The recent emergencies in Japan devastated communities, forced many residents to flee and many others to shelter in place. Closer to home, the National Weather Service forecasts that almost half of the United States is at risk for spring flooding. These crises are stark reminders of the importance of being prepared and having an emergency food stockpile at the ready. But are some foods better to pack in your emergency kit than others?
When stocking a food supply kit for an emergency, it is easy to end up over-packing and adding just about everything but the kitchen sink. So think carefully when loading up your kit. Ask, are these foods I will eat? Will they expire soon? Am I accounting for any food allergies? Have I packed for my pets?
It’s best to choose low-sodium foods when preparing your kit. Foods high in sodium will make you thirstier and you will end up drinking more of your water supply. If you love pretzels, opt for those with no salt. They might not be as tasty, but it will save water in the long run. Many foods today offer a low-sodium version so take note of the packaging when choosing products.
Here are some foods that are low in sodium or come in a low-sodium option:
• Pudding cups
• Canned vegetables and fruits
• Crackers and pretzels
• Peanut butter
• Hard candy
• Granola bars
• Trail mix
FEMA has a disaster supplies checklist that you can print out and use when preparing your stockpile. APHA’s Get Ready campaign also offers a grocery shopping list along with some handy recipes.
When preparing for the unexpected, be sure you have a supply of food at the ready. And remember to plan for family members with special diets or allergies such as infants, ill or elderly loved ones, and pets. Stick to low-sodium options when possible. And before you close up your kit, don’t forget to throw in a manual can opener and utensils. When you’re hungry and in the dark, you’ll be glad you did.