Healthy Non-Perishable Foods to Stock
A pantry full of non-perishable foods is a great back-up plan for when you can’t get to the store or don’t have power. The CDC recommends storing at least a few day’s worth of emergency supply food in case of a natural disaster. It’s worth putting some thought into what kinds of foods you have stocked up in case utilities are disrupted or roads are closed. You’ll want to have foods that are nutritious and energizing to keep you feeling well and thinking clearly.
Though many non-perishable foods are packed full of salt, sugar and preservatives to extend their shelf life, there are some healthier options out there that you can feel good about eating, including options for vegans. Here are some healthy non-perishable food options to keep in your pantry or emergency kit.
Dried Fruit & Nuts
A traditional favorite of hikers and campers, dried fruit and nuts, or “trail mix,” are a great source of energy, nutrient-dense, and very filling. Nuts are full of protein, healthy fats, and minerals, and dried fruit is packed with vitamins and antioxidants, as well as carbs and a natural sugar boost. As a bonus, dried fruit is also a good source of fiber, which will keep your digestive process running smoothly.
Canned Seafood & Crackers
Canned tuna or salmon is not only a good source of protein, it’s full of essential omega-3 fatty acids. Mix it up with a little mayo or mustard, and some caper berries if you want to get fancy, and spread it on crackers for a tasty and filling snack. Crackers have a longer shelf life than bread, and there are plenty of gluten free options available if that’s your preference. Choose whole grain crackers to get more nutritional value, complex carbs, and fiber.
Southwestern Black Beans & Rice
Rice and beans are a classic combo that will fill you up with protein and carbs. Black beans are also a great source of fiber and folate. You can make this meal more interesting and sneak in some vegetables by mixing up the beans with southwestern flavors from salsa, canned corn, canned tomatoes, and canned peppers. Eat it with brown rice for extra nutrients and fiber, or as a chip dip with tortilla chips.
Whole Grain Cereal & Boxed Milk
Oatmeal and granola are both excellent options for a healthy breakfast. Whole oats are rich in antioxidants, fiber, and complex carbs that provide long-lasting energy, and can easily be flavored with honey, spices, or nut butters. Granola combines oats with nuts, seeds, or dried fruit for even more nutritional variety. Add some shelf stable milk and you’ve got an easy meal. Boxed dairy milk or soy milk will provide extra protein, but there are plenty of other shelf stable milk options, too, like almond milk or oat milk. If you’re stocking up on a plant-based milk, look for one that’s fortified with calcium.
Canned Soups and Quinoa
Canned soups are long-lasting and are one of the best ways to get some veggie variety in your non-perishable food. Many canned soups have excessive amounts of salt, so look for soups that are low in sodium. Try to get a good mix of veggies and beans or meat in your soup. You can also make the soup heartier and more nutritious by adding quinoa, an ancient grain that’s a complete protein and full of iron, magnesium, and fiber.
Roasted Veggie & Bean Snacks
People are getting more creative about eating their veggies these days, and that means there are a variety of tasty veggie snacks to choose from. Roasted kale chips or seaweed snacks are packed with nutrients and fiber and easy to store in the pantry. Dried chickpea or edamame snacks are an excellent source of plant-based protein and come in a wide range of tempting flavors. It’s always a good idea to have some quick, healthy snacks on hand, and these are as nutrient-rich as they are flavorful.
You should definitely have plain, purified water in your emergency kit -- the CDC recommends a gallon a day per person -- but coconut water is a great additional option. It’s naturally sweet, low in calories, and full of hydrating electrolytes, including potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, and phosphorus. It also has a conveniently long shelf life, so you won’t have to replace it very often.
Raw Greens Powder
It’s not that easy to eat your greens when you’re relying on non-perishable foods, and your body will be craving those raw nutrients and antioxidants. Our Raw Greens Whole Food Powder drink mix is an easy way to get your daily greens when you don’t have access to fresh fruits and veggies. It’s packed with 36 organic fruits and veggies, including supergreens like spirulina, wheatgrass, chlorella and alfalfa, for a deeply alkalizing and energizing boost. It even includes adaptogenic herbal extracts like ashwagandha, ginseng, maca, and reishi to support your stress response and immunity. To top it off, it’s got natural fiber, probiotics, and enzymes to take care of your digestive health, which is always helpful when you’re eating a lot of dried foods. Just stir a little into your water and you’re good to go.
Things to Remember
In order to heat soups or cook grains during an emergency, you’ll need a simple camping stove. You can pick one up for $50 or less. Make sure it has the necessary fuel and, of course, a lighter. You’ll also want to make sure you have a can opener, dishes, and eating utensils, as well as a simple cleaning brush for your dishes, and maybe some hand wipes. Just imagine you’re going camping and think about what you would need to bring.
Remember, even non-perishable foods don’t last forever, they just have a longer shelf life. Once you put together your emergency food supply, you’ll still have to refresh it every now and then. Check the expiration dates for all your non-perishable food and drinks, and make a note of when they need to be used by. Enjoy them before they expire, and swap them out with new ones to keep your kit fresh.
Even if you never get caught in an emergency, you’ll be glad to have some healthy non-perishable foods on hand. Super practical, tasty, and nourishing, they are ready to eat in a pinch whenever your family needs them. That’s something every kitchen can use.