As you know, you need to always be prepared for food shortages, famine, supply chain disruptions, you name it.
It is no longer a question of if. It is a basic responsibility and anything short of meeting it is negligence.
Sorry if that does not make you feel good, but it is not supposed to.
Preparation and responding to the call are what make you feel good, as preparing your own household is exactly what may save another.
So let’s get right to it.
Here are my top five cheap, nutritious, easy-to-find, no-prep foods for your emergency food stockpile that you can find in almost any grocery store.
#1: Fruit pouches
Delightful fruit pouches are now sold in a wide variety of fruit and vegetable blends. They make for an easy way to get a wide variety of polyphenols from the different colors of fruits and vegetables in a form that has a long shelf-life.
Unlike many canned varieties, these pouches are typically additive-free as well as added sugars-free. The whole family will enjoy them and since they come in different blends, you will find yourself getting a greater variety than you would otherwise find in canned fruit.
Fruit pouches are a great option when fresh produce is hard to come by, and even when it isn’t.
#2: Canned chicken
Canned chicken is an inexpensive, excellent source of protein that you can find at any grocery store. They are often sold in store-label brands as well so you can save a bit of money.
These cans of chicken (usually white meat) can be eaten as is or cooked in its own juice to make the easiest chicken soup you could make. Just heat it up and break down the chunks of chicken with a spoon as it cooks. This will help the chicken feed into the broth and you will end up with a ready-made pulled chicken soup.
If you are able to also cook a pot of rice, just pour the chicken soup over it or mix it in for a really hearty meal. Add some canned vegetables if you like or, if you’re like me, add some Tabasco and you’re all set!
#3: Canned tuna
Canned tuna is mostly wild caught now so it is sourced much better than perhaps in years past. Tuna is a great source of healthy fats and protein, as is most fish, and it is still one of the most inexpensive forms you can find. Even in this inflationary environment, you can still find some for 99 cents a can or less in some places.
Although that might be outdated by the time I press “publish” on this article.
#4: Canned salmon
Canned tuna’s fancy, upscale neighbor has a well-deserved spot on this list as well.
Canned salmon, especially if wild-caught, has an amazing omega-3/omega-6 fatty acid ratio. Wild salmon get their orange-ish color from consuming a diet high in astaxanthin, one of the most potent antioxidants there is so it has a special health benefit to you that many fish cannot match.
Add to that it’s amazing protein content in such a low calorie food and you have one of the best sources of nutrition you can find for any diet, let alone in an emergency food stockpile.
If you feel like shelling out a few extra bucks, you may want to upgrade some of your tuna to salmon for a little variety, amazing nutrition, and great flavor that works in a number of great dishes.
#5: Canned sardines
And last but not least is my personal favorite that has gotten a bad rap with many people.
The humble sardine.
Sardines are a staple in my diet as they are one of the best foods in terms of an amazing omega-3 fatty acid profile, big amounts of protein, and low in calories if you’re into calorie counting. It’s hard to find foods with more protein per calorie than sardines, as well as some of the other fish on this list.
Most stores sell sardines in a smoked variety so you can eat it as is without having to dress it up. To make it extra special, though, you can toss some giardinieria on it and make a sandwich out of it, which is my personal favorite.
With such amazing protein content to help you feel full (could be very important in a food shortage) and such great fat content to feed your body what it loves to help keep your hormones in balance, and all coming at a price that won’t break the bank, sardines may have something special to add to your emergency food stockpile.
Honorable mention #1: Tuna pouches
I couldn’t add tuna to the list twice, so we’ll add tuna pouches to the honorable mention list.
Canned tuna dressed up for a night out, tuna pouches are more expensive but seasoned or flavored in a bunch of different varieties. Think buffalo, sriracha, herb garlic, lemon pepper, ranch, etc.
With all the same health qualities as canned tuna but already seasoned and flavored, these are a great, ready-to-eat option for an emergency food stockpile. If you have a few bucks to spare, these might be a great addition to your pantry.
Honorable mention #2: Canned vegetables
Given the premium placed on canned items on the main list, you would think canned vegetables would have had their place there. But two things work against them.
First of all, top five lists are way snappier than top six lists.
And second of all, canned vegetables are really, really boring.
Sure, a simple green bean salad made with canned french cut green beans and a simple dressing of salt, pepper, vinegar, and oil is outstanding, but it takes a little more work to dress up a can of vegetables than it does a can of fish.
At least in my opinion.
With that said, they, along with other canned produce like beans and perhaps fruit, should still rank very high on your emergency food priority list, not only for the nutrition they provide, but to easily round out meals.
I hope this list has been helpful. If you have any other emergency food staples you get at the grocery store, let everyone know in the comments below.
And remember, when times are tough, there is no greater opportunity to ratchet up your pursuit of great!
For more advice on how to stock up an emergency food supply click here.
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