever need to rely on your emergency food supply.

-In an emergency, canned meats and fish will provide protein that doesn’t require cooking.
-Canned meats are shelf-stable for an extended period, making them a reliable source of protein for emergencies.
-You can use canned meats in various dishes, from sandwiches to soups to casseroles.
-Canned meats are packed with essential nutrients like protein, vitamins, and minerals, helping to ensure that your body gets proper nutrition.


packaged granola bars shelf-stable food for emergencies

I don’t know about you, but I sure as heck don’t want to be in a crisis and not have snacks on hand and ready to go. Here are some great reasons to add prepackaged snacks to your emergency food supply.

-Prepackaged snacks are great for emergencies because they come in pre-measured portions, which can help with portion control.
-These types of snacks are designed to be portable, making them ideal for grabbing and taking with you in an emergency.
-If you have young children at home, it is crucial to have easy foods on hand, like prepacked snack foods, to feed them in an emergency.


freeze dried food storage

I am a huge fan of freeze-dried foods! Freeze-dried foods make excellent long-term food storage. Here are a few reasons why adding these foods to your emergency stash of foods is a smart idea.

-Freeze-dried foods are great emergency foods because they retain almost all their nutrients.
-They have a significantly longer shelf-life compared to canned foods.
-Last up to 25 years when sealed and stored correctly.
-These kinds of food are lightweight, making them easy to store and transport if necessary.
-Reconstituting freeze-dried foods requires only water.
-If you have an infant, it is easy to make freeze-dried food into baby food.


freeze dried food storage meals for emergency food storage

I have already mentioned my love for freeze-dried foods. Freeze-dried meals are great long-term food storage options that you can use in emergencies. Here are a few more reasons to consider adding this type of food storage to your emergency food supply.

-Accessing food in your refrigerator or freezer during an emergency may be difficult or impossible.
-Freeze-dried meals are easy to prepare and require only hot water.
-These meals are often designed to be balanced meals with a mix of protein, carbohydrates, and other vital nutrients necessary to sustain life.
-Many food storage meals have a shelf-life of up to 25 years.


hard candy for food storage

Does it shock you that candy made this list? Many people are surprised that I suggest that you add hard candy to your emergency food supply. Here are a few great reasons to stock up on these sweets.

-Having comfort food could be very useful during a crisis or emergency.
-Hard candy can combat dehydration by stimulating saliva and moistening your mouth and throat.
-If you or someone you know is nauseous, sucking on hard candy can help alleviate those symptoms.
-Sugar can provide a quick burst of energy, making hard candy a great item to stock up on for possible high-stress situations.

It’s Time To Get To Work!

Now that you have read this article, I bet you are ready to work on building up your stockpile of emergency foods!!

I am here to help you with this goal. I have created a free printable list to get you started. You can download the list HERE.

Once you have downloaded and printed the list, you can start immediately working on checking items off the list. You do not need to run out and buy everything all at once. I recommend buying one emergency food storage item weekly until you have completed the list.

Helpful Resources!

Here are a few links that you will find helpful as you work on building up your emergency food supply.
Amazon- Emergency Food List
Thrive Life- Freeze-Dried Food

As you work towards developing your food storage, it is essential to remember why you are doing this.

Food Storage is Food Insurance.

We stockpile food to prepare for the future. We don’t know what kinds of trials, emergencies, natural disasters, or personal hardships we might face, but doing what we can to prepare our homes and care for our families, will bring us peace.

Let me know how you do with this project!

I hope you found this article and my free printables helpful! I would love to hear how your food storage and emergency preparedness journey is going.

You can contact me via Instagram @foodstoragemama.

Also, I am always open to input and suggestions; please let me know what type of resources you are looking for regarding food storage, pantry stockpiling, grocery budgeting, etc.

While you are on a roll with your food storage, you will also find THIS article (& included free printables) helpful!

So happy to have you here on!


Meet Brittany


I’m a mom of 5 and know through first-hand experience how having food security can make a world of difference. Now I’m on a mission to help others get prepared for any emergency.


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