Food Supplies

Storage Considerations

To judge how long you can store food supplies, look for an "expiration date" or "best if used by" date on the product. If you can not find a date on the product, then the general recommendation is to store food products for 6 months and then replace them.

Some households find it helpful to pull food products for their regular meals from their disaster supplies kit and replace them immediately on an ongoing basis, so the food supplies are always fresh.


Try to avoid foods that are high in fat and protein, and don't stock salty foods, since they will make you thirsty. Familiar foods can lift morale and give a feeling of security in time of stress. Also, canned foods won't require cooking, water or special preparation. Take into account your family's unique needs and tastes. Try to include foods that they will enjoy and that are also high in calories and nutrition.

Store supplies of non-perishable foods and water in a handy place. You need to have these items packed and ready in case there is no time to gather food from the kitchen when disaster strikes. Sufficient supplies to last several days to a week are recommended.

Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water. Foods that are compact and lightweight are easy to store and carry.

Try to eat salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals and canned food with high liquid content.

Recommended Foods

  • Canned juices, milk and soup (if powdered, store extra water)
  • Comfort foods, such as hard candy, sweetened cereals, candy bars and cookies
  • Compressed food bars store well, are lightweight, taste good and are nutritious
  • Dried foods can be nutritious and satisfying, but have some have a lot of salt content, which promotes thirst - read the label
  • Foods for infants, elderly persons or persons on special diets, if necessary
  • Freeze-dried foods are tasty and lightweight, but will need water for reconstitution
  • High energy foods, such as peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars and trail mix
  • Instant coffee, tea bags
  • Instant Meals like cups of noodles or cups of soup are a good addition, although they need water for reconstitution
  • Prepackaged beverages in foil packets and foil-lined boxes are suitable because they are tightly sealed and will keep for a long time
  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables (be sure to include a manual can opener)
  • Snack-sized canned goods, because they generally have pull-top lids or twist-open keys
  • Trail mix is available as a prepackaged product or you can assemble it on your own

Food Options to Avoid

  • Bottled foods are generally too heavy and bulky, and break easily
  • Commercially dehydrated foods can require a great deal of water for reconstitution and extra effort in preparation
  • Meal-sized canned foods are usually bulky and heavy
  • Whole grains, beans, pasta have more difficult preparation that could be complicated under the circumstances of a disaster