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Everyone wants to be prepared for an emergency. The new pandemic era has only heightened our experience and reliance on grocery stores and food sources. While it is a good idea to stock up emergency food for your household, there are certain mistakes that are easy to make.
Some mistakes waste money, while other mistakes could cause serious harm. Learn more about these 7 mistakes to avoid when buying emergency food for your home.
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Mistake #1: Buying Food You Don’t Like
Purchasing food you don’t like, or have never eaten before, is a common mistake made by those who want to be frugal. While you can always argue that you will eat whatever is available if you’re hungry enough, it is a good idea to plan as best you can so it never comes to that.
Buying food that you don’t like or your family doesn’t like will keep you from ever eating it. You’ll keep that bin of food in the back of the emergency storage for years, and then when you finally do come around to breaking the seal, you’ll probably end up tossing it anyway.
Make sure to buy food for your emergency storage that your family enjoys. Food in an emergency should be familiar. Just like you shouldn’t grow a ton of veggies in the garden that you’ve never prepared once in your life, you also shouldn’t store a bunch of odd food that you don’t really want to eat. The comfort of a favorite and familiar food goes a long way in terms of mental and emotional stress in an emergency.
Mistake #2: Buying Food That Is Hard to Make
Convenience is key when it comes to making food in an emergency. Your food storage should consist of easy-to-heat-up items that take minimal effort to prepare. Emergencies require a lot of focus on many different things, and how to create a three-course meal in the bunker shouldn’t be one of them.
Make sure to stick to quick and easy foods that taste good, have a lot of calories, and could be considered an entire meal by themselves. Throw in a can opener, fuel canisters, and matches as well so that you can heat up items.
Mistake #3: Buying Extra Large Packages of Food
When you purchase food for your emergency food storage, you have to think about what will be available when you are in a dire situation. The likelihood that you’ll have power is probably low, so it is important to only store food that you can eat in one sitting.
While those extra-large #10 cans of food are a better deal and are pretty enticing, what will you do with 5 pounds of beans after you and the family have had their fill? With no way to properly store leftovers, you run the risk of food poisoning when trying to use all of the food over a couple of days.
Make sure to store smaller portions of food or group together a day’s worth of food into one bucket to make it easier. You can use leftover food from the morning for another meal if needed, but you should never stretch food longer than a few hours in between heating. If you can’t eat everything before it spoils, consider feeding pets and livestock with leftovers as well.
Mistake #4: Buying Food With Short Expiration Dates
Emergency food should be shelf-stable and easy to store. Many stores will discount items that have nearing or past expiration dates. While this is tempting when stocking emergency storage, it isn’t recommended. Expired foods will lose their taste and may start to grow mold or other bacteria.
Make sure to store food that has longer expiration dates. Some well-preserved foods can last a couple of years on the shelf, while others can last decades or longer. Canning your own food also helps ensure that your food is preserved and offers fresh food for years to come.
Mistake #5: Buying Food in Cardboard Boxes
Many of us who have emergency food storage do purchase food, like pasta and cereals, in cardboard boxes. However, storing the cardboard boxes by themselves on a shelf can create other issues down the road. Cardboard soaks up water and humidity, and it can be ruined in the event of a storm or flood. Cardboard is also easy for rodents or bugs to break into, ruining the food before you ever get the chance to eat it.
Make sure to store food in cardboard boxes in protected plastic tubs, bins, glass, or metal containers that are closed off from the elements. This added layer of protection helps keep them away from water or rodents that may ruin the food.
Mistake #6: Buying Food With Little Nutritional Content
Planning your emergency food storage is a lot like planning food for a multi-day hike out in the woods. You want the food to taste good but also have enough nutrition to keep your body healthy. Filling emergency storage with empty calories or fillers such as candy, gummies, or sugary cereals can create a bad combination. While sugar is a comfort ingredient and can provide some energy, it often creates highs and lows in blood sugar.
Make sure to store up foods that are high-calorie and nutrient-dense. These foods have a longer energy benefit that will keep bellies full for an extended period of time. Food like peanut butter, nuts, jerky, carbohydrates, and oatmeal are better options that provide good nutrition and needed vitamins and minerals.
Mistake #7: Buying Food That Doesn’t Help Dietary Needs
When you want to pack your emergency storage full of food for the family, it is important to remember any kind of special dietary needs. Family members that are allergic to certain foods, or require a food substitute, still need to eat according to their dietary needs in an emergency. Diabetic family members are especially in trouble if their blood sugar gets too low.
Make sure that you have planned for those family members who have special dietary needs. Consider packing them a separate tub or box of food just for them to access in an emergency.
Planning food for your emergency storage is a great thing to do well before an actual emergency arises. However, it can be hard to think about an emergency if you aren’t in the thick of a dire situation. Remember these 7 mistakes to avoid when buying emergency food, and consider checking your current food storage to remedy any of these mistakes as well.
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