How to Make a Healthy Emergency Kit at Home

How to Make a Healthy Emergency Kit at Home

No matter where you’re from, you’ve likely experienced a natural disaster sometime in your life. Throughout the year (and the country), you’ll find different weather emergencies: From extreme heat to extreme cold; from wildfires to flash flooding; from hurricanes to tornados to earthquakes; from severe snowstorms to heavy rain to baseball-size hail; and more. During storms and emergency events, losing power is common. It can also be more difficult to get the supplies you depend on, including fresh water and healthy food. A healthy emergency kit can help you survive or even thrive no matter what emergency hits your area.

For instance, you may be stuck at home for days or even a week or two. Or you may need to flee from home quickly if evacuated. That’s why it’s important to have not only supplies at home but a “go-bag” prepared. You can build your own kit or buy a pre-built kit. However, many of these emergency kits don’t provide some of the most important survival needs: i.e., water and food.

Most emergencies are fortunately short-lived, and you can find food, water, and other essentials within days. Other emergencies, though, can last a week or more. As you’re preparing your healthy emergency kit, there are several considerations. For instance, you’ll want to take stock of how many people are in your family, group, or household. Don’t forget pets or animals (even if they’re outdoors). You’ll also want to consider dietary restrictions, food preferences, and allergens. And of course, you’ll want to be prepared for the most common events in your area—if you’re on the coast, that may be a hurricane, earthquakes, or flooding. If you’re in (or near) the mountains, that may be a severe snowstorm, a flood, or wildfires.

While many emergency kits lean toward higher-calorie, “comfort” foods, you’ll want to consider your preferred diet. For example, instead of having salt-laden canned foods or carb-heavy comfort foods that may weigh you down, consider foods that provide the nutrients and energy needed for you to deal with the emergency.

Healthy Emergency Kit

Even if you’ll never need the kit (or everything in it), knowing you’re ready to go in case of emergency can give you peace of mind when warnings start blaring.

To ensure you have the supplies you’ll need to survive, create a healthy emergency kit that provides essentials for at least 72 hours. That includes:

  • Water—start with one gallon per person per day
  • Water purifier (or purification tablets)
  • Several days’ worth of non-perishable food, such as:
    • Beans and legumes (dried and/or canned)
    • Brown rice
    • Protein powders
    • Protein-rich bars
    • Canned or dried vegetables and fruits, such as apricots, figs, raisins, olives, tomatoes, carrots, green beans, or asparagus
    • Soup stock or broth
    • Fermented foods (e.g., pickles, sauerkraut)
    • Nutrient-rich powders (e.g., MetaboGreens® or Eternal Reds)
    • Nuts and seeds
    • Oatmeal
    • Whole-grain or bean pasta
    • Granola or granola bars
    • Nut butter(s)
    • Canned fish (e.g., tuna, sardines, mackerel)
    • Canned or dried meat (e.g., canned chicken or jerky)
    • Coffee, tea, or cocoa powder
    • Condiments (like ketchup, mustard)
    • Shelf-stable milk or milk alternative
    • Avocado or olive oil
    • Seasonings

  • Cookstove (with cooking fuel)
  • Cooking pots and utensils (don’t forget a manual can opener)
  • A first-aid kit with band aids, gauze, tweezers, adhesive tape, cotton balls and swaps, antibiotic ointment, thermometer, hydrogen peroxide, etc.
  • Prescription medications and an extra set of eyeglasses or contacts
  • Over-the-counter medications (e.g., anti-inflammatory, antihistamine for pain or allergies, anti-diarrhea medicines, laxatives, aloe vera gel)
  • Vitamins, electrolytes, and supplements you regularly use
  • Personal hygiene items (e.g., toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, hand sanitizer, feminine products)
  • A small bottle of vodka, which can be used to kill germs in cuts and scrapes or sanitize hands
  • Candles with matches (in a waterproof case)
  • Flashlight or lantern
  • Phone charger
  • Battery-powered, solar, or hand-cranked radio
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle or noise maker to signal for help
  • Sleeping bag or emergency blanket for each person
  • Rain or snow gear
  • Gloves
  • Rope
  • Knife and/or scissors
  • Extra clothing (at least extra socks and underwear) and comfortable shoes
  • Multi-tool and duct tape
  • Emergency shelter
  • Dust mask
  • Local maps
  • Emergency phone numbers, including family members—since many of us rely on our cell phones for saved numbers—and medical team
  • Pet food
  • Copies of important documents (e.g., proof of insurance, passports, bank account information, etc.)
  • Cash
  • Paper and pencil or pens

While it’s tempting to set it and forget it, when it comes to your healthy emergency kit, you’ll want to check it at least once and preferably twice a year to ensure the food and drink stay fresh. You may also need to update the kit as your family changes. For instance, if you have young children, you’ll want extra baby food or formula and diapers. As they grow, you may want to add games to keep them occupied and have some of their favorite snacks.

You’ll also want to check to make the batteries are charged, and the extra clothing still fits and is comfortable. This is also a good time to freshen up clothing and blankets and ensure no critters have contaminated your healthy emergency kit.

Finally, you’ll also want to make sure everyone in the family knows where the kit is and what it looks like. Just make sure your gear is stored in a cool, dry place. And if you need to leave, make sure it’s portable and can be tossed into your car (in a crate, for example) or carried on your back.

Healthy Emergency Kit: A Wrap-Up

Many of us have pleasant memories of a snow day when we’re stuck at home for several hours or even a day or two, especially if we had everything we needed to weather the storm. But if you’re stuck without adequate power or food for days, a week, or more, it can be highly stressful. Fortunately, putting together a healthy emergency kit doesn’t take a lot of time or money, and it can ensure you and your family have what you need to stay hydrated, fed, clean, and safe if you’re stuck at home or need to evacuate quickly. It could even save your life or the life of a loved one.