You might think that only unhealthy foods can be preserved for a long time, but this is not the case. If you are looking to create an emergency food supply for any eventuality that may occur, there are numerous healthy options with long shelf lives, so let’s take a closer look.
Healthy Emergency Foods to Stock Up On
If you are looking to stock up on healthy food for an emergency situation, dried fruits are great. If properly stored, which means away from air, moisture, and light, dried fruit can last for up to a full year — things like raisins, dried figs and dates, dried berries, bananas, apples, coconut, mango, and more.
You will want to use a dehydrator to extract as much moisture as possible, because the less moisture the fruits contain, the longer they will stay good. Fruits will lose a lot of their vitamin C content when dehydrated, but other than that, they retain mostly all their other nutrients, mainly their vitamins and sugars.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are great to have for an emergency as well. Nuts and seeds, particularly nuts, are very high in fats, protein, fiber, and carbs, all things that you need in a survival situation, particularly when it comes to getting lots of energy.
When it comes to long-term storage, be sure to get nuts and seeds that are still in their shells, as these will last the longest. Moreover, always pay attention to the expiry date. Nuts and seeds should stay good for about 6 months when properly stored.
Whole Grain Crackers and Whole Grains
Although whole-grain crackers might not be your first food of choice, they are quite healthy because they are high in fiber, minerals, and carbs. They will provide you with energy.
Whole grains like barley, oats, and other such things, when properly stored, can stay good for up to a full year, particularly if you freeze them. If you don’t freeze them, whole grains and even whole-grain crackers will stay good for up to 6 months.
Fresh Root Vegetables
An important distinction to make is that when it comes to the long-term storage of vegetables, most vegetables will not stay good unless you freeze, freeze-dry, or dehydrate them, with the exception of root vegetables. When stored in a cool, dry, and dark place, root vegetables can last anywhere from 4 to 12 months.
Of course, veggies are important in any diet because they contain a myriad of vitamins and minerals. If you have a good storage location, even a root cellar, veggies like white potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, parsnips, onions, and garlic, can all be stored for prolonged periods of time.
Canned Fish and Tuna
You may not think that anything stored in a can could possibly be healthy, but this is not the case. This is particularly true when it comes to canned fish like tuna, salmon, and other such things. First of all, canned meat like tuna has a very long shelf life, sometimes up to several years, making it perfect for long-term storage in your survival pantry.
Canned fish, particularly tuna, is also very high in omega fatty acids, proteins, and minerals, all things which your body needs to survive in an emergency situation. Canned tuna is quite versatile too, as there is a lot that you can do with it. Just make sure that the cans have not been damaged before moving them to the storage location.
Energy and Protein Bars
Here is another one that you might think is not all that healthy. However, there are plenty of energy and protein bars out there that are not unhealthy at all.
If you manage to find some high-quality ones, you may able to find bars that contain lots of calories for energy, ones that have been fortified with vitamins and minerals, contain a lot of fiber, but also don’t have too much sugar or fats in them.
High-calorie protein and energy bars are great survival snacks, they fill you up in a pinch, they will give you energy, and they can stay good for a long time. There are special energy bars — made just for survival purposes — that can stay good for up to 5 years when properly stored.
To store chicken breast for any prolonged period of time, you will need a freezer. Chicken breast that is sealed in an airtight bag can stay good for up to a whole year in the freezer.
In terms of animal-based protein sources, next to something like tuna, chicken is one of the best options. It contains protein and minerals, but not too much fat or cholesterol. There is also the fact that chicken breast is quite versatile in terms of what you can do with it.
Although powdered milk may not be your first choice, something to remember is that it contains a lot of calcium and protein, both things your body needs in a survival scenario. When stored properly, dried milk will stay good for up to 18 months.
Canned Whole Wheat Pasta With Sauce
Yes, this one is a bit out there too, but if you can find some whole wheat canned spaghetti, you are on the right track. Of course, canned is not the healthiest, as it contains preservatives, but with that being said, if you can find whole wheat pasta in a good tomato sauce, you will be eating a lot of nutrients. Between all of the fiber, the carbs, and the vitamins, this can qualify as a fairly nutritionally balanced meal.
The bottom line is that because you need your food to last for months or years does not mean that it cannot be healthy. Healthy and long-lasting are not mutually exclusive, at least not always. As long as you choose the right foods, you should be able to create a healthy emergency food supply for you and the family.