One stop Trader Joe’s Emergency Food Kit ~ I admit it, I’ve slacked off over the years and the recent earthquakes here in California have reminded me that I need to pay some attention to my emergency plans. I thought we could build our emergency food kits together, and to make it fun, we’ll hit up TJs!
The recent rattling here in California has definitely got me jittery. It’s just another reminder that stuff happens. When my kids were little we had carefully stocked emergency kits that included everything from water and food to diapers, cash, and teddy bears. It’s no joke, and when you’re a mom these things are especially scary. But as my kids grew up and left home my emergency prep faded to just about nothing (except the Ugg boots and flashlight by the bed that have been there since the ’94 quake.)
We don’t like to think about it, but natural disasters happen.
Even if you’re not living in an earthquake zone, most of us have got something we need to prepare for, whether it’s a hurricane, a tornado, flood, fire, blizzard, power outage, or flu pandemic. Authorities tell us to have a minimum 3 day supply, per person, of non-perishable food and water in an emergency kit. I went to Trader Joe’s to stock ours, but any grocery store will have the equivalent products (Costco and similar stores are great resources too) ~
and the main point of this post is to remind you that you can get much of what you need for a basic emergency food kit in one trip to your favorite food store, so let’s do this!
The key here is to look for familiar, nutrient dense foods that don’t require refrigeration, cooking, or other prep before eating.
- Choose foods that you and your family like, and will eat. Focus on healthy foods that provide calories and energy. Tailor your kit to your family’s lifestyle and eating habits…don’t stock dehydrated blueberries if nobody will eat them.
- The best way to store emergency food is in an airtight plastic container to keep it fresh and pest free. You can find them in any large box store or Staples, etc.
- Plan to replenish your emergency foods every year, this way you can consume them if you like, before they’ve expired. Pick the same date each year and note it on your calendar (or have Siri remind you) so you won’t forget.
Water is the number one most important consumable in an emergency. We can actually live for weeks without food, but only days without water. Stock a minimum of one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation. Note: water is tough because it’s so darned bulky. If you can’t do it all at once, my tip is to buy one or two extra gallons every time you shop, and before you know it you’ll be set.
canned fish and meats
Buy what you and your family will eat. Tuna is available, easy, and just requires a fork. (Yes, it’s safe to eat right out of the can.) Consider canned beef stew, corned beef hash, or chili with meat. Dried beef jerky type products are ideal, and even if your family doesn’t normally eat these types of things, they will when they get hungry enough.
Canned vegetables and beans, as well as soups, can be consumed without heating. Good choices are chickpeas, seasoned black beans, even refried beans. Stock up on hearty varieties that will provide calories. Soups will give you a bonus of added hydration,
Protein bars are probably the thing that comes to mind first when you think of emergency food, and for good reason; they’re compact, portable, and come in so many different delicious flavors. They’re easy to store, and eat. Buy them by the carton.
Cereal is healthy and easy to eat with or without milk. Rolled oats can be soaked in water, milk, or juice, and eaten as muesli with dried fruit and nuts. For kids, buy their favorites, (even if they’re not super healthy,) and balance out with one or two that are more nutritious.
Dried fruit provides energy and a welcome bit of sweetness to an emergency assortment.
whole grain/healthy crackers
Skip the white crackers and look for whole grains, and crackers with added nuts and seeds. These ingredients give crackers extra nutrition, fiber, and calories for energy. In a pinch you can make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with graham crackers.
Juices are delicious and sweet and provide a welcome change from water. Look for unsweetened varieties but if you have children, prioritize what they like. (A super healthy choice is useless if they won’t drink it.) Juice boxes are great for individual servings. Instant coffee, tea, and powdered drink mixes like Gatorade are also a good idea.
shelf stable milks
You’ll find dairy and non dairy milks in shelf stable form. They’re great for using with cereals, and drinking on their own. If you haven’t started to explore the amazing world of non-dairy milks, now’s a good time to check them out.
high energy foods
Think peanut butter, or any nut butter, trail mix, whole nuts, etc. Any food that you’d pack for a hike is perfect for your emergency kit. Honey is an especially welcome high energy food that’s great to stock because it can be used to sweeten all sorts of things.
Canned and shelf stable fruit will provide a welcome bright freshness ~ this includes jams, jellies, and fruit butters too.
TJs Gummi Vites are perfect, they’re chewable and agreeable to the whole family. They’ll provide a little peace of mind in an uncertain situation.
When my kids were young we packed stuffed animals and books in our emergency kit. Comfort is critical to all of us in a stressful situation. A little bit of sugar in the form of cookies, hard candy, or something like lollipops is a good idea. Chocolate candy is not an ideal choice because it won’t hold up if conditions are warm.
Non-food items you’ll need in your kit: (this list based on one from Ready.gov)
- Extra eyeglasses and prescription meds
- disposable plates, cutlery
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
- First aid kit
- Extra batteries
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, toilet paper, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener/bottle opener for food
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
Note: tvfgi is not associated with Trader Joe’s in any way, I just like to shop there 🙂 Read about my favorite TJs products here, and here.
Pin this for later!