The Best Emergency Foods to Have in Your Home in Case of Power Outage

It’s predicted that there will be an increase in power disruptions and outages in the United States, attributable to everything from tropical storms and hurricanes to extreme winter cold and summer heat waves and wildfires. 

An outdated power grid exacerbates the problem. By one estimate, the U.S. is believed to have more outages than any other developed country.

If you’re caught in a power outage, having the right food on hand can be one less thing to worry about.

While you won’t be having gourmet meals, you will have enough food to get through a few days without going hungry!

Here is a list of items to keep stocked in your pantry for a 1-3 day power outage. 

  1. Crackers. Crackers come in many different varieties and flavors, and can be a good source of fiber and complex carbohydrates. Look for ones that are low in added sugars, sodium, and hydrogenated oils.
  2. Nut butters. Peanut butter, cashew butter, almond butter, and others are high in protein and natural fats. Look for ones without added sugar or hydrogenated oils. Even opened, the jars can be stored at room temperature. (Make sure no one in your family is allergic to nuts.) 
  3. Canned beans: Whether cannellini, great northern, black, pinto, kidney beans, chickpeas, or a different variety, beans are an excellent source of protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. Look for low-sodium or salt-free varieties. Bonus if you’re able to find BPA-free cans.
  4. Canned vegetables: There are many different varieties of vegetables to choose from, such as green beans, corn, peas, carrots, tomatoes, beets, and even asparagus, providing a wide source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Look for low-sodium or salt-free varieties, and buy BPA-free cans if possible.
  5. Canned chili. For a “complete” meal, chili is a great option. Even at room temperature a meal that most people enjoy. Look for low-sodium varieties.
  6. Oatmeal: Plain rolled oats are a good source of fiber and complex carbohydrates. Dried oats don’t need to be refrigerated, so will last a long time. Mixed with plant milk and dried fruit (see below), they can serve as an excellent and tasty breakfast food.  
  1. Plant milk: Plant milk can be a good source of protein, calcium, and other essential nutrients. Shelf-stable soy, almond, or cashew milk comes in cardboard cartons that can be stored unrefrigerated for long periods of time until opened.
  2. Dried fruits. A good source of fiber and vitamins, choose from figs, apricots, mangoes, raisins, papaya, dates, and others. Often found in the bulk section of grocery stores, best are the ones that don’t have added sugars.
  3. Trail mix. For a quick and calorie-dense snack, trail mix containing nuts, seeds, and dried fruits comes in a variety of types, ranging from more savory to more sweet.

Remember to have a manual can opener on hand, and test the opener regularly to make sure the cutting edge is sharp enough to get the job done.