One Stop Trader Joe’s Emergency Food Kit

Trader Joe's freeze dried fruit

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!

Trader Joe's grocery carts

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.)

Trader Joe's peanut butter

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!

Trader Joe's freeze dried fruit

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.



Trader Joe's Water

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

Trader Joe's Canned Tuna

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/beans/soupsTrader Joe's packaged soups

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

Trader Joe's Protein Bars

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.



Trader Joe's granola

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

Trader Joe's Dried Fruit

Dried fruit provides energy and a welcome bit of sweetness to an emergency assortment.


whole grain/healthy crackers

Trader Joe's Beet 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.



Trader Joe's fruit juices

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

Trader Joe's 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

Trader Joe's Peanut Butter, Trail Mix

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 fruit

Trader Joe's applesauce and fruit squeeze packs

Canned and shelf stable fruit will provide a welcome bright freshness ~ this includes jams, jellies, and fruit butters too.



Trader Joe's Gummi Vites

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.


comfort/stress foods


Trader Joe's Candy


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

Trader Joe's Bath Tissue

  • Cash
  • Extra eyeglasses and prescription meds
  • disposable plates, cutlery
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • 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!

Trader joes pin.



You Might Also Like


    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    Geraldine | Green Valley Kitchen
    July 13, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    I’m in LA too and was away over the 4th so missed the earthquakes. I do have an emergency food stock pile but these TJ items would be great to have on hand as well. Each year, at the end of the year, I go through and donate anything that is nearing its expiration date to the local shelter. I also buy 10 of those large 2.5 gallon water bottles and leave them in the garage for emergency use only. Hopefully we won’t ever have to use them.

    • Reply
      July 13, 2019 at 3:27 pm

      That’s such a nice idea to donate the stuff each year. I used to buy the giant waters and leave them behind the garage but they got so grungy I worried that the water wouldn’t be any good.

  • Reply
    Lisa Lotts
    July 10, 2019 at 1:23 pm

    I live in a hurricane prone area, so I know all about being prepared. The first few days without power, we simply eat/cook the foods that are defrosting in our freezer … but by day 3 and 4, we’re reverting to all the items you’ve listed here. I also have a pretty decent bean dip made from canned black beans and ro-tel that we like with tortilla chips. Thanks for the info! Stay safe!

    • Reply
      July 10, 2019 at 3:16 pm

      Thanks Lisa, I was thinking it would be interesting to list or come up with different ‘recipes’ that folks can make with shelf stable food like this, I love your dip!

  • Reply
    2 sisters recipes
    July 10, 2019 at 10:39 am

    Great post! We should all have a disaster plan. It can happen anywhere in the world! Thanks for great tips!

  • Reply
    July 10, 2019 at 9:44 am

    What a fun way to build a short term emergency food supply. Love the suggestions from Trader Joe’s. Are the water containers longer lasting than the milk jug type you usually find in the grocery stores?

    • Reply
      July 10, 2019 at 9:52 am

      Hey Geni ~ I’m not sure that it lasts longer, these have a labeled 2 year lifespan, but I will say these bottles are sturdier and easier to carry and store than the supermarket jugs that I’ve used in the past.

  • Reply
    Tricia B
    July 10, 2019 at 8:50 am

    All these ideas are terrific and could be applied to any circumstance. We are often affected by hurricanes here in Virginia and I know they get plenty of tornadoes in many areas. We should all take stock and prepare a kit like this! So sorry about your recent earthquakes. We had one big one and I’ll never forget it. Hope I don’t go through that again! LOVE this post.

    • Reply
      July 10, 2019 at 8:51 am

      Thanks Tricia, I’ve never had to deal with a hurricane, but I can remember living through some scary blizzards in the North East.

  • Reply
    Patt Larkin
    July 10, 2019 at 8:34 am

    Great ideas! Living in an earthquake prone San Francisco Bay Area, here are my suggestions.
    Keep a pair of hard soled slippers/shoes and a flashlight by your bed. Earthquakes happened at any time. I keep my supplies outside near the house not in the garage, in a clean garbage can with a tight fitting lid. If you have school aged children write an out of the area family or good friends phone number inside their backpack. Most times the phones lines including cell towers will be interrupted for emergency use only. Don’t forget your car has a radio for information in case the power is out. My bike is always ready to go in case we need to leave the area.
    I keep two propane tanks and never let my car get too low on gas.
    Hope these help.

    • Reply
      July 10, 2019 at 8:37 am

      The shoes and flashlight tip is my number one, too. I’ve had them by my side ever since the first big earthquake I experienced. I can’t sleep otherwise. Great ideas Patt, thanks 🙂

  • Reply
    July 10, 2019 at 7:26 am

    Hi Sue,
    How awful to see the news reports about all the damage the earthquakes did! I live in south Florida, and at this time of the year, we watch the weather reports closely for news of storms and hurricanes brewing in the tropics. I have my hurricane supplies ready. I also have a butane one burner stove. I hope the rest of the summer is safe for all of us, and we have no more earthquakes or hurricanes.

    • Reply
      July 10, 2019 at 7:34 am

      My parents live in Florida and I watch the weather closely too, hoping for a calm season!

  • Reply
    July 10, 2019 at 7:01 am

    Loved this post fun and informative!
    I used to live in California– And coming from a military family I’m used to the whole concept of being prepared. May I make a few suggestions of things that I had to do and still do.
    1. Mark each pkg with date, store and price. Circle serving size and note the # of them in relation to how many people to feed — for at least a 2 week supply.
    2. Make a calendar apt appt on that date with a reminder in 2-4 months to come back to this stash and switch out with new. .. which you will duly mark and update the calendar to show next reminder, and so forth.
    3. Have a “survived not being in a diaster: party with those proceeds, take lots of pictures and discuss what you might change, switch out, over or leave out all together.
    4. Buy a good sized backpack and label with each person’s name. Stash their supplies in each pack. Including ea having a med kit, a dental kit, and sleeping accoutrements. Put everything in its own zippy including each piece of clothing.
    Why individual packs, besides the family stash – because an emergency- defines needing to having ea individual being able to stand alone.

    If you have pets, add a pack for them. And add that to your calendar app
    Place a sheet with med and dental and ocular stats in a page protector for each including the pets. You wont have time to find it in the emergency.
    Mom — make sure you include info on the mortgage and banking on a sheet as well–

    The key to being prepared to to be comfortable with what’s expected for each person to do, what can happen, how to deal. So set up the camera and do a film of your own disaster and how everyone deals. Do one every year. Save on disc. Priceless.
    But it really will help. People freak. Freeze. Forget. And that can be a real disaster.

    • Reply
      July 10, 2019 at 7:06 am

      Great suggestions Blue, I particularly like the idea of everyone having their own pack.

      • Reply
        July 11, 2019 at 2:59 am

        You are most welcome! Each human, each pet needs that pack with essentials, med &dental and er food. As well as the larger family stash. Having it updated, having it where it’s safe and accessible is important! Having a means to be mobile and connected too. A rolling backpack for your pet to be transported is essential
        I’ve managed to survive a mudslide, a flood, 2 fires, a hurricane and a tornado. With children and a dog.
        It matters to always follow up. Have a plan, know the plan and practice the plan. It matters that everyone take turns bring the boss of the plan so they learn the. Value of planning and what happens when you don’t. It is crucial to survival that each person contemplate the value of escape, of eating, bathing, sleeping and getting me medical care in area of none available. Of being mindful. If being aware of signs sounds of a disaster development. Of where they are, with who and what to do if the parent is not there, the older sibling is not there. What to do for ones pets. Of what to take and why. Of how to be mobile. Of how to be connected.

        The average family may only see 1 disaster in a lifetime. May–! And so they forget, overlook, get complacent and sadly, don’t survive well or at all. Example, families that wee lost on vacation when the tidal wave hit. Guesstamate how many individuals were aware of what to do in an emergency, zero. How many knew the warning signs, and acted in defense? Maybe 1 %.
        It’s the millennium for goodness sake. We are underserved by technology and information – yet- most are still acting like its middle century.. sadly, so many lost.
        It’s a serious matter that most poo-poo ! Till it’s too late. We stand out in hurricanes to do selfies. It’s just so bizarre.

        Families who do well, survive well are because they communicate, plan, practice, and deal honestly, informed and confident. And most emergency situations last more than 2 weeks, some up to 6 months! No heat, cooling, water, electricity, safety and food– if you can imagine your family dealing with that — and a medical condition, a dental condition, — and doing well– then you as a parent did right. But at least 93% will not. That 93% will drain all other resources as well so be aware it’s not just the environment is the humans–!! Great post – hoping people take heed, take action and keep it fun to be a survivor!

  • Reply
    July 10, 2019 at 6:48 am

    Praying for your safety and well being Sue and all my friends out there in California!

    • Reply
      July 10, 2019 at 6:54 am

      We’re doing fine, thanks Berni, but you never know what’s around the bend. I’ve always been spooked by earthquakes because they’re so unpredictable.

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!


Get my tips, tricks & recipes for easy

foolproof baking


logo png