Emergency Food Storage Update: 6 Dinner Options

"soup can" Photo by Steven Depolo. From the Flickr Creative Commons.

I owe my readers an update on my emergency food storage planning. This has turned into an extraordinarily complex project for reasons I had not anticipated. Since I added the additional challenge of trying to only use foods with at least mediocre nutritional value and ones that we would want to eat to improve our diet on a regular basis, it has been shocking to me how much this has complicated the project.

Why is this so hard? A couple of reasons:

  1. It is hard to find nutritional foods that are canned, packaged or have a long shelf life, particularly when you are trying to keep the sodium content low.
  2. Most recipes for nutritional foods use fresh fruits and vegetables, which are nearly impossible to rely on or substitute for in an emergency food plan.
  3. Even when you find nutritional foods, they are often so low in calories and fat that you are not getting enough energy from them to make a full meal. You have to add a lot of supplementary ingredients to get the rest of the way.
  4. It takes time to locate and track the nutritional information for all the foods.

So, I keep taking baby steps forward trying to finish up this emergency food plan by the end of the year. Today’s step is to identify 6 emergency food dinners that we would eat 5 times each to make our 30-day emergency food plan. Each dinner has to consist solely of emergency shelf-stable foods. This is where it gets challenging. After much thought, I came up with the following 6 dinners:

Campbell's Red & White Low Sodium Chicken with Noodles, 10.75-Ounce Cans (Pack of 12) at amazon.com.
1. 1 can Campbell’s Low Sodium Chicken Noodle Soup with drink: 1 8 oz can CVS Liquid Nutrition Vanilla Flavor (~410 calories, 340 mg sodium)>

Galil Stuffed Grape Leaves, 14-Ounces (Pack of 12) at amazon.com.
2. Canned dolmathes (grape leaves stuffed with rice and spices), 3-bean salad consisting of low-sodium canned kidney beans, green beans and garbanzo beans, with drink: 2 5.5 oz cans low sodium V8 juice (~514 calories, 978 mg sodium)

Barilla Whole Grain Spaghetti, 13.25 Ounce Boxes (Pack of 10) at amazon.com.
3. Whole wheat spaghetti with low sodium pasta sauce and canned shrimp with drink: 1 8 oz can CVS Liquid Nutrition Vanilla Flavor (~580 calories, 780 mg sodium)

RiceSelect Original Couscous, 31.7-Ounce Jars (Pack of 4) at amazon.com.
4. Couscous chicken apricot salad from this recipe at busycooks.about.com. The nutritional calculator at sparkpeople gave an estimated calorie count of ~527 calories and 995 mg sodium based on 6 servings per recipe. We haven’t tested the recipe yet but we will and may try to tweak it a bit to get the sodium count down.

HAPPY PHO - Shiitake Mushroom, GLUTEN FREE Vietnamese Brown Rice Pho Noodle Soup, 4.5 oz, 2 SERVINGS Per Box (Pack of 6) at amazon.com.
5. Happy Pho brown rice noodle soup (a healthy alternative to ramen noodles) with raw peanuts and canned shrimp with drink: 2 5.5 oz cans low sodium V8 Juice (~522 calories, 551.5 mg sodium)

7" La Tortilla Factory Smart & Delicious Low Carb High Fiber Whole Wheat Tortillas (Regular Size) at amazon.com.
6. Whole wheat tortillas with low sodium black beans, salsa, black olives and canned chicken (~440 calories, 1580 mg sodium!) The sodium count on this dish is way too high so will have to experiment with it as well to get it down to a reasonable number.

There are a few problems with my selections. Our children may or may not eat all of these meals so my food storage plan may need to count in extra tuna fish or Cheerios for dinners for them. The high sodium counts of certain meals also need some reworking.

What I do like about the selections however is that it gives us some pretty good staple foods to work with for everyday eating. Dolmathes are a great appetizer for parties. Spaghetti we eat all the time and tortillas, couscous and pho would not be very difficult to rotate into our regular regimen. For everyday eating, we would probably use fresh fruits and vegetables, and fresh cheese to liven up these meals.

Like everyone, I am a bit slammed lately with business and personal tasks. I have a lot of fun holiday thoughts to post and may intersperse some quick posts on holiday events with quick posts on emergency food planning. When I post, I will update my Facebook and Twitter accounts and will update the e-mail list subscribers still on the twice weekly basis.

A quick reminder that shipping deadlines are very close upon us so it is time to get any packages into the mail. Also, holiday cards should be posted by December 20th if intended for Christmas delivery. Phew! Hang in there! I am rooting for you!