If a major disaster strikes, do you have enough food, water, and supplies to last at least two weeks? Do you have a whistle to call for help and a first aid kit? Do you know how to open your garage door if the power’s out, or what to do if a power line falls on your car? Hopefully you’ll never face a disaster, but if you do, being prepared could save your life. So stop procrastinating!
Why make an emergency worse by stockpiling gross food? Get rid of those powdered meals and canned vegetables and put together a healthy, organic stash of emergency food that you’ll actually want to eat.
Life won’t be normal during an emergency, but with a little planning, you can make set yourself up to eat well. Buy a variety of food, enough to last at least two weeks, and include food that’s portable and easy to eat. Salty foods (like potato chips) taste great, but they are really dehydrating, which is something to avoid when fresh water isn’t readily available. Beans are a good source of protein, but they can cause gas, diarrhea, and bloating. You don’t want to create a crisis of your own, especially if the plumbing isn’t working!
Here are some healthy emergency food suggestions:
FISH Canned Sardines
Before you turn your nose up and scream “NO WAY!” it’s important to know that these little buggers are loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, are packed with vitamins and minerals, are sustainably caught, and are probably the least contaminated fish in the sea. A single can provides 23 grams of protein. Some have even called sardines the healthiest food in the world.” Buy sardines packed in extra virgin olive oil (not canola or soybean oil) and if you feel queasy about eating them, buy the ones that are skinless and boneless. Cole’s, Vital Choice, Wild Planet and Angelo Parodi are all good options. If you really want the best, try Conservas de Cambados Tiny Sardines In Olive Oil, but try not to freak out when you see the price.
For canned Alaskan pink, sockeye, or red, wild-caught salmon, try Vital Choice, Wild Planet Wild Sockeye Salmon, or Deming’s Red Sockeye Salmon.
Avoid tuna. It’s high in mercury.
For organic canned chicken, try Wild Planet Organic Roasted Chicken Breast.
While it may not taste great cold, you can eat soups and chili right out of the can. Try Amy’s organic chili or soup.
NUT BUTTERS, NUTS, AND SEEDS
Organic almond butter (such as Windy City Organics or Vivapura Raw Organic Sprouted Almond Butter)
Organic peanut butter (such as Once Again or Santa Cruz organic peanut butter)
Unsalted organic nuts (because salt is dehydrating), such as walnuts, filbert/hazelnuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, and pine nuts.
Unsalted organic seeds, such as sunflower, pumpkin, and/or chia seeds
Eden Foods makes an assortment of high quality organic beans. Mix different varieties together and add herbs and/or spices to keep it interesting.
Protein bars aren’t the healthiest food you can put in your emergency stash because they tend to be loaded with sugar, but they are portable and easy to eat. Make sure the first ingredient is a healthy protein, such as peanut butter. Avoid bars that have too much brown rice, tapioca syrup, agave, coconut, or cane sugar. Here are two good options:
Core Walnut Banana + Whey
A good portable option if you can tolerate whey, which comes from cow’s milk. These bars are perishable and must be stored in the freezer, but will last up to a week once defrosted.
Kit’s Organic Fruit & Nut Peanut Butter Bar
It’s a delicious bar without being too sweet.
It’s always best to get protein from food, but in a pinch you can mix protein powder with water. Here are a few healthy options:
Sunwarrior Warrior Blend Plant-Based Organic Protein
Nutiva Hemp Protein Organic
Garden of Life Raw Protein & Greens Organic
Garden of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Protein
It could be hard to find fresh fruit during an emergency, unless you’re growing it on your property. A substitution is baby food. That’s right, baby food isn’t just for babies. Baby food is an easy, portable way to get your daily supply of fruit during an emergency.Try Earth’s Best Organic Baby Food, which is organic, vegan, unsweetened, and contains no artificial flavors or colors. You can buy variety packs, which include an assortment of fruit combinations.
Other ways to get fruit in an emergency:
Organic canned fruit juice
Organic applesauce (essentially the same thing as baby food)
Organic dried fruit, such as apricots, pineapple, banana, or raisins.
Organic canned fruit packed in its own juice, not syrup (such as,Native Forest 100% Organic Pineapple in organic pineapple juice)
Organic frozen fruit (even if the power goes out, it will last a few days)
Earth’s Best Organic baby food, such as:
Zucchini Broccoli Medley (contains wheat)
Corn & Butternut Squash
Pickles (most pickles are high in sodium, so choose the low sodium option).
Kimchi or sauerkraut (also a natural source of probiotics)
Organic artichoke hearts
Organic olives (technically a fruit)
Stock up on single-serving organic almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, or powdered milk. Avoid carrageenan, which is used as a thickening or binding agent, because it can cause stomach inflammation.
Organic flax or seed crackers (watch the sodium)
Organic cereal (watch the sugar)
Organic veggie, beet, kale, or potato chips (unsalted or lightly salted)
BoomChickaPop organic popcorn (unsalted or lightly salted)
Organic fiber supplement
A few treats (add something that will make you happy: a little dark chocolate never hurt anyone in an emergency)
DON’T FORGET TO REFRESH
Check food labels and replace or rotate with food from your kitchen periodically. One way to remember is to refresh your food supply every year on Daylight Saving Time.
KEEP ADDING FOOD
When you’re at the farmers market, co-op, or health food store, keep your eyes peeled for foods that will store well and continue adding to your stockpile.
You’ll need 1 gallon of water per person, per day of water. If you’re storing enough for 2 weeks, that’s 14 gallons per person. If you have pets, don’t forget about them. They’ll need water, too. Also remember that water’s not just for drinking. You’ll also need it to wash your face, teeth, body, and dishes, so make sure you have enough for your needs.
WARNING: DON’T DRINK FROM THE TAP
A cracked water pipe could allow contaminates (which you won’t be able to see) into your tap water. It’s important not to drink tap water during an emergency unless it’s been properly filtered. So consider buying a compact purification tube. They can remove 99.99% of bacteria from your water. You can buy them for as little as $20.00. LifeStraw makes a good one.
If you don’t have a way to purify your water, you can use regular unscented chlorine bleach. These instructions from the CDC explain how.
EMERGENCY SUPPLIES CHECK LIST
Have an empty cooler available to store food from your fridge and freezer if the power goes out. Eat your perishable food first.
Tubs are a great way to store your emergency essentials because they keep everything in one place and are easily accessible. Buy tubs in bright colors like orange (here’s one option), and label them on all sides with strong tape.
If you live in an area prone to flooding, store your food tub on a high, but accessible shelf. You may want to line the inside of the tub with a large plastic bag and tie it off securely before you close and duct tape the lid. Keep food tubs away from rodents, bugs, and pests.
TUB 1 – FOOD
If you need to store a lot of food, buy a garbage can instead of a tub. Make sure it has wheels so you can move it quickly and easily. Be sure to bubble wrap food packaged in glass bottles and jars and label them. In addition to food, include:
Salt, pepper, and spices
A manual can opener
Forks, spoons, and knives
A cutting board
Empty storage bowls with lids
Extra virgin olive oil
TUB 2 – EMPTY
After an emergency hits, take an inventory of your pantry and put all clean and edible food in an empty tub or garbage can with wheels.
TUB 3 – EMERGENCY SUPPLIES
A first aid kit, such as Red Cross First Aid Kit
An extra pair of eyeglasses, contacts, and/or reading glasses
A magnifying glass
A whistle to call for help
Disposable dust mask/surgical mask
Essential medication, including painkillers
Gloves (you may have to pick up shards of glass)
Extra batteries in every size
A portable cellphone charger
A solar powered radio
A solar powered cell phone charger
A battery operated fan
A battery operated radio
Battery operated candles
A rain poncho & umbrella
A hard hat
A pair of scissors
Extra set of car/house keys
Matches (in a waterproof container)
Paper and pencil/pen
Trash bags (line your toilet with them if there’s no plumbing)
$100 in small bills
Maxi pads (they can be used to absorb blood anywhere on the body)
Tampons (they can also be used for a bloody nose)
Soap, baby wipes, and/or hand sanitizers
Local maps in case you need to find authorities or shelters
Include copies of your important documents, such as IDs, proof of address, utility bills, insurance policies, deed/lease, and important phone numbers, including the numbers of loved ones, city services, and insurance companies. Be sure to put them in a waterproof bag.
TUB 4 – BABY/CHILDREN
Headphones (blocks out loud sounds)
A disposable dust mask (protects against dust, smoke, and harmful fumes)
A portable baby crib
TUB 5 – PET SUPPLIES
Store enough pet food and water for at least two weeks, and include:
A pet blanket
Medication (including flea, pain, and anti-anxiety medication)
An extra collar with ID tag
A leash (include one for your cat, too)
Lids or caps for your pet food
A pet dish
A pet first aid kit
Have an easily accessible carrying case for your dog and/or cat stored near your pet emergency tub. If your house isn’t habitable, you’ll want a portable place to keep your pet(s) safe. There could be glass on the ground, downed power lines, and other animals around. It’s not safe for pets to roam outside during an emergency.
You never know when a catastrophe might strike, so have emergency supplies in your car. If you can’t get to your trunk from inside your car, put the tub in your back seat, and include:
An AAA emergency road kit
A first aide kit
Money ($20 – $100 in small bills for food, water, supplies, or for a ride)
Prescription glasses or contacts (and contact lens solution)
A disposable dust mask/surgical mask
A battery operated radio
A phone charger
A flare or light stick
A hard hat
WARNING: if a downed power line is touching your car, stay in your vehicle unless it’s on fire. Call 911 and wait for help. Keep your hands in your lap and do not touch the frame of your car. Watch this video to learn how to exit your car safely in case of a fire.
DO YOU KNOW HOW TO OPEN YOUR GARAGE DOOR WITHOUT POWER?
If you’re planning to store emergency tubs in your garage, this video will teach you how to open your garage door if the power isn’t working. Keep a wedge and a wire hanger in your house so you can unhook the emergency latch in your garage.
FLASHLIGHT/BATTERY OPERATED CANDLES
Candles can be dangerous in an earthquake prone area. Battered operated candles (this is a good one) can be a great option if you don’t have power at night. Many come with timers that automatically go on and turn off after five hours.
It’s important to have an ABC fire extinguisher in your kitchen and garage.
UNDER THE BED
Keep a small tub under your bed that includes:
A first aid kit
A whistle to call for help
A durable pair shoes or boots
Gloves you can use to move broken glass
Prescription glasses or contact solution
A dust mask
A hard hat
A small bottle of water
If you live in a two or three-story home or apartment, you may want to have a portable fire escape ladder. The city of Seattle has put together some information about how to choose a good one.
A tent & sleeping bag in case you need to sleep outside
A safety vest
A solar generator for power
Outdoor grill & all necessary equipment
A battery operated fan or heating unit
HAVE A PLAN
If you’re separated from your family, do you know where to meet them in an emergency? Set a place, tell everyone, and remind each other once a year.
It may be difficult to contact someone in your city during an emergency. Plan to call a friend or family member out of state. If your loved ones aren’t together, this person can let each of you know that the other is safe. Need help making a plan? Visit Ready.gov and read “Make A Plan”
TAKE A CLASS
If you want to know more about how to protect yourself and the ones you love during an emergency, take a class. Many fire departments offer free emergency preparedness and first aid classes.
Time Magazine – “Prepare for the Apocalypse With These 10 ‘Prepper’ Gadgets”
Outdoor Gear Lab – “The 6 Best First Aid Kits”
Adventure Medical Kits Sportsman Series
Emergency preparedness kits on Pinterest
SOS Survival Products
New York Times – “How to Pack an Emergency Kit for Any Disaster”
FEMA – “Emergency Supply List”
Environmental Defense Fund – “Mercury alert: Is canned tuna safe to eat?
CDC— Emergency Preparedness
Ready.gov —“Build a Kit”
Dr. Axe – “Sardines Nutrition, Benefits & Recipe Ideas”