When gathering food for an emergency kit, we often think about items that do not require cooking or refrigeration and have a long storage life. Yet, we often forget to check the nutritional value of the food in our emergency kits. March is National Nutrition Month and a great time to review the food in your emergency kit and makes sure it is healthy and not expired. Here are a few healthy tips to keep in mind when gathering food for your emergency kit and reviewing the food you have already stored.
1. Avoid salty snacks.
Salty snacks make you thirsty and increase your need to drink water. When you have a limited supply of food and water, you don’t want foods that will make you want to drink more water than you need or planned for.
2. Include protein.
While you may not be able to rely on your normal sources of protein like meat, after an emergency, you should still include some good sources of protein in your emergency kit. Nuts, protein bars and peanut butter can be sustaining foods that can help keep you full and are easy to store in your emergency kit.
3. Look for high-energy foods.
Food with protein, carbohydrates, and good fats can help keep your energy up, which can be very important during or after a disaster. Choose foods like nuts, dried meat, whole grains (crackers, cereal, etc.) and canned beans, fruits, or vegetables.
4. Don’t forget water.
Water is a crucial part of any emergency kit. Store at least 1 gallon of water per day for each person and each pet. If possible, try to store a 2-week supply of water or at least a 3-day supply of water for each person in your family. Unopened, commercially bottled water is the safest and most reliable emergency water supply.
5. Make sure your emergency kit food is healthy and safe
In addition to choosing the right foods for your emergency kit, you should also regularly review the content of your kit to make sure none of your food has expired or become dented or damaged. Keep the food in your emergency kit in a dry, cool spot, out of the sun to help ensure that the food does not become damaged or unusable.
6. Stick with what you know.
The most important part choosing food for your emergency kit is making sure you know how to prepare and will want to eat the food you store. Stick with foods you know your family will eat. Also, do not forget about food allergies or dietary needs of your loved ones. Consider how you will meet everyone’s unique nutritional needs if you can only access your emergency kit food supply.
For more information about choosing and storing food for your emergency kit, visit CDC’s webpage http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/foodwater/index.asp.