What You Should Include in Your Vegan Emergency Food Kits
When stocking your vegan food supply in preparation for an unexpected emergency or disaster, it’s rather easy to toss comfort items (including food) to the wayside when faced with the prospect of a survival situation.
Dietary preferences, for example, often seem superfluous when the alternative is starving to death. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot properly prepare your vegetarian food stores given enough time and dedication to the effort.
If you are vegetarian (or subscribe to a vegan-esque dietary program), you can begin stocking up on your vegan emergency food supply today, and you won’t have to sacrifice your dietary needs should that disaster or emergency situation come knocking on your door tomorrow.
Vegan Emergency Food Supply List
The first thing to understand about stockpiling vegetarian food is that the principles that are applicable here are pretty much shared among those that apply for most other (non-vegetarian) food options:
- Food should be preserved in an airtight container such as a Mylar bag and stored in food-grade plastic buckets with Gamma Seal lids
- Store foodstuff in a dark, cool place to increase their viability. This could be a basement, root cellar or underground shelter
- If dried or dehydrated foods are part of the deal, be sure to include extra drinking water portioned out for each respective meal
- Be sure to check the expiration date on all products and rotate or replace any that need replacing when necessary
Now that we’ve addressed the basics of food prepping and their storage, here’s a list of some vegan foods you should have in your emergency food supply.
Vegan Foods to Stockpile
Below is a quick and convenient list of the vegan food categories that you are sure to want to stock for a vegan emergency food kit:
Meal options for vegans are virtually endless, though admittedly, some meals may need a bit more preparation than others. However, if you are ready to invest some sweat equity, then here are some of the most nutritious and tasty vegan foods to stockpile.
List of Produce
- Vegetables: You will need vegetables, regardless if you’re a vegetarian or not. As a vegan, you can choose to go about this in two ways – The first way is to stock fresh vegetables such as root veggies, tomatoes and cruciferous veggies. These, however, won’t last you that long; a couple of days or perhaps a week at the most with proper storage.
For a longer period, consider buying canned veggies. These low-sodium options last much longer. Pro-tip: Use potato flakes that can later be turned into a mashed potato meal with your vegetables.
- Fermented veggies: The second way is to stockpile pickles and items like sauerkraut and kimchi (if you have the predilection for it). These food options are excellent for digestion as they provide your body with not only essential vitamins (A, B, and C) but also much needed probiotics.
This “good bacteria”, also called lactobacilli, aids in keeping your gut healthy and assists in preventing bowel complications such as diarrhea (yes, we went there).
- Fruits: In addition to vegetables, you will also want to include fresh fruit options such as plantains, oranges, apples and bananas. However, as is the case with vegetables, fresh fruits won’t last you very long which is why investing in canned fruit (either bought or homemade) is strongly recommended.
- Freeze-dried fruits and veggies: Freeze-dried fruits and vegetables are an excellent choice when thinking more long term (20+ years). With the ability to still deliver maximum vitamins and nutrients years after being freeze-dried, fruits like berries can be pulsed with a blender into a powder and sprinkled over your oatmeal and cereal.
This can really jazz up your meal with a terrific flavor profile and a nutritional boost! Like freeze-dried fruits, freeze-dried vegetables also last much longer (decades in some cases) and are an excellent option for when you have no fresh produce.
- Herbs: You can root herbs in pots if you have the space. However, it’s often much easier to dry them out and preserve them in that state as they take up very little space and are virtually maintenance free, unlike their potted counterparts.
A word of caution: dried herbs tend to have a deeper, much more robust and meaningful flavor than fresh herbs. Take this into account when creating dishes that have gentle flavor profiles as less is definitely more in this case!
List of Grains
For health reasons, it’s often best to opt for whole grains instead of refined grains. The reason essentially boils down to the level of macro and micro nutrients lost when refining processed grains. In short, millers will add secondary sources of vitamins, minerals and nutrients, thereby “enriching” and “fortifying” the grain in the end process.
Whole grains, on the other hand, retain all of their nutritional value due in part to not being processed, but also because they retain much of the “good stuff” that comes with whole grains, primarily being low in fat and high in fiber. Regardless of the grains you decide to stockpile and store, it’s important to choose carefully to ensure that they are not made with or contain dairy product additives.
- Rice: Without a doubt, this has to be the easiest and most convenient type of grain to both prepare and store. Rice is ubiquitous and recognized as being extremely versatile, making for a delicious side dish to any meal you prepare.
Proper storage of dry rice is key to stop pests from ruining your stockpile, while keeping stored rice from light and moisture will prevent the rice from gaining off flavors.
You can easily increase the shelf life of dry rice by storing it in an air tight container, extending the longevity of dry rice by up to one year or more, providing that proper storage techniques are observed.
- Pasta: Any pasta that is to be stockpiled in the event of a disaster or emergency should be egg and dairy free. While you can purchase noodles that are vegan compliant at the grocery store, you can also make your own.
An equally delicious alternative to traditional pastas are rice noodles which can be an easy replacement in most pasta dishes.
- Oatmeal: In addition to the obvious health benefits that oats offer (gluten-free, high in fiber, plethora of antioxidants), oats are perfect for disaster situations as they are very easy to prepare and store.
Steel cuts oats are generally preferred to rolled oats, as steel cut oats contain higher concentrations of fiber and protein than rolled or processed oats.
As with the storage of any dry foodstuff, ensure an airtight container is used, and that the oats are kept from light and moisture. When properly stored, the shelf life of oats can exceed 18 months. Other options in lieu of oats include quinoa, ground flax seed and cereal grains.
List of Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are an excellent (and obvious) addition to any emergency food supply or stockpile. They are an extremely reliable source of energy, have an incredible shelf life and are easy to preserve as long as you keep them dry in an airtight sealed container.
Aside from emergency or survival implications, an important component to consuming nuts and seeds as a vegetarian dietary option is that nuts and seeds provide important (and critical) micro and macro nutrients when combined with a strict plant-based diet.
As consuming animal and animal byproducts goes against the ethos of what it is to be vegetarian, nuts and seeds help bridge the gap where protein, Omega-3s, iron, zinc and calcium are traditionally consumed from animal products.
On your list, you might include the following nuts and seeds below, and although not an exhaustive list, these are just a few examples of the options available and some of their notable benefits:
- Nuts: Walnuts (very high in Omega-3s), almonds, peanuts (high in protein), Brazil nuts (contains the needed mineral selenium), cashews, hazelnuts
- Seeds: Pumpkin (extremely nutritional), chia (sustained energy), sunflower, hemp, sesame (high in calcium), flax (high in Omega-3s)
List of Legumes
You simply can’t do without beans. What will you use to make vegan chili? The primary advantage with beans (other than their extraordinary nutritional value) is that they are easy to store! Simply order a few pounds of your preferred dried beans and store them in a food grade plastic bucket with a Gamma Seal lid.
For those that have sodium intake limitations, you could opt for a few cans of low-sodium beans to start off with and leave the dried beans for later on if you are stockpiling for a prolonged period of time.
There is an exceptional number of legumes at your disposal to supplement your vegetarian diet during an emergency or disaster situation. Many of these bean and pea options, much like seeds and nuts, provide specific types of macro and micro nutrients.
Some legumes, like fava beans, are considered by many to be such a nutritional powerhouse that they are a must-have in a regular diet, regardless of the implications of stockpiling them for an emergency.
Below is a list of popular legumes and some of their health benefits that you may want to consider storing. This list is by no means exhaustive; there are plenty of options out there, all with their own macro and micro nutritional values.
At the end of the day, it’s really up to you and your family’s nutritional needs that will dictate the types of legumes you choose to store.
- Beans: Garbanzo (also called chickpeas, high in fiber and protein), kidney beans (high in folate and thiamine), black beans (high in magnesium), soybeans (high in manganese and iron), pinto (high in copper), lima (high levels of antioxidants)
- Peas: Green peas (very low in fat), snow peas (high in folic acid), snap peas (high in vitamin C), split peas (high in protein), black-eyed peas (very high vitamin B-9 levels)
List of Snacks, Spreads and Drinks
As with any emergency or disaster situation, having enough fresh, potable water on hand for drinking and cooking is essential for survival.
Just because you have gallons of water stockpiled does not mean you should ignore having reliable water filters and purifiers on hand. These crucial items should always be on your short list no matter how much water you have stored.
Coupled with the above, you should also include a variety of (healthy) snacks, which will assist in keeping spirits and morale high during an emergency.
This is especially important for kiddos who will undoubtedly be stressed and frightened, so it’s always best to have something readily available to provide that sense of comfort to them.
The options listed below are just a small sampling of what is available for the vegetarian preparing their food kit for an emergency or disaster:
- Drinks and Spreads:
- Nut milk (almond milk)
- Seed milk
- Coconut water
- Homemade nut butter
- Seed butter
Apart from the basics that we just mentioned, you might also want to include other additional items such as:
- Nutritional Yeast: A highly nutritious food that has a cheese-like flavor. It’s used in a lot of vegan recipes and is high in vitamin B12!
- Protein Powder: Believe it or not, there are many different options to choose from when it comes to vegan-approved protein powders. This article contains a list of many of the more popular options available to vegetarians.
- Salt: We are all familiar with the natural purity that you can get with pink Himalayan salt. This type of salt is 98% similar to regular table salt, however, pink Himalayan salt is largely unprocessed and contains no additives such as sodium aluminosilicate or magnesium carbonate (artificial anti-clumping agents).
- Sweeteners: This will depend on your preference towards the use of natural and/or artificial sweeteners in general. For the former, you could buy maple syrup (or make your own!), the latter, Stevia.
And finally, spices, seasonings and (most importantly) multi-vitamins (primarily vitamins D and B12) should make your list. Be sure to store all your foods in clean, food-grade plastic containers and in a cool, dry place. This will ensure their shelf life and assist in keeping your vegan emergency food kit preserved and viable when an emergency or disaster strikes.
What do you think of our write-up? Did we get it right? Feel that we got it super wrong? Tell us! Feel free to reach out and let us know what you think of the article; we always appreciate thoughtful, constructive criticism, good or bad!