Here are some emergency food kits every one can use in a disaster.

Emergency Food Kits-Which Ones Do You Need

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I’m going to show you some emergency food kits, you decide which kits you need based on the makeup of your family, or those neighbors who may be looking to you for help. Plus, I would love it if you have more ideas that I can add to each group, please let me know. Here’s the deal, we all have different numbers and age groups in our families.

There are different age groups living in our neighborhoods too. I realize we can buy #10 cans of different foods and case goods as we prepare for major disasters, but maybe this will help one or two families realize how easy it is to get started with your emergency food kits we’ll find useful in most situations when an unexpected emergency hits us.

I just want to remind all of us we are responsible to feed and hydrate our own family, whether today as we live what seems like a normal daily life, or after major disasters. Today, I’m only talking about food, and maybe a few items to go with the different age groups.

Today, it’s really more about short-term food storage. Of course, you can always have #10 cans with almost all of your favorite foods for long-term storage, but I want to make this an easy step to get started with your own emergency food kits.

All of this food requires water for each family member. Please note, I recommend 4 gallons per person per day. Don’t forget a few can openers. Can Openers

Emergency Food Kits


Babies in general, and also newborns, are a little easier if breast milk is available for the baby and the mother can be nourished and hydrated to keep up her milk supply. When I had babies 40+ years ago, we started our babies on rice cereal, pears, and bananas at around six weeks old.

I know things have changed a whole lot, they start real food much later now. I highly recommend one of these to use for your children to grind your own baby food when you feel it appropriate to feed them real food.

It’s a hand-powered baby food grinder and you’ll find it can save you a bunch compared to canned or bottled baby food from the store. Of course, you’ll need to purchase the fresh food to grind. Baby Food Grinder

If by chance a mother is hurt and unable to nurse her baby, please stock some baby formula, bottles, and burp rags because you may have to feed a baby or two after a disaster. This is why it’s critical to know our neighbors, so these things can be discussed and prepared for in advance. In pioneer days, they had wet nurses who could nurse babies if needed. It may come to that, just giving you the heads-up.

I suggest the following food items: rice cereal, a bowl, a spoon, and a few jars of baby food, like bananas and pears. Please remember to rotate every six months. Yes, we can grind our own food with cans of fresh fruits and vegetables, but if we have a hungry baby, let’s have some ready to serve ASAP.

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Oh, this is the cutest age ever. I like to just sit around and watch as they entertain us with their cute personalities. Now, feeding them can sometimes be a little challenging. Their tummies are so small they need to eat several meals or snacks, whatever you want to call them, each day. I still remember a granddaughter who loved broccoli, the first grandchild ever to eat that at 1-1/2 years old.

Sometimes toddlers will eat anything, and some are a little pickier.

The next time you go to the store look down the grocery aisles and decide what finger foods your toddler would enjoy eating, they would probably also apply to other toddlers in your neighborhood if you needed to share. They love crackers, applesauce cups, fruit cups, green beans, and healthy snacks. I still love graham crackers, I guess I’m a kid at heart. Be sure and put some small sippy cups, bowls, plates, and silverware in your toddler emergency food kits.

Freeze-dried fruits and vegetables in #10 cans are easy for toddlers to eat right out of the can. Cut into appropriate age bite sizes. Mac and cheese are always popular, just write down what your toddler may like and stockpile a little or a lot and rotate it.


I love storing rice milk because it has a pretty long shelf-life, and one of my granddaughters is regular milk intolerant. I also store chocolate Quick Mix. I know it’s not the healthiest, but it makes great hot cocoa for my grandkids. I serve the hot cocoa in sippy cups, so we have very few spills.

If you have some sippy cups in your kits they will be clean and be new to any child that may need a warm cup of cocoa. There may be a neighbor who has not yet learned to be prepared, I will serve their cute little kids hot cocoa. Here are some sippy cups that I use. Mental note to myself, please order a few more.  Sippy Cups

This age is fun because what child wouldn’t love to choose the food they would eat today at a grocery store or in case of an emergency? Let’s be real, not all the food will be healthy, but we need some cans of food that only need a can opener and a way to cook it.


Okay, I have to say right now I don’t know how my daughters feed their sons who are athletes, and well over six feet tall. One of my grandsons came to visit and I fixed dinner and about an hour later he was rummaging for leftovers, love that kid. When he was born, I stared at his huge hands and feet. I said to my daughter “This is going to be a very tall son.” And he is. And a few others are just as tall.

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Here’s the deal with teenagers, they may not want to go to the store to choose some foods in cans that can be reheated, but they may as well know life could change in an instant in an emergency, and they will be thankful for those food items.

Suggestions, pancake mix (all ages), syrup, chili, spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, chunky soups, crackers, and canned meats. Add a few boxes of crackers with small jars of mayo or Miracle Whip. Score with snacks as Costco serves.


This one is a lot easier to figure out because we understand the need for food storage. I would go as a family to the grocery store and choose food for one day. The next week, choose food for the second day, then the third day.

Before you know it you will have seven days worth of food for three meals a day plus snacks stored ready for the next challenge you face. Use my printout to get you started: Where do I start by Linda

The printout has seven days and has an area to fill in what you eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If I have rice, beans, pasta, and salsa, cans of vegetables, and cans of fruit, Mark and I are good to go. I can make any kind of soup if I have diced tomatoes. I can make tortillas, bread, biscuits, and crackers.

Life is good if you choose the food you will eat and then rotate them.  Before they expire and you haven’t eaten them, please donate the cans to your local food bank. Yes, I can make pancakes from scratch, but I always store Krusteuz pancake mix that only requires water to make pancakes or waffles.

I have instant milk so Mark can have his cereal, life is good. We always stock up on cereal. I recommend this milk. Remember, powdered milk is for cooking, instant milk is for drinking. I never buy powdered milk, just letting you know. Instant Milk 

The Elderly:

Now, this age group may be a bit trickier because they may have health issues like being Diabetic, so special precautions must be taken to learn about any specific issues before we fix food for them.

This is another reason why we need to have neighborhood meetings to get to know each other and learn the foods people can eat safely. It would be a good idea to compare emergency food kits.

Special Diet Required:

If you have dietary issues, a reader mentioned today that Thrive Life has some great gluten-free food items.

Keep in mind 99.9% of my #10 cans of freeze-dried fruits, vegetables, and meats are gluten-free. Be sure and check labels, there are more foods that you can eat than you may realize. It’s the “prepared meals” that may have gluten in them.

All emergency food kits need plates, cups, plastic silverware, paper towels, and ways to wash them, but we will talk about that another day. May God bless this world to be prepared for the unexpected.

Survival food storage by Linda

Copyright Images: Depositphotos_85596836_m-2015Burritos

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    1. Hi, Beth #10 cans are what freeze-dried or dehydrated foods are typically sold in. You are not the first person to ask me that question. I apologize I need to remember to explain what a #10 can is. A #10 can is7 inches high and 6-1/4-inches in diameter. It’s about the size of a can of coffee sold in most grocery stores. I am writing a post for tomorrow and I will for sure explain what a #10 can is. Thanks for the reminder. Linda

  1. On storing water. we have lots of 5 gallon jugs stored, as well as one gallon. We just got some 3 gallon jugs because the 5 are actually too heavy for me to carry. We thought if my husband was unable to get the water, I might be in trouble.

    1. Hi Janet, I’m with you on those 5-gallon jugs, I cannot lift them. I would for sure be in trouble if I had to carry a 5-gallon container filled with water. My 3.5-gallon WaterBrincks each weigh 27 pounds when filled with water. Glad you mentioned this, love it! Linda

  2. Stored crackers and chips are nasty. They become stale and odd-tasting. My brother and his wife vacuum seal crackers and certain chips in 2-qt. jars and mylar bags and they are just like new when they are opened. Thanks for your blog!

  3. You mentioned powdered milk vs. instant milk on a previous post. So I went to see what I had stored. I have Augason’s Moo milk alternative. I can’t figure out if it is instant or powdered. Do you know? 

    1. Hi Carol, I bet it’s instant. My Thrive milk says instant milk. I remember buying some mil that said alternative milk. I must have used it up because I only have Thrive Instant now. You can stir it with a spoon whereas powdered milk almost needs a hand mixer or it’s totally lumpy. I hope this helps. You can use both but I instant or alternative. Linda

  4. Jars of peanut butter are another good item to put in your kits, especially if you store a lot of crackers. I was able to buy a number of pilot cracker #10 cans a bit over a year ago at a great price, so I’m good for easy snacks for a while before I need to start grinding wheat berries and making my own bread and crackers. It’s always good to have some convenience foods that can be eaten as is or just heated up – these can be life savers if you’re exhausted and/or sick. Love the idea of putting crackers in mason jars and vacuum sealing them – will have to try that the next tine the market has them on sale. They are a LOT cheaper than #10 cans of pilot crackers!

    1. dmwalsh568,
      Another good long term food is peanut butter powder. I purchased some in pouches and have used them off and on for several years, so they appear to keep when stored properly.

      1. I actually have a couple of pouches of the powder just in case, but I also stock a lot of jars of peanut butter. I’ve used jars that were 3 years out of date with no issue. Once they hit 4 years past date then things get iffy…but my family eats a lot of peanut butter so it’s usually not an issue.

        1. dmwalsh568,
          It sounds like we’re both in the same boat on PB. I have several pouches of the PB powder and have tried it; but, we generally keep a good bit of the real stuff on hand. I quite honestly don’t know how long it lasts, since it gets used too fast and gets replaced. We use the Aldi’s Peanut Delight Creamy Natural Peanut Butter (Peanuts, Sugar, 2% or less palm oil, salt, molasses). I’d rather not have that palm oil (50% saturated fat); but, it is not hydrogenated and is better than palm kernel oil or coconut oil (85% saturated fat).

  5. Great post today, Linda.
    I have Thrive Life food storage. For those who want to invest in freeze dried foods, Thrive Life has delivery options that may allow you to build your stash without breaking the bank – you can add the cost to your food budget each month. They also have Pantry Cans of most of the individual ingredients (not prepackaged meals). Pantry cans are smaller and are more convenient for individuals (like me) and couples. Sometimes opening a #10 can of something ends up being a waste as it may not be used up or not to ones taste.

    A couple of years ago, I purchased a case of emergency 100 hour candles. I gave a few away for Christmas gifts. I had forgotten about them and just found them again when I reorganized my food storage. I have been saving my Pantry Cans when I emptied them. I was not sure what I was going to do with them but saved them anyway. Now I am making Emergency Light cans to give away to neighbors. We have had a couple of wind/rain storms lately – didn’t lose power but easily could have. I include one of the 100 hour candles, a few tea light candles and a small box of matches. I put a label on the can as well. This is just a suggestion on how to use those empty cans!! The cans can be anything – an empty coffee can, quart jar (I’ve seen those on Pintrest).

    I suppose the cans can also hold other Kit items. I know this post was just about food, but I think it is important to think about other things to include.

    1. Leanne,
      I have some of those 100 hour candles as well; but, you can generally get great deals on candles after the religious holidays like Christmas, Easter, and Hanukkah when the stores are trying to get rid of their extra stock. These may also be melted down in a double boiler to make your own. Another good thing to use the #10 cans for is a car / vehicle emergency heater. We have one in each car kit in the winter. You need to make a row of holes along the bottom of the can. I generally use the pointed end of the typical “Church Key” style can /bottle opener. You then put candles and matches in zip lock bags, drop them in the can, and place a lid on the can to contain everything. In a vehicle emergency, you open the can, light a few candles, and place them in the bottom of the can. The holes in the bottom allow air into the can and the can contains the candles so they don’t catch anything in the car on fire. Be sure and open a window on the lee side of the car a bit to allow some air in, since the candles do use oxygen. I’ve been in a car on a 20° day with 4 or 5 candles burning and keeping the car relatively comfortable.

        1. Leanne,
          The other nice thing about this heater is that it is inexpensive enough to have in each vehicle and pass out to friends and family.
          Assuming you already use and have the can with a lid, for a few dollars at one of the dollar stores you can get a package of tea candles and a lighter, or some book or small stick matches.

        2. When I described making the car heater I stated:

          You need to make a row of holes along the bottom of the can. I generally use the pointed end of the typical “Church Key” style can /bottle opener..

          Upon reading it again I wanted to clarify something.
          It should have read:
          You need to make a row of holes along the outside of the bottom of the can along the rim, not into the actual bottom. This may be obvious; but, just in case it was not I wanted to clarify it.
          I’ve been making, teaching and handing out these heaters for more than 20 years and almost assumed everyone knew about them, so I’m glad I mentioned it.

          1. Linda ~ Ha Ha!!
            I didn’t even think about in the bottom of the can!! Now I can picture what you wrote initially!
            I didn’t need clarification but other might have needed that.

      1. Linda,

        Leanne, wow, great idea on the 100-hour candles for gifts! I may do that for my neighbor gifts next year.

        Assuming your neighbors might be in need of such things as the 100 hour candles, don’t forget matches or butane lighters in the package, so they don’t have to scramble if they need to use them.
        BTW, I don’t really “Rock”; I’m just old and have been doing this for a long time. I also live in a rural agricultural area where almost everyone has two heat sources with wood nearly always as the backup and where gardening, chickens, hunting, and stockpiles of some items (like TP) is just normal.

  6. Linda,
    With just the wife and I at home our food preparations have gotten a lot easier.
    One of the best investments in food preparation we’ve made in quite a while was a set of the ”Thrive Life” Cansolidators. Once assembled, these keep all of our purchased canned goods in an organized fashion, quickly allowing us to see what may be running low and simultaneously rotating our food on a FIFO (First In First Out) manner.
    In any case, we mark the date on each can with a sharpie when we bring them home. This includes cans of vegetables and fruits and like you, with some beef or chicken broth and some canned vegetables we can throw together a decent meal on short notice.
    I generally make my own pancake batter, since it’s easily made from ingredients on hand.
    We always have extra eggs from our small flock of hens, so eggs & toast or French toast for breakfast is a quick and rather common and easily prepared item. Everyone should live by the maxim: ”Store what you eat & Eat what you store” since purchasing that case of Arugula at a great discount may not work out if you don’t generally eat or know if you like, Arugula. We tend to stick to simple foods and ingredients.
    In our case we still have several hundred pounds of beef in the freezer and purchase it only every few years; but, that still leaves room for chicken, pork, and other vegetables.
    On the milk side of things we have some powdered / instant on hand; but, in a pinch we have local friends / neighbors who are dairy farmers. They cannot legally sell us the milk; but, if some happens our way and they end up with some eggs, who would know?
    I don’t know what you call Elderly; but, @ 68 & 67 respectively the wife and I are definatly in the senior citizens category; but, have no real food related health issues. One thing I do know about elderly, and often notice myself, is that we can often go a long time without being hungry, so we often have to pace ourselves and “remember” to eat something, while trying to at the same time eat a nutritionally balanced diet. For a while I was on an anticoagulant (Coumadin / Warfarin) and the vitamin K in leafy greens could be a problem, so I really missed salads during that time, with the point being that not all food issues are obvious.
    While I have some freeze dried foods, I decided a few years ago that over time, a freeze drier would be most cost effective and allow a larger and less expensive variety of food to be prepared. That appliance, along with a dehydrator, allows one to create their own long term stored foods and control the quality and cost at the same time.
    Finally, we have numerous 6-can cases of grains, beans, milks, sugar, and other raw foods in #10 cans; but, for this kind of stored foods you need ways to open the can and grind the grain. We have both a manual (Wonder Mill Junior) and an electric (Blendtec) grain grinder. My hope is that some day, years in the future, our kids will wonder what to do with all of this long term stored food; but, in case we ever need it, it’s there with the equipment and skills to continue to feed ourselves and others.
    For water we have it stored in numerous ways and quite honestly, my wife can probably lift heavier things than I can in some cases, since she “man handles” bedding and feed for the animals in the barns. We have a good well and a creek and several DIY gravity drip filters. We also keep some 5 gallon buckets with loose fitting lids filled with tap water for emergency flushing. One bucket will give you about 3 flushes with modern low flow (1.6 gallon) toilets.

  7. Thanks for all the information in this valuable post. Since it has been years since having babies and young children, the info on those age groups is very good. I am going to purchase the Baby Food Grinder – very impressed with it after looking at the features. I live in a 55+ community. Some have dental issues that necessitate pulling some or all of their teeth. I am cooking meals for a friend who will need soft food for several months. This baby food grinder could be very helpful in our preparations for the unexpected.

  8. I have several grand babies and great grand babies here. So having the items needed to feed them is never an issue. We have several sizes of diapers as well. (I also keep cloth diapers on hand). My 2 year old granddaughter will eat just about anything we feed her. She loves fresh berries of all kinds, and fresh veggies. She knows that I keep berries and other fresh fruit in the fridge and will often go get her own. She eats several times a day, I call it grazing.I keep macaroni and powdered cheese on hand. I make a lot of my own jellies and jams. We also go through a lot of cheerios and fruit loops. The older kids like jerky and cheese snacks. I keep cans of tea,Tang,chocolate mix and strawberry mix. I keep manual can openers in the pantry for power outages. I try to buy paper plates,plastic ware, and paper towels a couple times a year. I have a coleman stove and I can also cook on my woodstove. I have a grain mill (manual) and coffee/spice grinder as well as a hand blender.I can also make soy and nut milk. (I have a nephew with diabetes and celiacs). I strive to be prepared for whatever happens. It can’t be done in a day or even a week. It takes time . I may not be where I want to be, be I am certainly better than I was. God bless Merry Christmas.

  9. Saving those #10 cans are a great idea. You can make a rocket stove from them. You would need to save some 15 oz. cans for this as well. I have several that I saved up and am going to try to make one. Seems to work well from what I have seen on the U-tube instructions.

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