While carrying on with our daily duties, life seems predictable.
Get up in the morning, go to work, go grocery shopping, then return home to cook a meal and call it a day.
Life, however, is unpredictable.
Natural disasters can strike at any time. Hurricanes or ice storms, to name just a few, can easily block roads and cripple emergency services.
If I were to ask you how much food you have in your home, what would be your answer?
For how long could you go on without shopping for groceries?
According to statistics, the latest pandemic led to a change in consumer behavior, with up to 44% claiming they are stocking up on household essentials and a further 31% declaring that they are now making a list before shopping.
These trends imply a sole thing – before a global-scale disaster, most people didn’t even bother about stockpiling.
When it comes to food supply, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends to have at least a 2-week supply of non-perishable, easy to prepare items for home and 3-day supply for evacuation.
Now, wondering what qualifies as non-perishable, easy to prepare food?
Emergency dry food is undeniably a good choice, but heading out on a spree shopping is not a good idea. You need a plan. Otherwise, you might just and up with a stock of bags and cans that can’t provide you a full meal.
Keep reading to find out how to plan for an emergency and what your 2-week food supply list should look like.
How Should a Two Week Food Plan Look Like?
When giving recommendations, FEMA only says that you need a 2-week emergency food supply. They don’t explain what kind of food, and on the impulse of the moment, inexperienced people may simply stockpile on cans and bags of rice.
The truth is that this behavior won’t get you too far.
By simply throwing corn cans into your shopping cart, you’ll end up with nothing to actually eat when the time comes.
So, the first thing to do is to come up with a plan. Let’s see how.
Figure out the number of calories you need
The first step to creating a food supply list is figuring out how many calories you need in a day, in a week, and for the entire period. Then, you can use this number to figure out how much food you have to buy.
The number of calories you need varies based on your age, sex, weight, and level of activity you perform.
On average, an adult needs around 2,100 calories per day, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
In other words, your weekly meal plan should provide around 14,700 calories, which works out at 29,400 calories per person for a 2-week period.
Break down the daily number of calories
Considering the average number – which you can adjust based on your needs – you should make a daily calorie breakdown plan, attributing a specific number of calories to each meal.
Typically, a daily meal plan should look like 400-600-600, with the remaining 500 calories divided between two snacks.
With this in mind, your 2-week emergency food supply list should contain:
- 5,600 calories for breakfast
- 8,400 calories for lunch
- 8,400 calories for dinner
- 7,000 calories for snacks
Consider the nutrients you need
While calories give you energy throughout the day, nutrients ensure proper health. That’s why it’s never a good idea to stockpile on rice and corn cans only. The human body needs three main kinds of nutrients:
Contrary to the popular belief, carbs are not exactly a necessity, because the body is perfectly capable of transforming fats into sugar and fuel all body functions. Sure, you don’t have to give up a bowl of rice or a pasta dish during an emergency period; the point is that you can easily survive without it.
When it comes to daily necessities, you should make sure your daily meals include:
- At least 10%-12% protein, which works out at around 52 grams of protein per day, or 882 grams for the entire 14-day period;
- At least 17% fat – around 40 grams per day or 555 grams for the entire 14-day period;
- A variety of micronutrients, such as zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium, salt, and vitamins. With this in mind, your food supply list should contain a variety of foods.
You should also keep in mind that pregnant women and young children need a higher quantity of both fat and protein, so you should adjust accordingly.
Considering all the above, it’s easy to understand that you don’t need food alone. You have to come up with a 2-week food supply list that allows you to create meals. Wondering how your meals should look like? Below, a few kinds of foods you can eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – rotating could be a good idea.
Typical 2 Week Emergency Meal Plan
- Cereal with milk (any kind of milk)
- Dried fruits and oatmeal
- Toast and peanut butter
- Canned soup with crackers or croutons
- Canned pork and beans
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
- Canned tuna and bread
- Canned chili and crackers or bread
- Mashed potatoes with canned chicken and instant gravy
- Canned beef stew and rice
- Pasta with tuna and tomatoes
14-Day Emergency Food Supply List
Now, considering all the information above, it should be easier to come up with a useful DIY emergency food supply. To ensure that you can truly come up with meals, your shopping list should be divided into breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Raisin cereal – 2lb
- Dried fruits – 2 bags
- Powdered milk – 4 cans
- Peanut butter – 2 jars
- Rolled oats – 2 bags
- Canned beef, noodles, and veggies – 2 cans
- Condensed tomato soup – 2 cans
- Cream of mushroom soup – 2 cans
- Sausage and chicken stew – 2 cans
- Peanut butter – 2 jars
- Tuna – 4 cans
- Condensed chili with beans – 2 cans
- Instant mash potatoes – 2 bags
- Instant rice – 1lb
- Pasta – 1lb
- Canned chicken – 2 cans
- Canned tuna – 4 cans
- Canned beans – 4 cans
- Canned carrots – 4 cans
- Canned corn – 4 cans
- Canned tomatoes – 4 cans
- Seasoning mix – 3 pouches
- Gravy mix – 2lb
- Powder cheese mix – 1lb
- Granola bars – 20
- Cheese crackers – 1lb
- Peanut butter cookies – 3 packs
- Instant coffee packs
- Orange juice
- Powdered eggs
- Salt and pepper
- Emergency bars
- Meal-replacement shakes
- Drinking water
2 Week Food Supply List Tips
You now know how a 2-week emergency food list should look like, but the following tips and tricks should further help you get the items you can really use. Before grocery shopping, keep the following in mind:
Choose no cooking breakfast and lunches
An important thing to keep in mind is that in most emergency situations, there might be a lack of utilities. Municipalities may close water and natural gas supply due to damage to the pipes. In some cases, you might not even have electricity.
Cooking in these conditions could be troublesome; for these reasons, you should make sure that at least your breakfasts and lunches need no cooking. Indeed, if you have a look at the list above, you’ll notice that most foods on the list can be eaten right out of the can. Sure, they might taste better when heated, but you can do without that.
Avoid glass jars
While our list contains peanut butter jars, you should go for plastic jars instead of glass. Glass is fragile and can break easily. Imagine an earthquake, for example. The chances for the glass jars to shatter are quite high.
Even if there is no quake, you can still drop the jar and break it, resulting in wasted food. Plastic jars are a much better choice, but as a rule of thumb, try to focus as much as possible on getting canned food, or food that comes in boxes or pouches.
Choose quick-cooking foods
Going for a full two-weeks without cooking could be impossible, but you should pick foods with short cooking times. Instant rice and mashed potatoes are a good choice, as they don’t require more than 10 minutes on the heat. Instant meals are easy to cook on an open fire or camping stove, so you will have more opportunities to prepare these meals even if the gas supply is ceased.
Remember the talk about nutrients? Eating the same thing over and over again will not only get you bored but might even prevent you from eating all the necessary nutrients. For this reason, you should rotate the foods and prepare different meals every day.
A simple way to do this is by creating a menu. If cooking is not exactly your passion, the University of Minnesota came up with a full 2-week menu, shopping list, and recipes you can download and use, or adapt to your needs.
Pay attention to the sodium intake
Canned and ready-to-eat meals are your best bets when stockpiling, but the truth is that most of these foods have a lot of salt. Our bodies need salt for the proper functioning of our heart, but too much of it can cause high blood pressure. For this reason, it is recommended to check the sodium content of the food before stockpiling and calculate how much salt goes into your every meal.
In broad terms, adults shouldn’t exceed 6 grams of salt per day – which works out at about 2.4 grams of sodium. Children shouldn’t eat more than 2-5 grams, depending on their age, while infants under 1 year of age should avoid salt altogether even if they’re already eating solids, as sodium is present in both breast milk and formula.
Preserve food in watertight containers
Last but not least, you should pay attention to storage. When stockpiling for emergency situations, you should make sure that your food supply is well preserved. Canned foods can be placed in a cupboard as they are, because they won’t be damaged by a flood or earthquake. If you need more info about canned food expiration date check out this article
However, foods such as cereal and crackers should be placed in watertight, shatter-proof containers.
2 Week Food Supply List FAQ
Q: What foods have the longest shelf life?
When stockpiling for emergencies, you should focus on buying foods with long shelf life, and that don’t have to be stored in a fridge or freezer. Some of your best choices include rice, pasta, hard and soft grains, dried fruits, nuts and seeds, canned foods with long shelf life, powdered cheese, and milk, honey.
Q: How to grocery shop for two weeks?
The best way to grocery shop for two weeks is to create a meal plan and a shopping list with all necessary items. Buy sufficient food for a few extra meals, just in case the emergency period lasts longer, and don’t forget to include household products, such as detergents, soap, cleaning products, etc. In the store, tick off the list every product you bought, to prevent buying the same item twice.
Q: Are frozen foods good for stockpiling?
A quick look at various advices may create confusion when writing a 2-week food supply list. Some sources include frozen foods, while others even include fresh produce or refrigerated foods. The truth is that fresh product, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, can be included in a 2-week emergency plan. However, these items are perishable, so you won’t be able to buy them in advance.
Frozen foods can be stored for a long time, provided that you have a freezer. However, electricity supply is often ceased during emergency situations. In these conditions, frozen foods will thaw, and you’ll most likely have to dispose of them.
With this in mind, we don’t recommend frozen foods for stockpiling. To fill your pantry with things that can keep you alive for two weeks in case of any emergency, you should only buy non-perishable items that can be stored at room temperature.
Hopefully, this two-week food supply list and plan will help you get through any emergency situation with ease.
Have you ever dealt with an emergency situation? How did your food supply list look like?
Feel free to share your thoughts in a comment below; we’d love to hear from you.
And if you find this article useful, don’t forget to share it with your friends. They might want to learn how to stockpile too.