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Which Is The Best Emergency Food?

Stockpiling food is one of the top things on any prepper’s journey.  You may have noticed there are all kinds of different emergency food supplies on the market.  But you might be wondering which is the best emergency food for your situation and what you preparing for.

Today we are going to look at a variety of different emergency food products broken into different categories and talk in-depth about them and how they can prove useful to you and your loved ones.

Best Emergency Food

Below you will find a variety of different emergency foods for survival situations.  Take a look at them all and determine which one will be best for you and your family.  You don’t have to pick just one. Keep in mind the situation that you are preparing for, and this will help you with your decision.

Canned Food – Good When Craving “Comfort” Food

Canned food is one of the oldest types of food prep in the book.  I remember my grandmother used to have a ton of canned food stored in her pantry.  And I bet if I asked you, you might be able to say the thing about your grandparents as well.

According to an article under the health section on Fox News, canned food typically has a shelf life of 1-4 years, but if you store them in really cool, dry, and dark places they may last up to six years. 

One of the other things that I always look at when storing food, is, “what flavors will I be craving in a long-term food crisis?”  I typically stock up on canned food that will help get me through any sort of cravings that I might have. 

I know this train of thought might seem a little strange, but when it comes to food, it’s the worst discomfort to feel being out of the foods you love!

Canning- The Perfect Food For Everything

Image by Alina Kuptsova from Pixabay

Canning food is completely different and much more labor-intensive.  Canning was invented in 1809 by a man in France named Nicolas Appart.  The “father of canning” essentially wanted to have the ability to preserve all foods possible so he invented an ingenious way to preserve foods for long periods of time through the process of canning.

Canning is a wonderful survival technique popular among homesteaders and preppers alike because of the benefits such as long shelf-life and preservation of nutrients in the vegetables, for example.

If you’d like to start canning, you can go to and there’s a great little blog post about how you can get started!

Freeze-Dried Foods- Greatest Food For Long Term Survival

Freeze-dried foods are a mainstay in the prepping community and prove useful because they are easy to store and have an extremely long shelf life if stored properly.  These prepping basics are geared toward longer-term survival situations. 

Just in case you’ve never come across the emergency freeze-dried food buckets, these can be bought in buckets that can sustain you and your family for as little as 72 hours or as long as several years.  It just depends on how many buckets you want to buy.

These are complete meals where you simply need to add water and voila! – you have a nice, delicious meal. 

Keep in mind that the nutritional contents of these types of meals may seem good, but eating this type of food can wreak havoc on your digestive system after a while.  Make sure you are storing some other types of foods, even survival seeds so that you can have some fresh vegetables if needed down the road.

25-year Emergency Food Supply

As you start doing your research about this type of survival meals, all of them potentially have a shelf-life of 25 years.  You need to be careful with this label and be sure you keep your emergency food supply kits out of direct sunlight and in a cool, dry place or else it can be much shorter.

When shopping for emergency food kits you will find a lot of variances between calorie counts and serving sizes, which might be cause for you to bust out your calculator to figure out how much of this emergency food you will need for you and your family.

So let’s take a look at an example below of the variables when buying these emergency food kits:

If we look at the Wise Company 60-serving Food Kit, (under the 2 Week Survival Kit reviews in the article titled Best Survival Food Kits – Be Prepared For Anything)  it comes with 60 individually packaged meals that you just add water into.  The total kit size contains 13,400 calories.

The meal-kit includes flavors such as Cheesy Lasagna, Creamy Pasta, Chili Mac, Hearty Tortilla Soup, Tomato Basil Soup, and many other delicious flavors. As you can tell, these flavors are meant for you to eat at lunch and at dinner.  There are also breakfast options available with these freeze-dried products. 

The variability comes in when trying to determine how long the 60 servings is going to last you.  Are you a man? Are you a woman? Are you doing a lot of physical activity? Is it just you or do you need to feed a family as well?  All of these factors will come into play when determining how many buckets you will need for this particular food supply. 

Depending on what flavors you eat, most packages will contain 4 total servings and each serving is 250 calories.  Therefore, if you eat two meals per day you be getting 2000 calories per day. Is that enough for you? Will you be able to live on that?

Always keep in mind that living in a grid-down scenario, for example, is much different than living the privileged lives we have now with electricity and running water. 

You might not have even thought of the fact that you will have to learn how to purify water to add to your freeze-dried food packs. It will be much more labor-intensive and therefore require many more calories to sustain our bodies during this period. 

Best Freeze Dried Emergency Food

With so many choices on the market, all of which you can get on Amazon, it becomes hard to determine which one is the best kit, for the best price for you and your family. Because there are so many manufacturers of freeze-dried foods, I wanted to point out one of the ones that I consider to be the best.

Here are some of the factors that I looked at when determining who what the best freeze-dried emergency food was:

  • History of the Manufacturer – Understand the history of the manufacturer and how long they’ve been in business.  
  • Customer reviews on Amazon – many of the customer reviews will tell you a lot about the flavor of the meals.  This seems to be one of the most important factors.
  • Customer Service – The company you buy your emergency food from should be able to have a money-back guarantee or at least allow you to replace a food bucket that comes to you cracked, for example.  
  • Quality of the product – Of course, taste and texture are going to be the largest determinate of whether or not you like a product or not.  You will instantly be able to tell the product’s quality on the first bite.  

Emergency Ration Bars – Good For Bug Out Bags

Survival Food

Emergency ration bars are different than anything you’ll find.  These are primarily used in extreme survival situations when you have nothing else to eat.  They are also meant to be used for 24 to 72 hours.

Many of these ration bars come in 2400 calorie bars and 3600 calorie bars.  You can read a more in-depth article on emergency ration bars and find out which one you would like for your situation.

The fantastic thing about these bars is they have a shelf-life of 5 years, they all taste pretty good and could get you through 72 hours without proper food, and are easily made to be put in an emergency kit or bug out bag.

Energy Bars – Short Energy Bursts

Energy bars are for short bursts of energy. Many athletes use these either before their events or for a healthier snack that packs in extra grams of protein.

These consist of Cliff Bars, Lara Bars, Power Bars, etc.  You can find these at any grocery store and there are so many flavors on the market it will ultimately depend on what you like to eat. 

These energy bars can also be homemade and you can find many recipes on places such as Pinterest.  These types of bars are another great item for day hiking, bug out bags or anything short term. 

At the same time, it’s good to have a mixture of different survival foods so that you don’t get tired of eating one particular type of food.

Meals Ready To Eat (MREs)

In all of your research, you may have come across something called MREs or “meals ready to eat.”  These are pre-packed meals that the military is issued when out on deployment. 

The most popular brand on Amazon for MREs is Western Frontier.   MREs are great food items for a bug out vehicle or bag and are made to have everything inside the bag including main dish, side dish, dessert, drink mix and sometimes a small piece of candy.

There are a few things you want to keep in mind when looking at MREs:

  • Make sure a pack date is listed on every box.
  • Not all MREs are entire meals.  Some come with just entrees and crackers.  Others come with drink mix, candy, entrees, etc.  
  • MREs do not have a “shelf-life” Instead, they have a pack date and an inspection date.
  • The inspection date is three years after the pack date.
  • Make sure to inspect the Time-Temperature Indicator (TTI) at the top of every box.
  • MREs should be eaten within 3-5 years in order to stay fresh.  After that, they just won’t taste as good.
  • MREs are not designed to be a long term food source.  Use them as a supplement to other fresh foods.

Final Thoughts

After looking at all of these different types of emergency foods, I would suggest that you have a little bit of everything so that you will always be prepared for whatever situation comes your way.  As you can see, each one of the emergency foods is quite a bit different in terms of their use and length of sustainability.

About the Author: Lisa grew up on a small cattle ranch in Madera, California, which is nestled right in the heart of the largest agriculture cornucopia in the world. She runs a survival blog where she writes about her interest and helps people understand what’s necessary to prepare for emergencies. Only 2 hours from Yosemite National Park, Lisa grew up camping, fishing, hunting, and hiking. When not writing about her outdoor survival passions, you can find her working out at her CrossFit gym, walking her two dogs, camping, fishing, or hiking somewhere in the mountains. 

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