Best Emergency Food and Why

No matter where you are in the world, you’ll always vulnerable to a natural disaster. Whether it’s a hurricane or tsunami, it’s impossible to predict when you’ll be in a life-or-death situation. However, you can be prepared for a situation like this. In this article, we’re going to show you the best emergency food and why we think it’s the best. That way, you’ll know exactly what to stock up on next time you visit the grocery store or shop in Amazon.

Myth – All Emergency Foods Taste Bad

There’s a common misconception that emergency foods are tasteless, hard-to-chew meals with no nutritional value. Well, let me disappoint you: most of the following foods are nutritious and delicious. This means that you won’t need to sacrifice taste in order to prepare for a rainy day. If you’re new to survival and disaster preparedness, you might not be familiar with what these emergency foods are. Don’t worry- we’ll talk about all of them below.  

Best Emergency Food – Which Should You Buy?

When most people think about the best emergency food, they automatically picture the traditional MREs (Meals-to-Ready-Eat). If you’ve ever been through a natural disaster, you know exactly what these are. But the truth is, there are many more options out there that don’t fall under the category of traditional “army food”. In fact, many of the alternatives are tasty, cheap, and highly portable. Let’s take a look at what these emergency foods are now.

Mountain House Freeze Dried Food

Best Emergency FoodIf you’re looking for the best emergency food, look no further than Mountain House Freeze Dried Food. When it comes to survival food, they are one of the top manufacturers in the industry. With thousands of happy customers, and 99,000+ Facebook fans (and counting), you can be confident buying from them. Their emergency foods are perfect for campers, hikers, mountaineers, and of course, preppers.

One of their more popular options is the 72-Hour Mountain House Kit. This kit contains a complete 3-day food supply for one person. This means that you’ll be able to keep yourself alive at least 72 hours after a disaster strikes (possibly more if you ration). Since their foods are freeze dried, they have incredibly long lifespans (12+ years). Due to its long shelf life, you won’t really need to stress about expiration dates.

Mountain House Freeze Dried Food

To eat, just open the pack, pour in some warm water, and you’re ready to go. The reason why it’s the best emergency food is because the taste gets preserved in the freeze-drying process. In fact, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by just how tasty their meals are. Why else are they perfect for disaster preparedness? Because they’re highly portable. Due to being so light, you can add them to your bug out bag without putting strain on your back.

The Survival Tabs

Best Emergency FoodWhen looking for the best emergency food, another good option is The Survival Tabs. The reason why they’re recommended is because they contain 100% of the U.S. “recommended daily serving” for 15 essential vitamins and minerals. So not only will you keep your calories up, but you’ll also meet all your nutritional needs. There aren’t many emergency foods capable of this.

Their foods are made with the highest quality protein, which will provide you with a ton of energy in a survival situation. While the company claims that their food can last 25+ years, they also suggest rotating your food supply every 2-3 years for maximum food value. As you’ll see from the video below, they are quite literally “tablets”. Simply put one in your mouth, chew, and swallow.

The Survival Tabs

Despite being in tablet form, these emergency foods don’t taste too bad. They might not have the authentic taste and texture of regular food, but they definitely don’t taste like cardboard either. As the best emergency food for a post-disaster situation, expect to pay about $40 for a 15-day supply. Considering the portability and convenience of The Survival Tabs, I consider that a good deal.

Mainstay Emergency Food Rations

Best Emergency FoodWhat I like about Mainstay Emergency Food Rations is that they contain 9 pre-measured “blocks” that contain 400 calories each. In all, this equates to about 3,600 calories per unit. To eat, simply break off one of the blocks and eat.

When talking about the best emergency food, Mainstay qualifies as a top contender. Their food has a 5-year shelf life, can withstand temperatures as low as 40-degrees Fahrenheit, and is highly portable.

For anyone worried about health, know that these emergency foods contain no tropical oils or cholesterol. Their meals are also enriched with vitamins and minerals, ensuring that you stay nourished in a survival situation. Despite their bland texture, they actually taste pretty good. Personally, I think that Mountain House foods taste better, but Mainstay is a descent option as well.

Mainstay Emergency Food Rations

The major upside to buying from Mainstay is price. For a single 3600-calorie pack, you’ll only need to pay about $8. That’s an excellent deal considering the shelf life of that many calories. Another upside to Mainstay meals is their portability. You can easily fit one inside an emergency preparedness kit without it taking up too much space. Check out the video below for a full review.

Eversafe MRE Full Meal Kits

Best Emergency FoodThe Eversafe MRE Full Meal Kits are another good option if you’re searching for the best emergency food. A single case comes with 12 meals, and each meal contains approximately 1,000-1,250 calories. So in theory, one case will last you about four days. But if you ration, you might be able to stretch this to 10 days or more. The 12 meals in are packed in airtight seal that will allow them to last for 2-3 years.

What I like about these emergency foods is that each one contains an entree and dessert, giving you that “home cooked” feel. You’ll also get crackers, a candy pack, a water-activated MRE heater, a utensil kit (sugar, creamer, a spoon, napkin, salt, and coffee), and finally, a beverage base powder. Each meal is different, so you’ll never need to worry about lack of variety.

Eversafe MRE Full Meal Kits

Most of the customer reviews on Amazon for this product are very good. People appreciate that the food comes with a recent manufacture date, and in good condition. Currently, you can buy a case of 12 for about $20. That’s about 12,000-15,000 calories in total. Overall, I consider that a good deal. For emergency preparedness, they’re definitely something you’ll want to look into. The video below will show you how to eat one.

Chef’s Banquet Readiness Kit

Chef’s Banquet Readiness KitChef’s Banquet Readiness Kit contains enough food to last you for one whole month. For that reason alone, I consider it a quality option when shopping for the best emergency food. Each “ARK” (giant bucket of pre-packed food) comes with 330 total servings. All in all, it equates to about 2,000 calories per day for 30 days. The best part? The meals taste just like regular home cooked meals.

They are one of the tastiest emergency foods by far. All the food comes in a single 6-gallon bucket, and has a shelf life of about 20 years- assuming you store it in a dry, cool environment. None of their foods contain high fructose corn syrup, which as you know, can be damaging to your health. The total weight of a single bucket is about 23 pounds.

Chef's Banquet Readiness Kit

This could be a potential downside if you’re planning on traveling with it, especially for people who can’t lift heavy things (older people, people with physical disabilities, etc.). But for keeping it in your home, it should be fine. Expect to pay about $150 for a single bucket worth of pre-packaged food. I think this is a fair deal considering that you get a full months’ worth of food in return.

Notable Mention – Patriot Seeds Survival Seed Vault

ssv2-bigWhile this technically isn’t a “food”, it will allow you to grow food after SHTF. Even the best emergency food stockpile won’t last you forever. If society never returns back to normal, like after a nuclear attack or EMP strike, you’ll need to find new ways to acquire food. And one way to do this is to plant seeds. The Patriot Seeds Survival Seed Vault will help you do exactly this.

Each unit contains 20 different types of seeds, include carrot seeds, cucumber seeds, radish seeds, and many more. They are non-GMO and non-hybrid seeds that have a storage life of 5+ years. Also, each unit comes with a vegetable growing guide that will show you exactly how to plant each type of seed. This means that you can grow your own food year after year in a survival situation.

Foods With a Long Shelf Life

When we are on the topic of the best emergency food, let’s take a look at foods that have a relatively long shelf life:

  • Dried Beans
  • Dried Lentils
  • Raisins
  • Popcorn
  • Dried Peas
  • Beef Jerky
  • Dried Pasta
  • Oats
  • Powdered Milk
  • Dried Rice

The foods on this list are capable of lasting 5-30 years depending on how well you store them. When searching for the best emergency food, most people never think that something as simple as dried rice or dried pasta can last for so long. When preparing for a natural disaster like a hurricane or tornado, the emergency foods above (Mainstay, Mountain House, etc.) are probably better. But for long-term SHTF situations (nuclear attacks, EMP strikes, etc.), these foods are the better option.

On a Budget? Learn How to Dehydrate Food!

Best Emergency FoodWhat if you can’t afford to buy the best emergency food? Then one thing you can do is learn how to dehydrate food. When you dehydrate food, you essentially remove all the water content from within that food.

The end result is that bacteria and other microorganisms will no longer be able to reproduce there. In short, it’s one of the best and cheapest ways to increase the lifespan of any food, including meat, vegetables, and fruits.

To dehydrate food, you’ll first need to buy a food dehydrator. This will run you anywhere from $30 to $300 depending on the model you buy. Once you dehydrate the food, you can store it in airtight packaging to increase its shelf life by many years. Think about it: a regular apple might only last a week or two before going bad. But if you dehydrate individual apple slices, they can potentially last you for years.

Best Emergency Food – Bottom Line

When shopping for the best emergency food, always do due diligence. Read customer reviews, learn about the company, and know exactly what you’re getting. Also, know that not all emergency foods taste bad. Some are actually quite delicious, especially the ones from Chef’s Banquet. Sometimes, it might be better to place less emphasis on taste, and more emphasis on practicality. For example, just because the best emergency food tastes good, doesn’t mean that it’s portable or easy to carry around. You want something that offers the best of both worlds, preferably.

  1. Reply
    Mark Tsunokai May 20, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    With the high calorie count, you probably wouldn’t have to eat three MREs a day, unless you were participating in combat operations or something comparable. FYI if you are going to use Mountain House, bear in mind that you will probably want to increase your water storage capabilities.

    • Reply
      David May 20, 2016 at 9:46 pm

      Those are some good points Mark. Thanks for sharing!


  2. Reply
    RA June 7, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    I really like Mountain House freeze dried food in the #10 cans. But be aware that their concept of a “serving” is not the same thing as a full meal.

    Many of the #10 cans state that they contain in the neighborhood of 2,000 calories. That means that if you plan to live entirely on M.H. food, you’ll probably want about one #10 can/person/day in order to have 2,000 calories/day. Very nice if you can afford, it but you’ll probably want to mix it up with other things like beans, wheat, & vegetables from your garden.

    • Reply
      David June 8, 2016 at 3:13 am

      Hi, Rich. Great points. I don’t particularly like the #10 cans due to their bulky size. They are great for in-home prepping, but if I’m planning on bugging out or evacuating, I prefer something like Mainstay (although they don’t taste as good).

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