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When it comes to figuring out the best emergency foods to stock up on these days, it pays to note that freeze dried and other emergency foods have really come a long way in recent years. One thing that hasn't changed, however, is that we need to stock up on them.
Let's face it - 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 let your fingers do the walking through Amazon or another online purveyor - and there are several!
- 1 Myth – All Emergency Foods Taste Bad
- 2 Best Emergency Food – Which Should You Buy?
- 3 Legacy Food Storage
- 4 Mountain House Freeze Dried Food
- 5 The Survival Tabs
- 6 Mainstay Emergency Food Rations
- 7 Eversafe MRE Full Meal Kits
- 8 Chef’s Banquet Readiness Kit
- 9 NOTABLE MENTION – PATRIOT SEEDS SURVIVAL SEED VAULT
- 10 Foods With a Long Shelf Life
- 11 On a Budget? Learn How to Dehydrate Food!
- 12 Best Emergency Food – Bottom Line
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.
Legacy Food Storage
Legacy Foods is currently one of the top emergency food producers on the market. Legacy food products are made in the United States, have a 25-year shelf life, and boast a low cost per pound. With non-GMO and gluten-free options, their products don’t require you to sacrifice your health for the sake of emergency calories. Their MRE options are also tasty and nutritious. We repeatedly held their entrees under a magnifying glass and regularly found them more calorie-dense and nutritious than the competition.
Legacy utilities are a revolutionary process to remove as much oxygen from their food as possible. The products are freeze-dried and double flushed with nitrogen to ensure they can endure the test of time and scrutiny of even the most refined taste buds. Legacy’s MREs are also expertly packaged in light, moisture, and heat-resistant mylar pouches, each of which contains an additional oxygen absorber.
Legacy also has one of the most extensive lineups of emergency food products on the market. Customers can choose from an extensive collection of meal packages and bulk items that include side dishes, entrees, breakfasts, drinks, seeds, meats, and more. The gourmet menus include several popular American standards, including but limited to pasta alfredo, white bean chili, and beef stroganoff.
A 720-serving package, which includes 185 pounds of food, will cost you approximately $1,889. This breaks out to approximately 144 2,000-calorie days. That’s not bad, especially when you consider the fact that all that food fits in six large plastic buckets and comes with a quarter of a century of shelf-life.
The company’s extensive loyal customer base is another promising sign. Legacy has over 4,000 mostly positive reviews, 22,000-plus Facebook fans, and a five-star online rating. There is also an ever-growing number of vloggers who’ve brought their positive feedback on Legacy to the internet.
Mountain House Freeze Dried Food
If you’re looking to give a prize for a company that's been in the emergency food business probably longer than almost any other, look no further than Mountain House Classic Bucket Freeze Dried Food. When it comes to survival food, they are one of the top manufacturers in the industry, and have been around since about 1969.
With thousands of happy customers, and well over 195,000+ Facebook fans (and counting), you can be confident buying from them. Their emergency foods are perfect for campers, hikers, mountaineers, and of course, preppers.
Now, given that Mountain House has been around for a long time, if your only prior experience with their foods dates back to those early days, rest assured it's come a long way! While they weren't exactly just hard-tack like we read about in early polar exploration stories, let's just say that MREs weren't as tasty or nutritious as they are now.
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.
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
When looking for something easy to store or carry in your emergency food stash, 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. And, as the host of the video says, "Better than bugs." I'll go with that!
Anyway, despite being in chewy 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
What 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.
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.
Eversafe MRE Full Meal Kits
The 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.
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 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.
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
While 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 Pure Pollination Non GMO Heirloom Vegetable Survival Seeds will help you do exactly this.
This contains 40 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
- Dried Peas
- Beef Jerky
- Dried Pasta
- Powdered Milk and/or Grass-fed Whey Protein Concentrate
- 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.
Incidentally, about oats: I have discovered that "overnight oats" work really well for me, and if I add a scoop of natural grass-fed whey protein concentrate, I feel "fueled" for a lot longer than on oats alone. Do make the oats, I simply put about 1/2 cup of rolled oats in about a cup of water, and soak in the fridge overnight. In the morning, mix in the whey protein. Eat. (I don't use sweetener, but you'll have honey in your long-term food storage, and that will work well if you like your oats sweet.)
NOTE: See our extensive post on this topic of "Foods With a Long Shelf Life" HERE.
On a Budget? Learn How to Dehydrate Food!
What 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 and learn how to use it. The unit 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.