30 Day Emergency Food Supply List (Best For Storage)

By now, you hopefully know that you need emergency food storage to be prepared for disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, EMP, or even personal disasters like losing a job.

Thirty days of food is the absolute minimum you should stockpile for emergency preparedness. You’ll also need 30 days’ worth of water.

Read: how much water to stockpile

Getting emergency food for 30 days may seem simple enough, but don’t just go out and buy a zillion cans of soup, boxes of crackers, and bulk grains.

Disaster prepping should always be done with a plan!

If you don’t plan what to get and how to use it, you could end up with many unusable food items in the aftermath of a disaster.

The Two Types of Emergency Foods to Store

There are many types of survival foods to stockpile. For your 30-day emergency food storage, we can break them down into two types:

  1. Foods that don’t require cooking
  2. Foods that require cooking

To be fully prepared, you should combine both types of emergency foods.

Emergency Foods That Don’t Require Cooking

You can find lots of ready-to-eat emergency foods in your local supermarket. The benefit of storing these foods is that they are easy. Picture your family sitting in your basement eating granola bars and soup straight out of the can as a hurricane rages around you.

There is no need to cook, prepare, or even clean plates. You just pop open the packaging and start to eat.

Another reason you need to have ready-to-eat emergency foods is that it isn’t always safe to cook after a disaster. For example, you should never have an open flame after an earthquake. This is because gas lines break, and an open flame could result in an explosion. So, if this is the case, you would want foods that don’t require cooking.

Examples of Emergency Foods That Don’t Require Cooking

Emergency Foods that Require Cooking

In theory, you could stockpile just ready-to-eat foods for your 30-day emergency food supply. However, it will probably get boring eating all those canned and packaged foods after a few days (I’ve run disaster scenario drills before and can attest to how boring it gets to eat just packaged food!).

Ready-to-eat emergency foods also tend to be lacking nutritiously. It might be okay to live off granola bars for a day or two during a blackout, but all that sugar, fat, and sodium will make you feel like crap in a longer-term disaster situation.

When you cook food, it is more nutritious and will give you the energy you need to stay healthy and alert in the disaster aftermath.

Finally, you’ll want some emergency foods which require cooking because they taste better. The taste shouldn’t be a priority for disaster preparedness, but having tasty food can go a long way in alleviating the stress which comes with emergencies. Even the act of cooking might be a welcome distraction from the disaster.

Examples of Emergency Foods that Do Require Cooking

  • Pasta
  • Rice, barley, and other grains
  • Dry beans and legumes
  • Packets of instant soup
  • Instant mashed potatoes
  • Meals in a box

Other Items for Your 30-Day Emergency Food Storage

  • Salt, herbs, spices, and seasoning packets: Eating plain pasta, canned veggies, etc., can be boring. A bit of seasoning can go a long way to making it taste better (and thus making the disaster aftermath less stressful).
  • Powdered drink mixes: Preferably ones that have vitamins in them.
  • A can opener: Make sure it is a manual can opener, not an electric one! Read how to open a can without a can opener.
  • Paper plates and plastic utensils: You don’t want to waste precious water on washing dishes, so have enough disposable plates and utensils stockpiled.
  • Off-grid cooking method plus fuel: If the utilities go down after the disaster, how will you prepare your food? Ensure you have an off-grid cooking method and enough fuel to last you through the month.

Items NOT on the List

You’ll notice I didn’t include certain items like wheat, grains, or flour in the 30-day emergency food storage.

It might seem logical to stockpile wheat grains for emergencies so you could make bread.

But let me ask you, do you know how to grind wheat into flour? 

And, if you do, how will you make bread if you don’t have any yeast?

You’ll also need baking soda, baking powder, egg substitutes, and other basics to utilize your flour.

As for stockpiling ready-milled flour, it can be a disaster if you don’t store it properly. You’ll likely end up with a moth or mold infestation if you don’t utilize vacuum-sealed mylar bags.

Read about pantry pests and how to avoid them.

Items like wheat and flour are fine to stockpile for your long-term supply. But, when you are just starting, stick to the essentials.   Once you’ve mastered the 30-day stockpile, you can move on to the more advanced skill of long-term food storage.

Have you built your 30-day emergency food storage yet? Let us know how it is going in the comments.

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Leave a comment

  1. My parents, born in depression, always had a wall of canned goods & food stored in basement. Also had a cold room for onions, potatoes, canning goods my mom made.
    I understand there thinking much better as i get older.

  2. Bread-making isn’t as complicated as this post makes out. You can make lots of breads with just flour, salt, and either yeast or sourdough starter. And you can make flatbreads with just flour and water. Just nitpicking, this is great information. Is there a good way to figure out when you’ve hit a 30 day supply?

    • I have a spreadsheet where I keep track of all of my foods (I’ve even divided them into carbs, proteins, fruits/veggies, staples to make sure I get the right balance). I list the food, amounts, and total calories. Since my family needs roughly 7,000 calories per day, I can easily figure out how long our stockpile would last.

  3. A grill with appropriate fuel and or a catering stove burner with butane canisters has served us well during hurricanes. We have been through many. Would suggest a percolator (old school) for coffee. Think camping supplies. Cook everything in the fridge and freezer if you know a disaster is on the way. Food can be shared with neighbors who will be glad to share their own stuff then.

    • Good suggestion about the percolator. I love them, though my husband recently got me a cool portable hand-pump espresso machine which I use when traveling and could use during power outages.

      I just want to note that VENTILATION is important when using butane or other camping stoves. Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur (I’d recommend everyone get a carbon monoxide detector as part of their disaster preps…).

  4. I always have flour, rice, oats, sugar, salt, honey, molasses, yeast, baking powder, baking soda and spices in my kitchen. I typically store the grains in either acrylic or glass jars, or in the freezer to avoid the moth and weevil issues. I’ve been baking all my life, and making my own breads, pastries, and thickenings has been a part of my upbringing. I try to keep a years worth of flour and oats in the freezer (it keeps it full, so it costs less to operate) because I buy them from a bulk grocery 1.5 hours from my home. I buy my spices there in bulk as well ($3.53 for the last pint of cinnamon), as well as a variety of dried beans. You could buy a 20# bag of navy beans, but by the 8th meal of navy beans, your eyes and your palate will be resisting and looking for more flavor! When I bring the beans home, I store them in mason jars in the root cellar. They are not sealed, but they are safe from critters, and can be used when necessary. Once my pressure canner arrives, I will start processing the dried beans into pressure canned beans so that they are ready to eat when SHTF. I’ve also planted a vegetable and herb garden this year, from which I hope to preserve vegetables for the winter. If what I grow isn’t enough, I hope to access farmer’s markets to increase my stock. I was hoping to head for the orchard this morning to get cherries and strawberries, but they don’t allow picking in the rain. By Friday, they are going to have severely overripe strawberries because it is supposed to rain all week. I’m assuming that when SHTF, I will be preparing meals for my three adult sons (two of whom have significant autism), my nephew, my ex husband and his wife (none of whom cook regularly from basic ingredients). Therefore, my stock is somewhat higher than necessary for one person.

    • It’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared – and it sounds like you are doing a great job. 🙂 One of the things we repeatedly heard from preppers is how they’d wished they’d stored extra food and supplies for their loved ones. Your family is lucky to have you. Thanks for the comment.

  5. Lew,
    There are a few good companies that sell freeze dried products , one is no better than the other. They are all expensive so just do the research and choose for yourself.

  6. Live in Hawaii 6 mos per year. Any recommendations re: what company to purchase a 30 day supply from? Very humid and lots of pests so need a supply that is pretty air tight.


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