“Adequate Nutrition during an Emergency,” Ensign, Oct. 2009, 70–71
If you have a three-day emergency supplies kit, does it contain nutrient-dense foods? During perilous times, your body would especially need adequate nutrition. As a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition, I have developed a simple, healthy emergency meal plan for our family. The items should be rotated regularly for best results.
My minimum calorie goal for the three daily meals is 1,200 to 1,500, with 60 to 72 grams of protein and approximately 40 grams of fat, a combination that enhances satiety. The ingredients for each meal plan are simple:
Meal replacements and supplements. Include shelf-stable protein drinks, instant powdered breakfast drinks, powdered milk, and energy bars. You may want to use more than one type. Each should provide 250 calories or more. Look carefully at the labels; snack or cereal bars are not as high in calories and protein.
Dried fruit. Raisins and other dried fruits are good.
Peanut butter. This is a great shelf-stable source of protein. If you have peanut allergies, you could substitute it with another nut butter or small bag of nuts. Or find other shelf-stable protein foods.
Crackers. Include soda crackers or other crackers, preferably whole grain. You could also include granola if you won’t be using peanut butter to spread on crackers.
Drinking water. Ideally you should have about two quarts or almost two liters of water for each person to consume each day. Store what you can comfortably carry in your emergency bag, and add a portable water purifier so you can use available water sources.
Utensils. Include one cup with a lid (to be used as a shaker for mixing powdered meal replacements) and a butter knife.
A sample meal plan for one person for three days would include nine meal replacements plus 1½ cups or a 12-ounce bag of dried fruit, peanut butter to provide at least six two-tablespoon servings, and about 40 saltine crackers or another cracker equivalent.
Calculate the food amounts needed for your family and round to the nearest convenient product size that is commercially available, taking care not to round down too much.
These emergency kits are easy to assemble with readily available items. The meal replacements are nutrient dense and fortified with vitamins and minerals so you can reach or approach nutritional adequacy and meet special dietary needs. They don’t need to be heated, and you can easily store everything in a moderate-size duffle bag or backpack. Best of all is the peace of mind in knowing you’ve prepared for your nutritional needs should an emergency evacuation ever occur.