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Author of What to Eat When You’re Broke and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course
Here on The Organic Prepper, most of us are fans of healthy food. But sometimes, you just need to keep yourself fed while on the move. As I travel, there are a few instant foods that I regularly use when going from one place to the next. These food items are also great for including in your bug-out bag or your at-work emergency bag.
You can run the gamut with these items, from clean and organic to the least expensive ones on the market. It all depends on your situation and your requirements.
As always, I must share this disclaimer: not all suggestions will work for all readers. If you are on a special diet, some of these foods may not be for you. This does not render the entire list useless for others.
Without further ado, here are the foods I always keep in my emergency stash for a quick meal when away from home. You can mix and match these to create a meal with some protein and some carbs. Some require boiling water, and others do not. All of these items can easily be found at just about any grocery store. While there are many fantastic options you can buy that are just for preppers or the military, they often cost a whole lot more and are not as quickly available as the items suggested here.
I have eaten instant oatmeal since I was a kid. Sure, the slow-cooked, steel-cut oats with creamy fresh milk and maple syrup taste better. But I’ve spent many a morning at a new Airbnb or hotel room dining on Quaker Maple Brown Sugar and a peanut butter sandwich.
You can get instant oatmeal in many different flavors – the choice is up to you. You may also want to dress it up with your nuts or trail mix, or add some apple sauce to it. You can go with the classic Quaker (or the generic version) or you can get a better quality brand like Nature’s Path or Better Oats. There are also high-protein oatmeal packets available out there in oatmeal-land that will give you a more powerful start to your day.
Peanut butter packs
I love PB right out of the package, and if you do too, you’ll enjoy having this addition of healthy fats and protein in your bag. You can get little tubs of peanut butter that are great for dipping, or you can also grab tubes of it that range anywhere from Skippy to Justin’s. (This honey-almond butter is also delish!)
Tuna is an easily portable, high-protein food. Due to mercury content, you don’t want to eat it all day, every day, but having it here and there isn’t generally considered to be harmful. I prefer my portable stash to be in pouches which are far lighter than cans.
Some pouches are just plain tuna packed in your choice of water or oil. Others have seasonings and even mayo in them but are still shelf-stable until opened. Honestly, I don’t like to get too crazy with the flavors. I’d rather just have some salt, pepper, and mayo from my condiment stash or eat it plain.
Starkist has some pouches called Smart Bowls that are tuna, quinoa, beans, and seasonings. I’ve only tried the Latin Citrus flavor but it was reasonably tasty and nutritious.
Salmon and chicken can also be found in pouches at varying price points.
Depending on the brand, some dry soup mixes are pretty darned good. If you get the cheap cup-a-soup types, don’t expect to be filled up. But if you can find one with beans, instant rice or pasta, and some veggies, this along with another snack can be reasonably satisfying. A lot of people really like Ramen packets – it’s not my favorite because it’s got SO MANY additives but this is your bag, not mine.
Tubes of instant bone broth are also growing in popularity as a nutritious addition to a meal. Some of the best soup mixes can be found in your ethnic food aisle at the grocery store.
I’m not a black coffee drinker. Give me the cream or barista oat milk. Give me the sugar. Make it like a rich, creamy dessert, and I’m all in. So, I always keep individual packets of instant cappuccino on hand.
Nescafe has a regular cappuccino that is widely available and foams up nicely, as well as a caramel latte. Starbucks has an instant brand called Via. There are also variety packs available if you like your drinks flavored.
For those who don’t care about the bells and whistles, packets of instant coffee can be a great addition.
Look, none of us coffee aficionados wants to be left without our caffeine fix. Shoving a few of these into your bag can really save your morning.
Apple sauce tubes
I like to have some fruits or veggies, but if you’re on the move, it’s not always that easy. That’s why I keep some lightweight tubes of unsweetened apple sauce on hand. Apple sauce is available in tubes, “squeeze packs,” pouches, and little plastic tubs.
The tubes and squeeze packs are a nice, utensil-free way to get your fruit fix. If you grab pouches or tubs, be sure you included a spoon in your bag.
Nuts, candy, or trail mix
Sometimes we just need a quick fix that we can eat on the move. Trail mix is called trail mix for a reason – it’s designed to nourish you while you are walking. If that’s your situation (or if it could be), it’s wise to include some single-serving packets of nuts or trail mix. I like the combo of some carbs with the fat/protein of nuts, so I prefer trail mix.
Or, you can pack some of my beloved peanut M&Ms. I know, not very organic, but they make an excellent bug-out snack. You can put some of those in your pocket and munch on carbs, fat, and protein while you’re walking through any setting. You’ll basically never find me without a packet of peanut M&Ms stashed away.
There are other things you may want to add to your on-the-go snack pack to go along with your instant foods.
I like to stash restaurant condiments with my food. Salt, pepper, mayo, ketchup, sugar, and soy sauce all help make the food items less boring.
A fork and spoon make a great addition. Again, I turn to a restaurant stash. When I order delivery, it inevitably comes with a little packet containing plastic flatware. Shove a couple of those in your bag too.
Some wet wipes are also nice to have for before and after you eat. Before so you don’t die of some dreadful illness because you had dirty hands, and after so that you don’t wander off with messy hands.
What are your favorite instant foods?
Do you have any other instant foods (or near-instant ones) that you include in your bug-out bag, office snack drawer, or day-to-day carry? Do you like or dislike the suggestions here? What additional things would you suggest?
Let’s talk about it in the comments section.
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites. 1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2) The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.
Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.