Stock Up on These Important Foods and You’ll Be Ready for Anything — Even a Nuclear War

In a world where natural disasters, climate change, and threats of nuclear warfare loom over our heads, being prepared is now more important than ever. More specifically, keeping a food stockpile in your basement or bunker — heck, even in your multi-million dollar subterranean condo — is exactly what plenty of people are doing.

Prepping isn’t just for the ultra-prepared or super paranoid — it’s for everyone. When disaster strikes, the playing field will be even, and we’ll all be in the same boat. Will you be someone who sinks or swims?

Check out this list of essential foods, and start stocking up ASAP.

1. Canned soup, fish, and meat

tuna fish in bowl

Canned food has a long shelf life. | Amarita/iStock/Getty Images

Canned products are a no-brainer. Canned goods have a phenomenal shelf life, and the variety of canned contents goes far beyond your typical chicken noodle soup. In fact, stocking up on canned fish and meat is a great way to ensure that you’ll be getting your fill of protein.

Next: More canned goods are on the way.

2. Canned fruits and veggies

Corn in a can

Canned veggies could be a way to get important nutrients. | izzzy71/iStock/Getty Images

Much like the aforementioned canned options, canned fruits and vegetables will give you that much-needed dose of nutrients when the real thing isn’t an option. In fact, the FDA once tested canned fruit that was over 100 years old. The verdict? It was still safe to eat.

When shopping for long-lasting produce options, think canned green beans, peas, and pineapples.

Next: This one’s a morning staple.

3. Oatmeal

Oatmeal with bananas

Dry oatmeal keeps you feeling fuller longer. | minadezhda/iStock/Getty Images

Dry oatmeal can last for years, so long as it’s stored properly. Store it in a dry, cool environment in a sealed container. Not only is it high in fiber and low in fat, but it keeps you fuller for longer. “Oatmeal is advertised as a ‘stick to your ribs’ breakfast,” Eat by Date says. “It actually takes longer to digest and therefore provides a full feeling stomach for longer than most foods.”

Next: Don’t freak out, but yes, this is a thing.

4. Powdered eggs

powdered egg

It sounds gross, but it might be your only option. | Reptonix/Wikimedia Commons

Powdered eggs? Yuck!

While we can totally appreciate an unfavorable reaction, powdered eggs just might come in handy one day. First things first — yes, they’re a thing, and no, you don’t have to refrigerate them. In fact, their packaging tends to be low-profile, so you don’t have to worry about them taking up too much space.

When the refrigerated variety isn’t an option, powdered eggs are the way to go.

Next: Apparently, you can get plenty of things in the powder variety. 

5. Powdered milk

Powdered milk or infant formula

Powdered milk can last for decades. | DimaSobko/iStock/Getty Images

Not only is powdered milk great for drinking, but it’s a valuable ingredient, too. Turns out, powdered milk has a ton of applications. While your typical gallon of cold milk has a short shelf life, powdered milk can stay good for up to 25 years.

Use it to make cheese and butter (hopefully you’ll be feeling creative if and when the time ever comes), add it to cereal, and use it for baking. It’ll be worth every penny.

Next: Who doesn’t love cheese?

6. Waxed cheese

Wheel of Gouda cheese

Cheese in wax prevents mold and bacteria. | Ozgur Coskun/iStock/Getty Images

As if cheese weren’t an easy enough sell already, now there’s this: Certain hard cheeses, encased in wax, can last up to 25 years. Crazy, we know. So, how does it all work? According to Happy Preppers, “Wax prevents cheese from growing mold and bacteria, and it also keeps moisture in your cheese, so it can store for a very long time without refrigeration.”

Next: This is an easy one. 

7. Pasta and white rice

Basmati rice cooke

It’s cheap and filling. | vm2002/iStock/Getty Images

Most people know pasta has a fairly long shelf life, and it’s easy enough to make. In addition to being a good source of carbohydrates, pasta is filling, cheap, and can feed a lot of people. And according to Critical Cactus, white rice does the same, and it can last for up to 30 years.

Next: These types of mixes could come in very handy.

8. Powdered drink mixes and coffee

You might not be able to drink regular tap water. | iStock/Getty Images

Powdered drink mixes are a great staple to have on hand. When disaster strikes, staying hydrated with regular tap water might not be an option. While you should already have plenty of water in your stockpile, sports drinks can offer a little variety, along with much-needed electrolytes for replenishing your fluids.

Next: We won’t need to do much convincing on this one. 

9. Peanut butter

Most jars of peanut butters don’t need to be refrigerated. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

This classic is full of healthy fats and protein, making it a great addition to any stockpile. Furthermore, it tends to be something people actually like to eat, so that’s a plus. And bonus: Most jars of peanut butter don’t need to be refrigerated once they’ve been opened.

Next: Here’s one staple you’ll need if you plan on doing any cooking.

10. Cooking oil

Olive oil in a bowl

Get the right oil that will last you. | Dulezidar/iStock/Getty Images

If you’re able to cook meals, you’ll definitely need some cooking oil. But be careful because most oils have a short shelf life. When you’re looking for cooking oil for your long-lasting stockpile, make sure you’re getting the right kind.

Next: Find a place for these two staples ASAP.

11. Whole wheat flour and pancake mix

making bread dough recipe

Flour can be used for plenty of things. | modesigns58/iStock/Getty Images

From coating fish to thickening sauces, flour has plenty of uses. Plus, it has nutritional value. Just be sure to swap out white flour for wheat. As for the pancake mix, who wouldn’t love to have pancake fixings on hand? Just make sure you remember to stock the syrup, too.

Next: When you can’t get the real stuff, this is a good alternative.

12. Dried fruit

It will keep longer on the shelves and offers important vitamins. | iStock/Getty Images

Would you prefer to eat fresh fruit over dried? Perhaps, but in a state of emergency, beggars can’t be choosers. Lucky for us, there’s dried fruit to satisfy that sweet fruit tooth. With a much longer shelf life than fresh produce — obviously — dried fruit is a great source of potassium and dietary fiber.

Next: Beans, beans, and more beans …

13. Beans

red beans in a bowl

They are full of protein and fiber. | iStock/Getty Images

Beans are chock-full of protein, so don’t be afraid to go wild in the bean aisle. Having a variety of dried, canned, and even refried beans will prove beneficial should you ever need to break into your stockpile supply.

Next: Chances are good that you already snack on these foods.

14. Nuts, trail mix, and seeds

They’re perfect for a healthy snack. | Amarita/iStock/Getty Images

Not only are these options great for snacking, but they give you that extra boost of energy that we all so desperately need. As Real Simple recommends, “Look for vacuum-packed containers, which prevent the nuts from oxidizing and losing their freshness.”

Next: A little bit goes a long way.

15. Sugar, salt, and pepper

Centered on the table are a sugar and salt shaker

It will improve flavor of your food. | mitchrice/iStock/Getty Images

Now, we know what you might be thinking here. How important is salt during an emergency? According to Real Simple, “A basic supply of seasonings and sweeteners will improve the flavor of your food, both fresh and packaged.”

While it might not seem super important at first, you’ll be happy to have a well-stocked supply on hand if the time comes.

Next: In a time of emergency, your favorite toppings can be everything. 

16. Condiments

Catsup and Mustard condiment bottles

Condiments can go a long way. | NeilLockhart/Getty Images

Similar to salt and pepper, a little dab of your favorite condiment can go a long way, especially in a tough time. It might sound silly, but it’s true. Keeping your go-to condiments well-stocked will ensure that you have a little bit of comfort and, of course, added taste to whatever you’re relying on for nutrients.

Furthermore, in addition to the standard ketchup and mustard fare, honey’s a great one, too. It never expires, which is why just about every professional prepper recommends it.

Next: One last very, very important stockpile staple we’d like to leave you with …

17. Vodka

bottle of vodka

It’s for when the mood strikes. | Sven Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images

Because why not?

Can you cook with it? Yes. Can you enjoy sipping on it during tough times? Absolutely. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Read more: Here’s How a North Korean Attack Could Ruin the U.S. Economy

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