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The Ultimate Food Prepping List: Long Shelf-Life Foods for Emergency

The Ultimate Food Prepping List: Long Shelf-Life Foods for Emergency

In an emergency, feeding your body will look very different than it does on a regular basis—consider how an emergency fund differs from a savings account. A disease outbreak (such as the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020) makes it all the more important to maintain good health by eating nutritious foods. 

In addition, since you’ll only have a limited amount of food as per your emergency prepping food supplies, the better the food you eat might be, and the less you eat, the better. You should eat high-protein, high-energy foods, as you will likely have higher energy expenditure during your emergency plan. 

It’s important to anticipate what may happen given the instability of the world economy. Food and water are our lifelines, and we need to prepare for the future rather than just address tomorrow’s needs. In short- and long-term emergencies, having long-term food stored at home is also beneficial, and a food list will help you gather it.

You will certainly lessen the stress most other people will feel if you store food for the next few years. Despite the events in the world, you probably won’t starve to death when there is a food shortage and can still live a good life despite it. 

You probably prefer this scenario to alternatives, which means it’ll make sense to store up food that lasts the longest on the shelf. The best way to eat healthily is to rotate foods as you eat them and purchase food in bulk whenever you can, and this 1 year food storage list will help you find the best options.

The Pantry Essentials You Should Always Have

When food prepping, you can store these non-perishable items (or similar items) for a long time, even when hurricane season or tornado season isn't here. Maintain your stockpile by keeping track of all the items and checking the expiration dates every 6 to 12 months. 

Make sure you always have a can opener on hand as well. All that food will be wasted if you cannot open it. 

We’ve curated an a to z food list of all these pantry essentials that you may consider having in an emergency.


1. Whole-wheat crackers

Bread can be replaced with crackers and make a fine substitute for sandwiches. Since whole-grain crackers contain more fat than plain ones, their shelf life is shorter (check the expiration date on the box), but the fiber makes up for it when you're particularly hungry. You can prolong the freshness of your crackers by vacuum-packing them.

You can increase the value of your purchase by purchasing a family-sized box of 100% whole-grain Wheat Thins. With the toasted crackers, you get a bit more in the way of health benefits. They're also free of high-fructose corn syrup.

2. Peanut butter

Peanut butter contains healthy fats and proteins, making it an excellent source of energy. If the jar does not say otherwise, you do not need to refrigerate it.

Buying the 26-ounce jars of Teddie All Natural Super Chunky peanut butter will give you the most bang for your buck. It is gluten-free, vegan-friendly, and all-natural, which makes it the perfect option for all types of groups. At only 26 cents per ounce, it is also an accessible option.

3. Nuts and trail mixes

During a hurricane, tornado, or other emergencies, you can snack on these highly nutrient-dense foods. Nuts should be packaged in vacuum-packed containers, though, to prevent oxidation and loss of freshness.

4. Cereal

Select multigrain cereals that come in individual packages to avoid staleness after opening.

5. Dried fruits, such as raisins and apricots

The potassium and dietary fiber in these healthy snacks compensate for a loss of fresh fruit. You can obtain a significant amount of nutrients and calories from dried fruits.

If you want that nutrition, you'll want to pick up a variety box of Crispy Fruit. You'll find freeze-dried apple, Asian pear, and tangerine packets inside. Each pack contains only fruit, without preservatives, sweeteners, or additives of any kind.

6. Granola bars and power bars

These portable snacks are healthy and filling. They usually stay fresh for at least six months. They are also an excellent source of carbohydrates. You can get a lot of energy from carbohydrates without consuming tons of food.

7. Canned soups and chili

Several nutrients are provided by soups and chili straight from the can. Select ones with low sodium content.

8. Turkey, tuna, salmon, or chicken in a can

Meats in cans are a great source of protein, as they generally last for at least two years. Diane Van, manager of the USDA meat and poultry hotline, says vacuum-packed pouches, meanwhile, have a short shelf life but will last at least six months.

Additionally, vacuum-sealed packages may be a good alternative if you don't have a can opener. The safest brand of wild tuna on the market is Safe Catch Wild Tuna, which is perfect for pregnant women and even children. It has the lowest mercury content of any brand on the market. 

9. Green beans, peas, and carrots available in cans

You can easily get essential nutrients from canned varieties when fresh produce isn't an option, making them a great food option for hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters. Libby's cans of mixed vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals to provide optimum nutrition. With peas, carrots, corn, lima beans, and green beans inside each can, you can prepare well-balanced food prepping meals from the jar.

10. Pasta sauces and dry pasta

Although pasta is carb-heavy and gluten-filled, it is extremely filling, and dried pasta and jarred sauce last for months on a pantry shelf. You can find gluten-free pasta, chickpea-based pasta, or another pasta that meets your dietary restrictions.

11. Powdered milk

For times when fresh milk isn't available, stock up on this calcium and vitamin D substitute instead. NOW Foods offers organic, resealable options. If stored in a cool, dry place, its product can last several months once opened and is flash-pasteurized to give it a superior flavor. 

12. Gatorade, Powerade, or similar sports drinks

You can hydrate when water is scarce with these drinks, which contain electrolytes and carbohydrates. If you choose a sports drink, just make sure it does not contain too many artificial sweeteners or sugar. Consider Nooma, an electrolyte-enhanced drink that comes in four amazing flavors and is made with coconut water, natural salt, and kelp.

13. Multivitamins

Adding supplements to your diet can help replace what you would normally consume. However, vitamins do not need to be boring. 

SmartyPants offers an assortment of delicious fruity gummies. Featuring omega-3s, folate, and a full day's worth of vitamins, the gummy provides comprehensive coverage.

14. Salt, sugar, and pepper

You may be cooking on a propane or charcoal stove if you have access to one. If so, fresh and packaged foods will taste better if you have a basic supply of seasonings and sweeteners.

15. Bottled water

You need at least one gallon of water per person per day, so it's best to stock up at least three days’ worth in advance. Normal daily water consumption should be half a gallon for an active person. The other half gallon should be used to wash and add to food.

Make sure everyone stays hydrated by purchasing a case of water with added minerals. Enhanced with electrolytes, Essentia's bottled water promotes hydration and improves taste.

Best Foods For Prepping Right Before an Emergency


Even if you've been given plenty of notice that a hurricane is on the way, you should still head to the market to pick up hurricane food: fresh fruit and vegetables. The majority of these foods will last for a week or more after they're purchased and will offer an alternative to packaged food. You'll be adding a few days to the life of your fruits and vegetables if you visit your local farmers' market; because the produce is fresher there than at the grocery store, you can grab it there. Here is a prepping food list of items that you can buy right before you encounter an emergency/natural disaster:

1. Apples

Keeping apples in a cool, dry place away from perishable fruits (like bananas) can make them last up to three months.

2. Oranges, grapefruits, and other citrus fruits

Citrus fruits, due to their acidic content and sturdy skin, can be stored without refrigeration for up to two weeks, especially if they are not ripe. Fruits that contain vitamin C, such as oranges and grapefruits, help to keep you hydrated.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes can be kept at room temperature for several days if bought unripe.

4. Avocados

When you buy an avocado that is unripe and firm, it will last for at least one week outside the refrigerator.

5. Yams, potatoes, and sweet potatoes

With a working stove, you can keep these root vegetables for a long time and make them into tasty dishes. As long as the potatoes are stored in a cool, dark place, they'll last about a month.

6. Summer squash and cucumbers

Vegetables such as these can last in the open air for a few days without refrigeration.

7. Winter squash

Many winter squashes are inedible uncooked, but acorn squash, for example, can be kept for a few months. In case you'll be able to cook during the crisis, make sure you have plenty on hand.

8. Soppressata, pepperoni, and other hard, packaged sausages

There is a limit to how long you can eat canned tuna and chicken. Store some dry-cured salamis in your pantry, such as soppressata, a southern Italian specialty available at most groceries. They can be stored in the pantry unopened for up to six weeks.

Best Prepping Food to Stock in Your Pantry With Long Shelf Lives

1. Canned vegetables, fruits, and beans

How long they last: Up to six years

How to store these canned goods: Store them in a cupboard.

It is possible to store canned goods after they have passed their best-before date; however, they taste better when they are consumed before that date. There's no need to throw away a can of fruit that's six months past its expiration date if you have some in the back of the pantry. You can still eat it or add it to a recipe that calls for canned fruit.

Do not eat anything inside a dented or bulging can, though. For your safety, you should avoid cans in poor shape as they may indicate that the contents have not been preserved properly.

2. Bouillon

How long it lasts: Two years

How to store it: Store them in a dark pantry.

Bouillon is an alternative option if you do not have room to store several containers of broth. Adding this broth starter to water before starting a soup or adding it to sauces can add flavor.

3. Dark Chocolate

How long it lasts: Two years

How to store it: If it has been opened, keep it wrapped in its original packaging at or below room temperature.

Dark chocolate holds its freshness longer than any other kind of chocolate. If you like milk chocolate or white chocolate, you should eat it within a year. 

4. Corn Starch

How long it lasts: Forever

How to store it: Keep in the original container and keep it in a dark, cool place away from moisture. As soon as cornstarch comes into contact with water, it begins to dissolve. Keeping cornstarch dry will preserve it indefinitely, so stock up on this all-natural thickener right now.

5. Raisins, cranberries and other dried fruits

How long they last: A year or more

How to store these dried fruits: Keep them sealed in their original packaging or transfer them to air-tight food prepping containers. Putting them in the freezer can prolong their shelf life by six months.

A good way to snack and bake with dried fruits is to keep them on hand. Some of the best dried fruit food prepping recipes include cranberries, apricots, and much more.

6. Dry Beans, lentils and legumes

How long they last: Forever

How to store them: Dehydrate beans and lentils and store them in tightly sealed containers.

If you cook dried legumes after their best-by date, they will become even drier, so you will have to cook them a bit longer. You shouldn't have to spend much extra time cooking your dried beans if you are using an Instant Pot.

7. Grains

How long they last: Up to eight years

How to store them: Place them in an airtight container in the pantry.

If you are going to buy grains like quinoa, millet, barley, flax, rye, and grits, it makes sense to buy them in bulk. The best way to store all of these grains is in airtight containers.

8. Dried Pasta

How long it lasts: Up to three years

How to store it: Use an airtight container to store dried pasta.

Purchasing pasta in a sealed plastic bag makes it easy to store in the pantry. To ensure your pasta lasts as long as possible, you should transfer pasta that is packaged in a cardboard box into a sealed container.

9. Instant Coffee

How long it lasts: About 25 years in the pantry, longer in the freezer

How to store instant coffee: It should be kept dry. Use the original container or keep it in an airtight container.

10. Jams and jellies

How long they last: Two years if unopened, six months if opened

How to store them: Place them in the pantry if they have not been opened. After you've opened a jar, store it in the refrigerator.

Jams and jellies allow you to enjoy great fruit flavor, even in the offseason.

11. Maple Syrup

How long it lasts: Up to a year once opened, forever if unopened

How to store maple syrup: Place sealed bottles of syrup in the pantry. Opened bottles should be stored in the refrigerator.

12. Jerky

How long it lasts: Up to two years

How to store it: Store it in a dark pantry.

You can buy extra beef jerky if it is unopened and still in the package since it lasts for a long time. However, homemade jerky has a different shelf life. It needs to be consumed in a few weeks.

13. Molasses

How long it lasts: Up to 10 years if unopened, up to five once opened

How to store molasses: You can keep your molasses in the pantry with the rest of your baking supplies. Make sure the cap is on tight.

14. Packaged tuna

How long it lasts: Up to five years

How to store canned tuna: Store it in a pantry or a cupboard.

The love-hate relationship with tuna can be hard to navigate; however, tuna lovers can comfort themselves by knowing that tuna can be stored for up to five years. Packaged tuna can be stored for three years.

15. Oils

How long do they last: Up to two years

How to store them: Store them in the pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.

Some cooking oils can keep in the pantry for several years if left unopened. If stored in a dark place, canola oil, peanut oil, olive oil, and vegetable oil will last a long time. If you open these oils, you should use them within a few months.

Those who prefer sprayable cooking oil have two years to use it.

16. Pickles and pickled vegetables

How long they last: Unopened for four years, for one year if opened and refrigerated

How to store pickles: Keep jars of pickles and other pickled vegetables in your pantry until they are opened. Keep the jar in the fridge once you have opened it.

It is possible to store canned pickles for at least two years past their best-by date. It is best to eat quick pickles and refrigerator pickles, though, soon after they are made. Double-check what you have on hand before eating.

17. Ramen noodles

How long they last: Two years

How to store them: Store them at room temperature in their packaging.

The good thing about having ramen on hand is that it is always convenient. It can be made as directed on the package, stirred into soup, or used in creative ways.

18. Popcorn

How long does it last: Forever

How to store popcorn kernels: Put them in a closed container in the cupboard.

Popcorn purchased in bulk will never expire, so you can buy it anytime you want. 

19. Raw Honey

How long it lasts: Forever

How to store it: Put it in a jar tightly sealed to prevent humidity from ruining it.

There is no doubt that only the real deal will last forever. Make sure you are buying real honey and do not fall prey to fakes.

20. Salt

How long it lasts: Forever

How to store salt: Keep it cool, dark, and dry in an environment where temperatures are constant.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the impact of food processing on the shelf life of foods?

You can preserve food using many different methods. Curing, pickling, pasteurizing, dehydrating, freeze-drying, and heating food are all methods of processing food. The purpose of processing is to extend the shelf life of food while ensuring its nutritional value over an extended period of time. The packaging which seals the product is also an important factor when it comes to shelf life. The nitrogen used to remove oxygen from food packages for long-term storage is followed by the addition of an oxygen absorbent. Packages of this type are guaranteed to last for 30 years or more when stored in cool, dark places.

2. Why does food sometimes spoil faster?

Any given food product may have a different shelf life depending on a number of variables. Factors such as humidity, oxygen, heat, light, bacteria (especially mold), and insects or rodents play a significant role.

3. What is the best way to store food for maximum shelf life?

Creating a sterile environment is the most important factor in food preservation, eliminating the presence of both oxygen and moisture. Water density makes it almost impossible to do this with certain products, of course. Those products' shelf life is typically shorter than that of a product containing less moisture.

A product can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer for a longer period of time, but it may lose its nutritional value or flavor.

Food stays fresh for a longer period of time if kept away from light, moisture, heat, and oxygen. Typically, this is in a basement or pantry where the temperature is maintained all year. The garage usually has greater temperature fluctuations than the home, so it is recommended that shelf-stable foods be stored inside.

4. How should I store food for my family?

Buying food that you already eat is a good idea. Buy extra items whenever you shop. You can store them at the back of the pantry or cabinets and use older food first. Be sure to rotate your food supplies regularly to keep them fresh. You should not purchase an expensive supply of dehydrated food that will store for 10 years. Not only will they be difficult to store, but they will also take a good deal of water to rehydrate.


Remember that being a prepper involves tremendous amounts of patience. As you go through this process, you need to remain calm and collected to ensure all the details that we tried to help you with are covered. Don't rush building up your food supply, but instead, do it with patience and care, as you would your empire. 

You should ensure that you execute your plan in a manner that will please your family and assure you that you can put food on the table in the event of a disaster. I hope you're going to take full advantage of the tips and suggestions mentioned in this article.

This blog is intended to assist you in determining the best prepping foods to keep for long-term storage for your family. We have written the 1 year food supply list above while taking into consideration the packaging and unopened state of the foods discussed above. It goes without saying that anything open and exposed to fluctuating temperatures will have a much shorter shelf life.

Whenever you are unsure about the safety of food, consider your health first. Trust your gut instinct. Everyone agrees that it is better to avoid going to the hospital as much as possible.

Also, it is better to donate shelf-stable food to your local pantry than to throw it away if it is still safe to eat. Bless someone who is in need!

Preppers, good luck with your prep!

Is there anything we missed? Share your thoughts below!


Seis, R., & Kaminski, L. (2020, August 18). 32 Long Shelf Life Foods to Keep In Your Pantry.

Tamara, N. (n.d.). The Complete List of Long-Lasting Survival Foods + FREE Printable.

Global Brands Magazine. (n.d.). 17 Long Shelf Life Foods You Can Stock Up On For Any Emergency - Global Brands Magazine.

33 Long Shelf Life Foods That Won’t Go Bad for Years. (2020, April 8). Eat This Not That.

Article by Sam Fury

Sam Fury 3 png
Sam Fury 3 png

Sam Fury is the creator and owner of the Survival Fitness Plan.

He has had a passion for martial arts and outdoor pursuits since he was a young boy growing up in Australia.

As a young adult he joined the military and studied outdoor leadership in college. After that, to further his skills, Sam started traveling to learn from the best in the world in various fields related to the Survival Fitness Plan including various martial arts in China, SE Asia and Brazil, Parkour in Singapore, Surf Life Saving in Australia, and others. 

These days, he still enjoys learning new things, traveling and sharing what he has learned via the Survival Fitness Plan. 

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