Pandemic: which foods should you stockpile?

When extreme events occur people will instinctively start to stockpile food and toiletries. It’s not just part of human nature, it’s a matter of survival.  In dangerous times shelf-stable foods are essential to your survival. These are the products that will help you to feed yourself and your family while the disaster passes or you work out a long-term plan.

Of course, there will be many other people thinking the same as you, they’ll be desperately stockpiling anything they can get their hands on. The problem is that this will lead to some violent scenes at the local stores.

It’s far better to be aware of the few foods you need to survive and start stockpiling them today. Then, if a disaster happens, you’ll already be prepared. That means you can focus on defense and building your future, increasing your long-term chances of survival.

The arrival of COVID-19 is not quite an apocalyptic event. The world is continuing to function despite extreme lock-downs and economic inactivity.

However, it does give a hint of what would happen if this type of event did occur. The first reaction for many people is to panic purchase anything they think they’ll need.

This creates two issues.

Lack of Food

Most people don’t really know what they should be stockpiling. This results in them purchasing excessive amounts of foods that are of no use to them. Ultimately many of these foods will go to waste while others are already going hungry.

For you, this means you may not be able to purchase the foods you know you need for survival.


The other issue associated with this panic purchasing is the danger. As people stampede to their local stores’ fights are likely to occur over the limited products available. There will be injuries that could affect your longer-term survival abilities.

We’ve seen elements of this with the COVID-19 pandemic, a truly apocalyptic event would multiply these factors.

The only real choice you have is to start stockpiling today for the next disaster. Being able to avoid the panic will reduce your likelihood of being injured. It will also mean you have the food you need to function and plan for the future.

Not so many years ago the idea of stockpiling for a disaster was something that only outcasts and those that didn’t integrate into ‘normal’ society did. Today we’ve become aware that this is something that everyone should be doing.

However, you can’t just stockpile your favorite foods. In the first instance, how long will they last? You’ll also get bored with your favorite food eventually. But, more importantly, it’s unlikely to give you the nutritional balance you need.

The key to survival isn’t just in stockpiling food, it’s in knowing which foods you need to keep in order to get the right balance of nutrients for your body.

It’s also knowing how to store these foods so that they’ll last for years because you never know when the next disaster will happen.

The Importance of a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet consists of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, fat, and an assortment of vitamins/minerals. These nutrients are obtained from your food and don’t just give you the energy you need to function.

They are also essential to protect your body against malnutrition. If your body is not getting all the nutrients it needs then your immune system is likely to be compromised.

This will increase the likelihood of you contracting an infection. That’s not a good option in a post-apocalyptic world as medical care is likely to be hard to find.

Check out these important healthy diet facts:

  • Energy intake must be balanced against energy expenditure. The number of calories consumed is not a pre-determined figure, it simply needs to match the amount you’re likely to burn each day.
  • Your diet needs to contain fat, but no more than 30% fat, and no more than 10% should be saturated fats.
  • Fruits are good but they also have high sugar levels, eat in moderation.
  • Salt intake should be less than 5g per day.
  • Where possible eat raw fruits and vegetables with meals and as snacks.
  • The best way to be aware of a healthy diet is to start it today, this will help you to create the right food stockpile in your cupboards.

The following foods can be got in any store today and should be stockpiled for the future, helping you to maintain your health.

Brown Rice

This whole grain rice can lower LDL cholesterol. It’s easy to store in bulk and can be used with virtually any other meal.  You’ll also find brown rice is good for your digestive system, very filling, and can even reduce the risk of blood clots.

It does take slightly longer to cook than white rice but it much better for you and not starchy.


Almost all beans are nutritious and filled with protein and calcium. Both of which are essential to your ongoing health.

You can store some in tins, opt for dried beans, or even have some for planting. This will help you to have a balanced diet long into the future.


This leafy green vegetable is full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It will improve the flavor of most dishes and needs no preparation. Of course, fresh kale won’t keep for long but it is possible to dry this and store it in airtight containers for the future.

You may be surprised at how effective this approach is.


Barley is full of minerals and B vitamins, it is also good at lowering LDL cholesterol, that’s the bad one.

You can even use it to brew some beer if you have enough spare.


You may not have thought of this before but you can collect seaweed for free, as long as you’re near the sea.

Seaweed can be dried and then stored for years. It’s loaded with minerals and vitamins making it a nutritious choice. More impressively, you’ll find that it tastes pretty good.  Try it today before you start storing it.

Dried Fruit

Fresh fruit is good for you but it doesn’t store well in the long term and may not be in season when you need it. Dried fruit offers most of the same nutritious benefits but will last for years. It’s also surprisingly enjoyable.

Choose your favorite fruits and store them dried.


Although not strictly speaking food water is essential for your ongoing health. You won’t survive more than 3 days without it.

While there will hopefully be water sources in your vicinity, stockpiling water buys you time to locate them. It also lasts forever.

Canned Meat

Meat is a great source of proteins and fats but fresh meat is not going to keep long without a refrigerator. While this may be an option it’s better to opt for canned meats.

These will last for an exceptionally long time and offer similar benefits to fresh meat.

Tinned Fish

Fish is also a valuable source of protein and essential oils. Again, you won’t be able to store fresh fish but canned, or tinned, fish is an excellent option.

The oils in fish will help to maintain brain health which is important in a survival situation.


Nuts are great for flavoring any dish or giving you a quick boost thanks to the carbohydrates and proteins in them.

They are also very easy to store and last for an exceptionally long time.


The legume is the seed of a plant. That means you could use these to grow more plants. They are also edible and nutritious. Common legumes worth stockpiling are chickpeas and lentils.

They can be used to make a variety of healthy dishes.

Olive oil

You’ll need oil to cook with and it’s an important nutrient for your body. Choose one with a long shelf life. Olive oil is good, coconut oil may be better as it can be used for a variety of other things. You’ll use less olive oil when cooking for a large family with an air fryer

But coconut oil is difficult to cook with, if you choose this option you’ll have to practice first.

Distilled Liquors

You may think this is not an essential addition to your survival stockpile but a small tipple of alcohol can help to keep you feeling positive. Looking after your mental health is as important as your physical health.

Stick to distilled liquors like vodka and whiskey, these can also be used to sterilize wounds if necessary.

Powdered Milk

In the long term, you’re going to want to source fresh milk again. But, in the short-term powdered milk gives you all the benefits of fresh milk and tastes nearly as good.

Perhaps more importantly, it’s easy to store, only needs water to hydrate, and helps you to continue a semblance of normality.

Cooking for a large family with an air fryer

About the Author: Ryan is a foodie blogging for  He writes from Wyoming; where he lives with his wife, two daughters and an impatient golden retriever.