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Build a 3-Day Emergency Food Supply for $15 with Just These 5 Cheap Foods

FEMA recommends having at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food for emergencies. But figuring out what foods to stockpile is confusing. Terms like “survival food” and “emergency food supply” get over 14,000 monthly searches on Google!

We decided to show how simple (and cheap!) it is to build up an emergency food supply. With just the 5 foods below, you can eat well (okay, well enough) for 3 days.

The foods:

  • Provide ~2500 calories and ~74g protein per day
  • Have long shelf lives
  • Don’t require cooking (but you should really have an emergency stove!)
  • Are mostly healthy
  • Can be combined to create more interesting meals

1. Oatmeal Variety Pack

oatmeal disaster food

How many: 9x1oz pouches
Calories: 990
Protein: 21g
Cost: $2.25

Instant oatmeal pouches already contain powdered milk and flavoring. All you need to do is add water and wait a few minutes, and you’ve got a breakfast. You’ll need three pouches per day to fill you up.

Bored of oatmeal after day one? Combine the oats with item #5 to make energy balls!

2. Ramen

How many: 3x3oz pouches
Calories: 1100
Protein: 24g
Cost: $0.99

While not exactly healthy, ramen is dirt cheap and lasts forever, even without special packaging. Oh, and you don’t even need to cook ramen. My daughter likes to crunch on it raw for snacks! Ramen also tastes great with a glob of #5 added in.

If you have the budget, buy some freeze-dried veggies and add them to the ramen. The meal suddenly becomes more exciting and healthy.

3. Canned Hearty Soup

How many: 3x18oz cans
Calories: 1140
Protein: 54g
Cost: $6.60

Canned goods are perfect for short-term emergencies. They last forever, are pre-cooked, and don’t need water. Try to choose hearty soups with carbohydrates (think chicken noodle soup) or chili mac since they fill you up better. Otherwise, you’ll add item #4 to the soup.

And don’t forget the can opener!!!

4. Crackers

how to store crackers long term

How many: One 11.8oz box
Calories: 1680
Protein: 21g
Cost: $3.50

You’ll need something to snack on while waiting out the emergency. Crackers are a cheap option. So long as crackers stay dry, they won’t go bad – but this is an item you need to rotate through fairly quickly, or they will lose their crunchiness, and you’ll be stuck eating stale crackers!

5. Peanut Butter

how to store peanut butter long term

How many: One 16oz jar
Calories: 2,520
Protein: 98g
Cost: $2.00

Sure, there are other proteins you could stockpile in your food supply (think canned tuna, pouches of chicken, freeze-dried meat…). But, when it comes to price, peanut butter gives you the best bang for your buck. 

Plus, peanut butter is surprisingly versatile. 

  • Add it to the oatmeal for a protein-packed breakfast. 
  • Slather it on the crackers for a heartier snack.
  • PNB +  ramen = Thai-style noodles  

Bonus points for stockpiling hot sauce. PNB + Hot sauce added to almost everything is basically how I survived college!

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