How To Easily Build a 3-Week Emergency Food Supply

March 13, 2023

In this blog, we’re going to show you how to quickly and easily build a 3-week emergency food inventory of items that are easy to cook, require minimal cleanup, and will provide you with vital calories.  

The average person in the US can survive on around 2200 calories per day.  We’ll release a blog shortly showing how to easily prepare these meals along with the calorie count for each meal.  Also, be sure to store and rotate these using FIFO: first in, first out.  Put new items in the back and rotate old items to the front.  Be sure to store all of these items in a dark, cool place to prolong them.  Avoid storing these in your garage if it gets hot or has rodents.  We’ll post links to 2 blogs below which explain water storage and methods to cook if the grid goes down.  So let’s jump in.



Pasta SauceAt about 600 calories per dry pound, you can easily set aside thousands of calories for pretty cheap.  Dry pasta can last for quite a long time, although the quality may suffer the longer it is stored.  Additionally, be sure to pick up pasta sauce.  Combine these 2 together and you’ve got a quick and easy meal.  If you want a little variety to swap out the spaghetti sauce with, you can also use butter if you still have refrigeration or butter powder you can store in your pantry along with parmesan, herbs, and garlic.


Beans 1Beans are essential calorie and protein sources after a disaster.  You can either get canned beans, such as black beans, or dried pinto beans which can store for many years.  If you can’t eat pinto beans for whatever reason, try legumes, pickled lupini beans, garbanzos, or dried peas.  You can easily store away 12,000 calories of these for a low price.


RiceA large portion of the world eats rice.  Combined with beans, you’ve got a solid meal that will fill you up.  At the time of recording this video, rice is still relatively affordable at about $10 for more than 10 pounds providing you with several thousand calories.  Be sure to choose white rice as it can store for years.  Avoid brown rice as it has oils that can go rancid.


Canned FoodIf you just pick up one can of food per visit to the store and set it aside, you’ll have the calories and nutrients you need after a disaster.  Canned food can have a shelf-life, but it is often several years from the point you buy it.  Even after that date, it’s still probably good if stored under the right conditions.

Canned soup: a can of soup over plain rice is a meal.  A can of vegetables in your cooking provides you with vital nutrients and will fill you up.  There aren’t a ton of calories in a can of green beans, peas, or corn, but it will give you vital nutrients, fill you up, and hydrate you. For protein, let’s get canned tuna, chicken, or other meats that you’re used to eating.  Since these canned items are designed for long shelf life, this is where you can easily pack copious amounts of calories into your food inventory with each single can purchased at the grocery store.  Canned fruit can provide a simple dessert and a quick boost of carbohydrates.  Plus they’re easy to rotate and replace. Of course, don’t forget the manual can opener.  Realize, too, that canned food is pre-cooked to make it shelf-stable.  That means you don’t need to heat it up after a disaster. With a caloric range between 180-500 calories per can, four cases of mixed cans would be 96 cans, take up very little space, and provide you with between 17,000 and 48,000 calories.


Powdered DrinksSports drink powders, powdered milk, and protein powders can be stored for years.  These can be simply mixed with water and can give you valuable nutrition in a pinch.  In addition to protein powders, there are powdered drinks that contain complete nutrition such as Huel.  While on the discussion of powdered milk, self-stable options like almond milk can be stored and rotated into your diet.  Also, there are nutrition shakes such as Ensure that are easily stored.


Energy BarsProtein and energy bars can also be great to have in your inventory to provide you with quick calories, act as a meal supplement, and require no cooking.  



Peanut ButtersPeanut butter is a source of fat and sugar that the body really needs, plus it’s a popular survival food.  Peanut butter will go rancid from the fatty oil and change appearance and smell when it goes bad, so always check the smell if it’s past its expiration date.  A 5-pound jar will have over 10,000 calories, so it packs a big caloric punch.  It’s worth bringing up just plain nuts for high calories.  While on the discussion of high caloric content, let’s specifically discuss fats.


FatsMost of the options we’ve covered fall into carbs or protein.  The third crucial macronutrient is fat.  While oils don’t have an incredible shelf life, most under two years, they’re essential to healthy physiology.  We have used olive oil stored unopened in a cool location years after we initially purchased it.  We have hemp hearts which we throw in protein shakes.  Additionally, consider having cooking spray to use for cooking.


PancakesPancake mix is one of those items that offer an easy meal to make, just tossing in water, and has minimal cleanup.  We personally like them for breakfast on occasion.





Cereals and OatmealsA few other breakfast options that are easy to make and require practically no cleanup.  Cereal is about as easy as they come: just add milk.  Oatmeal only requires heating up water and is a great warming meal in a cold environment.  A little sweetener helps the oatmeal which brings us to our next set of items.


Honey Jam SyrupSeveral of the items we mentioned, such as oatmeal and pancakes definitely will taste better these options.  Coffee and tea which we’ll cover momentarily go down easier with honey.  If you’re going to be active, having calories will be very beneficial.  Plus, they’re a morale booster.  




Bouillon Salt and SpicesAfter a disaster, you might not think of how to season your food, so you should think of it now.  You aren’t going to get many calories from bouillon cubes or spices, but they are shelf-stable for many years and can make bland food more appealing.  Also, a hot cup of broth after a winter freeze can be a lifesaver.  Salt and spices are often overlooked as bland food would get old quickly.  We have to bring up sriracha here as well: it’s shelf stable and can make bland foods enjoyable.  Use what works best for you.


Coffee and TeaMaybe we should have started off with coffee as the top priority because we’re not sure we could go long without it.  With many people using Keurig machines these days, unless you have a backup generator or source of power, you might want to consider having ground coffee and a french press.  Tea is another great stimulant to have on hand.




Hard CandiesIf you have kids, it’s a welcome treat when the stress of a disaster overwhelms them.  For adults, it’s critical sugars and empty calories, but calories nonetheless.  Stash a jar of hard candies in the back of your pantry.  You’ll enjoy the comfort of them after any disaster.


PickleThese can provide you with essential salts your body will need to retain fluid levels and muscle functions, especially if you’re working in a hot environment and sweating a lot.









Package MealsAlong with the items that you can pick up at your local store and keep with refrigeration, it’s worth pointing out the other options on the market that would be useful if you want meals that are easy to prepare with often nothing more than boiling water.  Such items are freeze-dried food and MRE’s which have all the elements already inside the pouch to heat up your food.  Additionally, you’ll find items on the market that you can store for lengthy periods of time such as these food buckets.  These obviously have a high price tag associated with them, but they’re a great option if you want food that you can easily transport or prepare with little to no effort.


Cooking and WaterAs mentioned at the beginning of the blog, please check out our blog on water storage and methods to cook after a disaster.  Combined with the information we outlined in this video, your family will be fine if you have to survive for several weeks after a disaster.  For those that want to move beyond just 3 weeks of food storage, we would recommend you move to 3 months next as your goal.  We have a blog we’ll link to which covers building a 1-year food storage.  Everything we outline in that video can be applied to 3 months of food storage.  If you have any questions or feedback, please post that in the comment section below.  All the items we covered will be listed in the description and comment section as well. 

As always, stay safe out there.

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