Are you prepared for a two-week emergency? It isn’t something you might think about often since most of us live close enough to a grocery store to run out and get our essentials on an as-needed basis.
But if a natural disaster, power outage, or other emergency hits and you’re left without access to food for more than a day, you could be in trouble. That’s why it’s important to have an emergency food supply on hand at all times.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends having a 2-week food supply with several sources of protein and nutrients stocked up for you and your family in case of emergency.
In this article, we’ll discuss what you should include in your two-week emergency food supply. We’ll also talk about how to make a plan to feed your household if you’re cut off from outside food and water for several days.
How Do I Make a Two-Week Food Supply List?
Making a two-week food supply list is simple if you start with the basics and build from there. FEMA recommends that you include at least enough non-perishable food for everyone in your household for 14 days.
The food must not need to be refrigerated or cooked. If possible, you should include foods that your family will enjoy eating, but this is less critical.
Figure Out How Much Food You Need
The first step to creating a two-week food supply list is figuring out how many calories you need to eat per day. This can be tricky, especially if you have children who are still growing. But it’s always better to overestimate your family’s needs rather than underestimate them.
You can calculate your caloric needs by tracking your daily intake for a few days and averaging it. Or, you can use the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) general recommendation that you have 2,100 calories per person per day.
Once you know how many calories each member of your family needs in a day, multiply that total number by 14 days to determine the total amount of calories needed for two weeks worth of meals.
For example, if you have a family of four and you’re using the WHO’s recommendation, you would end up with: 2,100 x 4 = 8,400 calories per day.
8,100 x 14 = 117,600. That is the total calories that you should have stored for a two-week emergency for four people. Don’t forget to take into consideration any special dietary needs like allergies or diabetes when making your 2-week food supply list.
Make a List of Foods to Stock Up On
Once you know the total number of calories you need to have on hand, make a list of foods that meet those needs. Include plenty of protein, complex carbohydrates, fruits & vegetables, and healthy fats. All of these foods should be non-perishable and not in need of cooking.
Here is an example list of survival foods that make a great reserve for emergencies:
- Canned meats, soups, beans, fruits, and vegetables
- Dried meats, fruits, and beans
- Dried grains like oatmeal, rice, pasta, and cereal
- Dried pre-packaged pasta meals like macaroni and cheese or noodles
- Powdered milk
- Canned spaghetti sauce
- Instant coffee and tea
- Trail mix and dried nuts
- Powdered pancake mix
- Honey, syrup, and jam
- Flour, sugar, seasoning, and salt
- Peanut butter or other nut butter
- Protein or granola bars
- Powdered mashed potatoes
Another option for stocking emergency meals is to buy dehydrated emergency meals. This is the most convenient option since all you have to do is add water and you’ll have a complete meal for yourself.
These meals are also pretty compact and are easier to store than dozens of canned foods. The downside is that these types of emergency meals can be expensive.
If you have pets, don’t forget about them! Always make sure you have enough pet food to get your furry friends through a two-week emergency with you.
Don’t Forget About Water
If you don’t have access to food, it’s possible you won’t have access to clean water either. In scenarios like earthquakes, the water to your home might be completely shut off.
That’s why it’s important to make sure your two-week food supply list includes enough water – FEMA recommends one gallon per person, per day. This amount should be sufficient for drinking as well as cooking and cleaning.
If you have pets, don’t forget to add an extra gallon a day for medium to large dogs and a half gallon for cats and small dogs.
How To Make a 2-Week Emergency Meal Plan
It’s one thing to stock up on two weeks’ worth of food, but you should have a plan for that food, too.
To make things easy for you in a time of high stress, make a plan for your food list and have an idea of what meals you will be making each day during an emergency. This will help you avoid ending up with 50 cans of beans and nothing to do with them.
Plan to Avoid Heat Whenever Possible
In an emergency, you’ll want to preserve any propane, wood, or any other source of heat as much as possible. You need to make sure you can boil water or keep your family warm if disaster strikes during the winter.
One of the best ways to conserve fuel is to plan your meals to require as little heat as possible. Most of the foods on your list won’t require heat, so you can easily make breakfast and lunch without it. You might want your oatmeal hot in the morning, but if it doesn’t need it, plan to enjoy it cold.
Another way to conserve fuel in an emergency is by cooking all of your family’s dinners in one pot. This will also save on dishes and water needed for cleanup. Stews, soups, and chili made from canned foods are all great options for one-pot dinners.
Make a Menu
Make sure you’ll be able to use all the foods in your emergency supply by making a menu.
Consider the caloric needs per meal per person in your home, and plan what you will make for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks with your emergency food. Keep in mind your goal to only use heat when necessary as you plan your family’s meals.
Here is an example menu that can be made using the foods listed above:
- Cereal with powdered milk
- Canned fruit
- Canned soup
- Macaroni and cheese
- Canned or dried meat with canned vegetables and rice
- Canned beans and rice with vegetables
- Granola bars
- Trail mix
- Peanut butter on crackers
Plan to Rotate Meals
While boredom doesn’t seem like something to worry about during an emergency, it may be helpful for you to plan a few recipes for each meal that can be rotated every day or two. This is especially true if you have children who might stage a protest if you tell them they have to eat a can of cold tuna every night for two weeks.
Planning to rotate two or three meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner will also help cut down on how many different types of food you need to buy for your emergency stock.
Once you have a menu for your two-week food supply, you’ll be able to rest assured that you’ll be able to keep your family well-fed in an emergency, no matter what.