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At home or while traveling, there are a few handy food items to always have on hand in case of emergencies. The best food some may consider is whatever you have. While that may be true, what happens if that food is frozen, sealed up in a can or requires water.
The items below are all inexpensive and common at most any store. There are many options that will be higher cost or offer better nutrition, but the three benefits these all offer no matter the choice is that they are all high energy relative to cost, will hold up well to cold temperatures to keep you motivated and little preparation is needed.
Here are five food items worth having during winter months at home or in your car.
Peanut Butter & Jelly - Strange you ask? Both of these food items in plastic jars will hold up well in the cold since they are high in sugar and or fat. They are calorie dense and offer good sources of energy which can be easily be portioned out with simple utensils. The combination of vitamin C in the jelly plus the proteins found in nuts are easy to digest. While these are both high in sugar, having small servings of these will give you a good energy boost before you can find better longer term food sources. Can you include fig newtons here? Maybe.....
Crackers - There are many things you can do with crackers and many varieties of long life and shelf stable options exist in different flavors. Some popular cracker types such as saltines, graham and others now come in bulk packaging but with smaller wrapped portions to maintain freshness. Combination sandwich cracker options are also worth considering if they include other calorie dense fillings such as peanut butter or cheese. Crackers are also not likely to freeze easily since they have little water in them.
Tuna Pouches - High in fat plus omega three nutrients, these small retort packages of different fish such as tuna and salmon are great to have on hand. The packaging and thickness will help prevent freezing or enable quick thawing. No reheating is needed and the contents can easily be eaten right out of the pouch. Fish can be eaten with crackers or combined with other ingredients to add variety to an emergency food situation. Different types of jerky would also be another good protein source.
Soup Cups - You will need water to rehydrate the noodles and flavoring in these single serve portions. Some options are very high in salt, which may be best to avoid. Many options exist that are healthy and flavorful. Without hot water, these soup cups may not be very useful, but if you do have water and a way to heat that water, soup can help bring your core temperature up quickly while gaining some nutrients which may improve your mood in cold weather.
Pop-Tarts & Breakfast Bars - Have you read the text on the silver packaging of pop tarts? That packaging offers more than a shiny wrapper. It can help keep pop-tarts at an ok temperature for consumption. While some may consider pop-tarts are better toasted, these inexpensive snacks offer some cheap food energy in a small size. Many cereal and breakfast bars exist too worth keeping an eye out for to have on hand for emergencies.