We’ve seen empty aisles in grocery stores where toilet paper and alcohol used to be. There are videos of people hoarding these items. Some are even some fighting over them. Now that many parts of the world are going on lockdown or forced quarantine, many are scrambling to stockpile on food, water, medicines, and other basic necessities before they themselves are forced to stay home.
It’s not clear how long this pandemic will last. What’s clear is everyone needs to have supplies at home so they can avoid going out and possibly getting infected. But what exactly are the best kinds of foods to stockpile for a pandemic?
(Related: COVID-19 Facts You Need To Know)
Before we list down the different foods to stockpile for a pandemic, you must understand that hoarding items with the purpose of selling them for a higher price is a douchebag move. A pair of brothers from Tennessee hoarded around 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer and wipes with plans to sell them on Amazon. They were met with backlash and an investigation for price gouging. Part of their stash were later donated to church and taken by the attorney general so that should, at least, make up for their foolishness.
Also, getting everything on the aisle and not leaving anything for other people is inhumane and frankly, really stupid. What would you do with all those bottles of alcohol and hand sanitizer? Yes, you’re disinfecting yourself but other people around you are left without anything to protect them from the coronavirus. When everyone else is infected, you’re chances of getting infected become higher.
If you’ve been stocking up even before the Wuhan coronavirus said “hi,” you’re likely in a better place than most. But now is not the time to boast or to tell people, “I told you so!” Now is the time to teach them what you know to help them with their prepping needs. Start with what kinds of food to stockpile for a disaster.
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Non-Perishable Foods to Stockpile
No one knows when this nightmare will end. While COVID-19 continues to spread around the globe, there are a few positive signs that things will eventually get better. The rate of confirmed cases each day is dwindling in China, the source of the coronavirus, and South Korea. COVID-19 is not yet done, though, so there’s still a need to prepare in case your area has to be put on a lockdown.
The US Department of Homeland Security suggests having two weeks’ worth of food and water for each person. But at the rate things are going, you’ll be better off with more. Try stocking up on a month’s supply if your finances can cover that.
Canning is a process that allows you to preserve food and store them for an extended period of time. You can make your own canned goods if you have the right materials. If you can’t can your own food, simply buy canned foods to stockpile for a pandemic.
Canned meat is a good start to your prepping goals. Vienna sausage, for example, comes in lightweight and easy-open cans. They can be stacked on top of each other so storing should be no problem. Also, they have about 5 years of shelf life. Best of all, they taste good even if you eat them straight out of the can.
The Survival Cave All-Natural Mixed Canned Meats includes 3 cans of beef, 3 cans of chicken, and 2 cans each of ground beef, pork and turkey. Each one has a shelf life of 25 years. You can eat them from the can or heat the meat if you want them warm. Better yet, use the meat to make a more complete dish.
Make sure you have a variety of canned goods in your prepper pantry. Aside from sausages and the aforementioned canned meats, there’s also canned fish. Tuna, salmon, sardines and mackerel are pretty popular. Stock up on different canned fruits, vegetables, and beans so you have a good source of nutrients. Canned soup will be great on cold days while canned sauces and other ingredients will help you make your favorite dishes.
Don’t forget the can opener. Have at least two in case one breaks down while you’re in quarantine.
You need your protein. In case you run out of meat, eggs and tofu, a good protein source would be jerky. Each serving of Jack Link’s Beef Jerky comes with 7 grams of protein along with 50 calories. The 100% premium beef is 96% fat free, does not have MSG, and flavored with a blend of herbs and spices. More importantly, jerky can last up to 2 years.
Dehydrated or Freeze Dried Meals
Dehydrated meals are popular among preppers and soldiers alike. For one, they’re pretty portable. Each meal is dehydrated or freeze dried lessening their weight. They are then individually packed in lightweight food-grade pouches. If you’re a soldier, you want your backpack to be as light as possible so this is a huge plus. The same goes with your bug out bags.
Another good thing about these ready-to-eat meals is their shelf life. The Wise 120 Serving Entree Only Emergency Food Bucket, for example, will last up to 25 years. Plus, they come in different entrees so you won’t get tired of eating the same thing again and again.
Grains, Nuts and Beans
Preppers are on two opposing sides when it comes to grains. One side thinks it’s a waste of time, space and resources to stockpile grains. Their reason circles on the difficulty of processing grains and the fact that not many people know how to utilize them for making bread and other foods.
The other side stresses that grains are relatively cheap and have a long shelf life. You only have to store the ones that are worth stockpiling. , that are easy to cook.
Certain kinds of rice, for example, have an indefinite shelf life if you store it properly and keep contaminants away. Place it in the refrigerator or freezer to protect your rice even more. I doubt you’ll be doing this unless you have a really large fridge.
If you prefer healthier grain, go ahead and stockpile quinoa in your pantry. The organic quinoa from Better Body Foods is gluten-free, non-GMO, and packed with nutrients such as protein, fiber and iron. Quinoa will last for 3 to 4 years if properly stored.
Nuts are some of the best options for your prepper pantry. Nuts like the Planters Deluxe Whole Cashews are healthy and have a shelf life of three months when kept at room temperature, up to six month in the refrigerator, and one year if frozen.
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Other Dry Goods
Snacking is an important part of people’s daily lives, particularly their diet. It gets you over that hump you usually experience in the idle of the day. Snacks give you that necessary burst of energy while also satisfying those little hunger pangs before your actual meal.
It’s good to snack on fresh fruits and vegetables but it’ll be hard to get a steady supply when you are in quarantine. Go for dried versions instead. Stock up on raisins and other dried fruits such as mangoes, apples, pineapples, bananas, and cranberries.
How about a combination of nuts and dried fruits? Throw in some seeds while we’re at it. Trail mix like the Power Up High Energy Trail Mix is the snack you need for that instant boost. It’s filled with healthy dried banana, mango, cranberries, and papaya mixed with walnuts, cashews, and pumpkin seeds.
Don’t forget the kids. Stockpile cereals, cookies, crackers and other foods both kids and adults will be glad to have during a pandemic. Cereals are edible even after the expiration or best before date. Once you open a box of cereal, make sure to keep the contents in a tightly sealed container to keep it from getting stale fast.
Do you have a sweet tooth? As unhealthy as that is, you may want to stock up on your favorite sweet treats like chocolates, gums, and candies. That’s because you need your comfort food to help keep your mental health in tiptop shape.
Make sure you have the ingredients for your favorite meal. If you love spaghetti, stock up on pasta noodles and spaghetti sauce. It’s also a good idea to grow your own herbs such as basil and parsley so you can add more flavor to your pasta dish.
Food and drinks go together so we might as well include some beverages that many people can’t live without. If you can’t start your day without a hot cup of coffee or tea, you better make sure you have enough of them in your pantry. You will need to boil water so be ready with a camping stove and fire starters in case power goes out.
For those who love their wine, a bottle in your pantry wouldn’t hurt. In fact, many preppers recommend stocking up on alcoholic beverages. It’s certainly a morale booster to enjoy a glass of wine or a bottle of beer during the apocalypse. Plus, you can use it for bartering in exchange for more important stuff like food or water. For now, give your mental health a high five by enjoying a drink while watching a Chris Martin or John Legend #TogetherAtHome concert on Instagram Live.
Preppers don’t recommend perishable foods but you can purchase some for the sake of having normal meals while you’re quarantined in your home. Remember, though, that these kinds of food must go quickly or at least, be stored properly. If you have a freezer, you can keep raw meat for 4 to 12 months. Raw ground meat will last 3 to 4 months while poultry can last 9 to 12 months in the freezer. However, once power goes out, you have to consume your raw meat before they spoil.
If you’re confident you can store your raw food properly, go ahead and stock up. You can have prime quality meats delivered to your doorstep if you rather not go outside and risk infection. Of course, you have to take the necessary precautions before receiving your package.
Snake River Farms is currently offering some of their “recommended favorites” at a lesser price. The American Wagyu Grilling Gift, for example, consists of two filet mignon, two sirloin steaks, two pounds ground beef, and ten hotdogs. All these items costs $184 but the package is offered for only $156, which is $28 lower than when you buy all of them individually.
Other Foods to Stockpile for A Pandemic
When building your prepper pantry, train your focus on the important stuff like the ones we already listed down. Follow those up with other items you’ll need.
A bland meal is the last thing you want to have when the world is dealing with a pandemic. Of course, you should be grateful for any food you get to eat but it would be a lot better if your meal tasted great.
Stock up on herbs and spices, different kinds of oils and vinegar, bouillon cubes, condiments, sugar, salt, and other kitchen essentials that provide flavor to your dishes. Condiments like ketchup mustard and hot sauce will also make your food a lot yummier.
Purchase some baking ingredients so you can make your own pancakes, cookies, pies, bread and cake. You can also use some of the ingredients for other dishes. Cornstarch for example, is needed to make gravy and to thicken sauces.
One of the keys to preparing for a disaster is to stock up on the basic necessities. This includes water, medicines, personal hygiene products, home cleaning items, and survival gear. When it comes to the foods to stockpile for a pandemic or any disaster, start with the essentials like the ones on the list above then move on to other kinds of foods. Check out Gentleman Pirate Club to get a better grasp on how to prepare for pandemics and other emergency situations.