So you want to be prepared, and you know that means having food on hand, but there are some significant challenges here. You have to assume the grid is going to be down, so you need food that will last, even without electricity. You need food that you can eat with limited cooking ability.
You may still have power or a gas stove. However, it’s best to plan as if you won’t, and then anything you do have is extra. Below are some of the best foods that you can stock up on.
It’s not a food, but it’s the most important thing you can collect. Clean, drinkable water is far harder to find than most people think. If you’re not near a water source, do you have the ability to dig a well? If you are near a source, like a local lake, is that water clean enough to drink? You need to boil and filter it. You’re going to have to do all of this eventually, but bottled water can help you tremendously.
It’s not that exciting, but whey powder lasts for a long time, and it’s an incredible source of protein, providing as much as meat, and often more. Meat could be hard to come by, and you need to keep protein in your diet. This powder is an easy way to get it, as you can mix it into water, food, or even sprinkle it onto other foods. You turn any meal in a protein boost.
Similarly, you may want to collect other powdered foods, like milk and eggs. These things don’t last very long in their natural forms, especially without refrigeration, but the powders will keep. We know what you’re thinking: Do you really want to make meals of water and three kinds of powder? While that may not be all that exciting, you have to focus on nutrients above all else. This isn’t about making a tasty meal, but about making a meal that gives your body what it needs.
Powdered Drink Additives
Drink additives -— like Tang -— help in a number of ways. For one thing, they can help water taste better. Even after it’s been filtered and boiled, lake water or well water may not taste pleasant. Drink additives help cover this up, and they give you some variety. However, the more important additive is the sugar. We hear a lot about the over-consumption of sugar in modern society, but it’s a huge benefit when survival is the only goal -— which is why your body is hard-wired to like it so much. The additives can give you the raw calories that you need for instant energy.
It doesn’t have to be beef jerky; any type of dehydrated meat is a must-have. It gives you a lot of lean calories and a good amount of protein. It lasts forever, and you don’t have to store it anywhere special. Plus, you can get some excellent flavors and a lot of options. If you don’t care what your food tastes like and just want the nutrition, you may not care for all of the flavors. However, this is a great way to spice up your meals, which most people are happy about.
There’s an added bonus to dehydrated meat: It’s very light. You can carry it easily. Stocking up your bug-out cabin is a must, but you can also take this if you’re hiking, camping, and traveling on foot. You can pack enough to eat for days without much actual weight holding you back. Other foods, like soups and canned goods, get heavy, quickly. Plus, a soup may only have 300-400 calories. A bag of jerky could have twice that many. Therefore, the weight-to-calorie ratio is in your favor.
Even though canned goods get heavy, they really do last. You may not prefer them for hiking purposes, but they’re ideal for stocking up the pantry at your cabin. Get things like soup, refried beans, and canned vegetables. You can also get canned meats, like tuna fish and even chicken. These have great lasting power and you can eat most without cooking them.
Metal cans are also useful when you don’t have much in the way of supplies. You can use them to cook in, heating up beans or soup over the fire. You can clean them out and use them as cups for drinking water. You can store other items in them, especially if you have tinfoil, plastic wrap, rubber bands, and other things to put a lid on the can.
Dried and Canned Fruit
Unless your bug-out cabin is in the middle of an apple orchard, it could be hard to get fruit in a survival situation. However, fruit has a lot of nutritional value; you don’t just want to eat beef jerkey and drink Tang every day. You need foods that are actually good for you, but you also need food that will last. The key is to forget about fresh fruit, which goes bad in weeks and sometimes in days, and stock up on dried fruit -— like raisins and dried cranberries — and canned fruit. You can get oranges, peaches, pineapple, and much more.
As an added benefit, many of these canned fruits are stored in syrup. Again, do not forget the value of sugar when you don’t have many raw calories around. That syrup can provide a ton of calories and some hydration. It shouldn’t be your main source, obviously, but one can of fruit is actually doing triple duty by providing you with nutrients, a high caloric intake, and liquid. When space is limited, getting the most out of every item is key.
This is a small sampling, but it shows how important it is to focus on the right foods, and it can help you start stocking today. Your best option is to diversify and have a wide range of foods so that you’re ready for any situation.