How to Stock an Emergency Food Supply – We discuss key items that we stock up on to have on hand all the time or in the event of an emergency and/or self-quarantine; we also discuss other household items that are helpful to have on hand in case of an emergency.
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Table of contents
- How to Stock an Emergency Food Supply
- Why Being Prepared for an Emergency is Important
- Fresh Produce
- Dairy, Non-Dairy Beverages & Eggs
- Your Favorite Coffee & Drinks
- Canned Goods
- Dried Beans
- Boxed/Packaged Foods
- Shelf Stable Goods
- Items Other Than Food
- Things to Consider, Recommendations & Behaviors
How to Stock an Emergency Food Supply
Hi Everyone, How is everyone coping amid the Covid-19 Pandemic?
It seems like every day we are getting more news about this historic situation.
I hope everyone is staying safe, practicing social distancing, and paying attention to the fast-evolving news.
I certainly am! #flattenthecurve
We are in Central, NJ, and from what I hear on the news and the state government, our state will be hit hard by this pandemic.
I want to share some personal reasons why I believe it’s important to be prepared during this time.
Why Being Prepared for an Emergency is Important
As we as a nation, experience the Covid-19 Pandemic, there are thoughts that have come up in my mind.
My paternal grandparents always had, at least, 2 months’ supply of shelf-stable food in a pantry they set up in their basement and when I was young kept a vegetable garden.
I remember going into their basement and staring at the shelves in wonderment at the food like it was a grocery aisle in their house and I also enjoyed digging in their garden and saw what grew.
My grandparents knew how to pickle and can their own food to preserve it over the winter months.
They grew up during the Great Depression and lived through (my Grandfather fought in) the war.
When my dad and his siblings were young, the Polio Epidemic was great fear and concern to many parents.
They had knowledge of hard times because they lived through them and I observed that.
Those practices and resilience that they carried for the rest of their lives, even during peacetime, stayed with me, I remembered that and I feel like people should be more prepared for any situation like they were.
I was a sophomore in college at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, 2 miles from the World Trade Center on 9/11.
My college peers and I lived through that time and remember what it was like to live in fear and terror and be forced to shelter in place.
The confinement that my family and many across this nation find themselves in reminds me of that time, although it was a much different situation, there are definitely some parallels.
Clearly, this Covid-19 pandemic, is historic and unprecedented.
I want to share with you what we are stocking up on, what we would like to stock up on, and sharing some ideas of useful appliances, thoughts, and behaviors.
Make sure to stock up on fruit & veggies that will get you through until your next grocery shop since fresh produce is more perishable.
- Your favorite nutritious veggies
- Items like potatoes, onions, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, root vegetables in general, I notice last a bit longer than leaf vegetables/salad mixes.
- Fruit can be stored in the fridge to keep longer
- consider getting frozen fruit and veggies
Dairy, Non-Dairy Beverages & Eggs
If you and your family drinks dairy, you will want to stock up on your most used dairy products.
If you have a family with little ones, this category can be an important one!
- milk or non-dairy milk
- half and half or light cream (for coffee or recipes)
Your Favorite Coffee & Drinks
If you are a mom with little ones, like me, this is an important category, you do not want to be stuck at home without your favorite coffee.
Those of you who are used to going to coffee shops will have to brew your own coffee at home.
- Coffee beans (don’t forget to get enough….) – get enough to last the next few days if it’s a short amount of time, or if you expect to be in the house longer grab a larger amount. We have coffee for a few weeks that I got before, things really shut down but this is an easy one to order online (Amazon Prime, home grocery delivery or some of you may use Instacart – if you do let me know the plus and minuses of your favorite apps and services)
- Coffee filters (in the right size!)
- shelf-stable coffee creamer
- shelf-stable milk
- shelf-stable juice
It is so useful to have pasta on hand to make a quick lunch or dinner and many kids (especially picky eaters) love pasta.
It’s also a soothing/comforting food when you are anxious, plus, there are so many kinds available now, even if you are gluten-free.
- boxes of your favorite Mac ‘n Cheese (ours is Annie’s brand)
- Ramen noodles
- Protein pasta
- Different types of plain pasta (thin spaghetti, spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine, etc.)
We always have canned goods on hand and amid an emergency we bump up that amount, depending on the recommended amount of time we expect we would need to stay at home.
Canned food lasts a long time
- canned fish (chunk light tuna, salmon, sardines, anchovies, etc.)
- canned beans & peas (great for chili recipes)
- canned chickpeas
- canned vegetables (corn, beets, potatoes, etc.)
- canned pasta
- canned pasta tomato sauce, paste, diced and whole tomatoes
- canned soup
Usually, you will need to soak dried beans/peas overnight before cooking them (with some exceptions) but they keep wonderfully, and stack easily for space-efficient storage.
- Black eyed-peas
- Red kidney beans
- black beans
- Green/Yellow Split Peas
- Pinto beans
- Navy beans
- Your favorite kind of beans!
- Pancake Mix (if you are Keto or Gluten-Free there are specialty pancake mixes)
- Favorite Treats: Brownie, Cake Mixes (great especially if you have a family birthday coming up and you can’t leave the house to get a ready-made cake or can’t have a party as you usually would)
Shelf Stable Goods
- Nut Butters: Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, etc.
- Condiments: ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, relish, horseradish (a personal family favorite) soy sauce and other favorite sauces, etc. (these items will keep on the shelf until you open them and then they need to be refrigerated; these items are often called for in common family recipes)
- Powdered Milk
- Powdered Coffee Creamer
Items Other Than Food
- Pharmacy prescriptions (for each family member) – see if you can get a 3-month supply by calling your insurance provider, so you don’t need to go out as much
- Over the counter medicines – get the kinds of medicines that you would take were you to get sick, don’t forget medicines that your kids would need specific to them
- Supplements and Immune Boosting-specific supplements – In addition to your daily vitamins get Emergen-C or Airborne
- toilet paper – there have been many jokes and memes on the internet about how people are stockpiling toilet paper, I think it’s good to have what you need and leave the rest for others. One can also order a bidet or bidet attachment for their toilet, now there’s an idea!
- paper towels – I prefer to use reusable towels but sometimes it’s good to have some paper towels on hand, just in case.
- bleach – I get a large container(s) and make a bleach-water solution in a spray bottle – this is much cheaper than buying pre-made cleaners and it does the job
- Empty spray bottles for making bleach-water solution or diluting cleaners
- laundry detergent – having clean laundry is so important in general and especially if you have kids! Regularly cleaning bed sheets, towels, kitchen tea towels is a must as well.
- color-safe bleach – disinfect your color load too!
- Lysol – spray, and wipes
- disinfecting floor cleaners
- your favorite essential oils (Thieves is great for cleaning) – there’s no guarantee that this will kill Covid-19
- Bar soap
- Anti-bacterial hand soap
- Diapers and wipes
Things to Consider, Recommendations & Behaviors
- They are now saying that this pandemic will last until July or August 2020 until the next cold & flu season, the news and our local grocery stores are saying will re-stock, so there’s no need for panic.
- Think about having food that is high in nutrition over junk food for the sake of your health
- shop early in the day, if you can, before crowds when the items have been replenished overnight – in NJ, at this time, it is recommended that people stay in their homes from 8 pm-5 am unless it’s an emergency anyways, so the daytime is when you want to get things done.
- If you are elderly or in a high-risk health category, some grocery stores are having “Elderly Hours” in the hour before they open (we noticed that started a few days ago this week of 3/18/20 in NJ and surrounding states)
- If you can, a weekday morning is when the grocery store/pharmacy is the least crowded
- When you shop, take what you need and leave the rest for others that need it too – many stores have imposed number limits on certain items that people are stockpiling.
- Don’t forget to check for food recalls to keep you and your family safe – You can sign up for alerts here: fsis.usda.gov
- Remember, this is just an overall list and meant to be helpful, it can help you not to forget about certain items, you may already have many of these items and only need to fill in where needed or you can just focus on the essentials
- Please Note: I suggest wiping down groceries with Lysol disinfecting wipes because in light of new articles, the Covid-19 virus can survive on certain surfaces for up to 3 days! You do not know who handled the groceries and packages and if they were carriers of the virus or not.
Useful Appliances to Have During This Time
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- Pressure cooker/Instant Pot – this is great for meal prep and it’s so nice to not have to babysit your dinner while you tend to other things (I have this model: “Instant Pot Duo 60 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Saute, Yogurt Maker, and Warmer, 6-QT, Stainless Steel/Black” model number: IP-DUO60)
- Slow cooker/Crock-Pot – this is great for meal prep and it’s so nice to not have to babysit your dinner while you tend to other things (I have the “Crockpot SCV803-SS 8 quart Manual Slow Cooker with 16 oz Little Dipper Food Warmer, Stainless Steel”)
- Rice cooker – this is great for meal prep and it’s so nice to not have to babysit your dinner while you tend to other things; if you are cooking something in your Instant Pot or Slow cooker or with your oven, you can have your rice cooker going for steaming vegetables or making rice/grains to go with dinner (I have the “Aroma Housewares ARC-914SBD 2-8-Cups (Cooked) Digital Cool-Touch Rice Grain Cooker and Food Steamer, Stainless, 8 Cup, Silver”)
- Espresso/Coffee machines – You probably already have one of these but I will share mine, “Cuisinart DCC-3200P1 DCC-3200 Glass Carafe Handle Programmable Coffeemaker, 14 Cup Stainless Steel”
- Tea Kettle – it’s nice to keep the stove top clear if you are using it for something else
If you found this, “How to Stock an Emergency Food Supply” post helpful, let us know in the comments below, we would love to hear about what you stock up on and/or if you think we missed anything.
Thank you for reading and following along!
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