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Preparing a 2-week emergency food supply

If you and your family need to prepare for two weeks or more of food, pay attention to nutrition needs. Plan food supplies so you all can eat at least one well-balanced meal each day. 

Learn to plan nutritious meals and snacks using MyPlate. 

Add to the number of basic foods you normally keep on your shelves. You may find that you have a two-week supply of most staples if you go through your cupboards. So, before you shop, take an inventory of what you already have.

Write a plan

  • Make a list of all family members by name and include any special needs like diabetes and allergies.
  • List all staple foods on your shelves now.
  • List all foods in your freezer.
  • Make a list of meals to be served for each day for 14 days.
  • Use this 14-day meal plan that was developed for emergencies by UMN Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships.

Foods that keep on the shelf or in the fridge or freezer

Heat and serve meals, like frozen dinners or canned soup, need little or no preparation. Dehydrated or freeze-dried foods are lightweight and don't take up much room in the cupboard.

Plan nutritionally balanced meals. Camping supply stores are good sources for some compact, well-preserved foods that are good choices for emergency preparedness kits.

Keep extra food in the freezer or pantry if there is enough space.

 

Keep on the shelf, in the cupboard or pantry

  • Infant formula and baby food
  • Bottled, canned or boxed juice
  • Shelf-stable milk: dried milk, evaporated milk or UHT milk (Ultra-high temperature processed sold in boxes)
  • Ready to eat cereals, oatmeal and granola
  • Crackers and melba toast
  • Peanut butter, jelly and honey
  • Dried fruits, nuts and trail mixes
  • Snack, protein and energy bars
  • Dried soup mixes
  • Rice, barley or other dried grains
  • Dried beans
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meats such as tuna, salmon and chicken
  • Soup and broth - low sodium if available
  • Beans such as kidney and black beans
  • Ready-to-eat stews and soups

Keep in the refrigerator

  • Eggs
  • Milk 
  • Yogurt

Keep in the freezer

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Meat
  • Bread

 

Two-week menu kit

Buying 14 days or more worth of food can be a financial stretch. Take the guesswork out of what to purchase by using this 14-day menu kit.

Use the checkboxes on the shopping list (you can download and print) to determine what you have on-hand and what you need. For example, you may already have staple foods such as flour, vinegar and spices in the home. 

Use this menu kit as a guide

Food and taste preferences are very personal and cultural. If you follow a special diet, have food allergies, require kosher or halal foods, or have other food needs, you will need to make substitutions.

What's important are the amounts.

Substitutions can be made while keeping the amounts to purchase. For example, if you prefer cauliflower over Brussels sprouts, purchase one bag of frozen cauliflower rather than one bag of frozen Brussels sprouts. Base your purchase on your preference or on what is available. The shopping list mainly includes non-perishable, canned foods with some perishable foods that are easy to find and store.

The recipes are easy to prepare, and make enough for leftovers to be used for the next days' meals.

  • The 14-day menu is designed for two people.
  • Meets basic nutrition needs including calories, protein, vitamin C and fiber.
  • A multi-vitamin is recommended to meet full nutritional needs.

To adapt for four people:

  • Multiply canned fruit amounts by two.
  • Multiply perishable items such as milk or eggs depending on what your household usually uses.
  • Recipes should feed four to six adults.
  • Consider preparing recipes from the kit a couple of times since you won't have as many leftovers.
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Recipes from the menus

The shopping list includes the ingredients to these recipes.

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Adapted by Abby Gold, health and nutrition program leader

Reviewed in 2020

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