With viruses dominating the news, you may wonder what healthy food to stockpile for emergencies or an influenza outbreak. It’s important to prepare for you and your family.
This checklist is based on information and resources advised by the CDC in case of an outbreak or flu pandemic.
And is modified from a resource list from PandemicFlu.gov.
Here is what dieticians and the CDC are recommending for those of you stocking up in case of emergency.
To Plan for a Pandemic
- Store a supply of water and food.
- Have nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including stomach remedies, cough, and cold medicine, fluids with electrolytes, etc.
To Limit the Spread of Germs and Prevent Infection:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water and use hand sanitizers as needed.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with tissues and wash hands afterward.
- Stay home when you’re sick and as much as possible, stay away from others who are sick.
Healthy Food to Stockpile for Pandemic Flu Extended Home Stay
- Stock up on canned foods that contain liquid
- Dry goods like rice, pasta, grains, beans, and oats
- Frozen peas, carrots, spinach, berries, and the like
- Ready to eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables, and soups
- Protein or fruit bars
- Dry cereal or granola
- Peanut butter or nut butters
- Dried fruit
- Crackers and packaged snacks
- Packaged Juices
- Bottled water
- Coffee and Tea
- Favorite, ready to eat sweet treats (just a few)
- Canned or jarred baby food and formula as needed
- Pet food
Notes on Food Storage
Alyssa Pike, registered dietitian and manager of nutrition communications at the International Food Information Council suggests,
“Dry goods like rice, pasta, beans, oats, and the like, should be your foundation, according to Pike. They have long shelf lives, are easy to store, and can be incorporated into a variety of nutritious meals. Be sure to store them properly — keeping your grains in an airtight container in a cool, dry place to maintain the quality (and taste).Business Insider
“Canned goods have a very long shelf life, are inexpensive, and easy to obtain. However, they can also be bulky and take up space, so prioritize foods that come with a high amount of liquids, to help maximize your liquid intake too.”
13 Foods with Long Shelf Lives
Business Insider notes that if properly stored, these 13 foods will last from one year to… forever.
- Honey (can be consumed past its expiration date)
- Uncooked rice in an air-tight container – 30 years
- Peanut butter – 3 to 5 years
- Dried beans – indefinitely
- Energy bars – indefinitely if stored properly
- Hard candies and dark chocolate – 1 year
- Store-bought dehydrated meat – 1 year
- Bouillon cubes – 1 year
- High acid canned foods (tomatoes, fruit) – 12 to 18 months
- Low acid canned foods (meats, vegetables) – 2 to 5 years
- Powdered milk – 18 months to 25 years
- Instant coffee – 2 to 20 years
- Pure vanilla – forever
Medical and Health Items to Have on Hand for Extended Home Stay
- Prescribed medical supplies
- Soap, hand sanitizer, alcohol
- Medicines for fever, like ibuprofen
- Anti-diarrheal medication
- Fluids with electrolytes
- Garbage bags
- Tissues, toil paper, disposable plates and utensils
Food to Stockpile: Recipes
Focus on uncomplicated recipes with simple ingredients.
Homemade soups are a great choice and can be made with canned goods like beans, tomatoes and canned or frozen vegetables.
For breakfast ideas, oats contain healthy fiber and a great base for frozen berries. likely to be lower in saturated fat, sodium and processed ingredients than store-bought, and can be made with canned goods like beans, tomatoes, and veggies, with frozen root vegetables.
“For snacks, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and shelf-stable meat like beef jerky can provide an efficient source of energy and other nutrients, and can be stored for long periods of time. They can also provide some much-needed variety to your diet, incorporating macronutrients like fat and protein that you may not get if your pantry is full of rice, rice, and more rice.”Business Insider