Make Sure You Have These Food Items to Prepare For Emergencies

Is your pantry stocked for an emergency? Make sure you have these in your kitchen.

IMAGE Vectors from Vecteezy; Layout by Riell Santos

Natural disasters like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and extreme weather are commonplace in the Philippines due to our geography and location. They often come without warning which makes stocking up on vital non-perishable foods very important. 

According to Florinda V. Panlilio, Nutritionist-Dietician Level IV of the Health Emergency Management Staff of the Department of Health, in cases of extreme calamity where there is no access to water or kitchen facilities, families may tide through a disaster by having the following in their pantry:


1 Bottled water

Access to clean, potable water is essential in emergency situations. The rule of thumb: set aside a gallon per person each day. Add more if you have pets. Aside from large gallon containers, you can also opt to have smaller water bottles for portability in case you need to evacuate.

2 Crackers

These can provide a quick energy boost. They're easy to bring in bulk as well. Regular crackers store well as opposed to whole-wheat versions because of fat content. But if you insist on high-fiber crackers, you can keep them fresh for longer by putting them in vacuum-packs.


3 Peanut butter

A good source of protein, energy and very easy to store. Most brands don't require refrigeration unless indicated on the jar.


4 Fruit juices

When water becomes scarce, juice will provide hydration and energy. Choose juice boxes that do not require refrigeration for storage.


5 Canned meat, tuna and sardines

They last for two years in storage and are excellent sources for protein. The tuna and sardines have Omega-3 fatty acids essential to good health.  



6 Cheeses

They are a good substitute for milk and can make crackers more appetizing. Opt for cheeses that don't require refrigeration like Edam cheese or Quezo de Bola.


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7 Ready-to-eat vegetables

Canned or pickled, vegetables provide a variety of nutrients and fiber.  When stocking up on canned vegetables, pick low sodium varieties.

8 Canned Fruit cocktail

When fresh fruits are not available, these will provide much needed potassium and fiber.  



9 Sandwich spreads


These are good source of fat and require no refrigeration when used immediately. Get spreads in small sachets to minimize waste.

10 Cereals

Not only are they an alternative source of carbohydrates and fiber, most dry cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals.  It's a good source of nutrition even when eaten on its own.  Get them in individual packs so they won't go stale.



Building your food stockpile

Citing the 2008 Guidelines for Health Emergency Management for Centers for Health Development, Ms. Panlilio recommends this checklist patterned after a diet typical of a Filipino family of six that would last for two weeks. You may add or subtract according to your family's needs and tastes:

2.5 kg. can powdered whole milk or 32  large (14.5 oz) cans evaporated milk
6  8 oz. cans  sardines or mackerel
2  12 oz. cans  corned beef
6 8 oz. cans vienna sausage
8 8 oz. cans pork and beans
6 7 oz. cans pusit
4  12 oz. cans luncheon meat
2.24 kg rice
3 loaves bread
7 kg. sugar
7 cups vegetables
1/3 kg. dry beef tapa
46 pcs. tinapa or dried tunsoy

Feel free to add items that provide comfort and familiarity to your loved ones. Include fun foods like cookies and chips to help them cope with stress. Consider creating a mobile stockpile as well so you can bring food items with you in case you are evacuated from your area.



More food advice

When the lights go out. Check the refrigerator as if defrosting for regular cleaning. Consume all leftovers, eggs, dairy products, fruits and vegetables first.  When the frozen food is thawed, cook those next. Make sure to minimize opening of refrigerator doors to keep things cold. When you've cleaned out your ref, you can start dining on canned goods.   

Pay attention to special needs. Do family members require a low-sugar or low salt diet? Are there any food allergies to consider? Are there infants, expecting mothers or elderly in the group?  Consult a doctor for the necessary precautions before an emergency situation occurs.  Make sure you include special foods, formula, prescribed medication and multivitamins.

Check your stocks periodically. Every six months, make sure your food items have not gone beyond their expiry dates.  Use and replace items nearing their best before date. Toss those that have gone beyond.


Living in a flood-prone area? Consider more canned goods in your pantry. These items won't get contaminated by flood water.  Remember to stash a can-opener with your emergency supplies.

Ample nutrition is key to your family's survival in an emergency. You may have limited stores, but with advanced planning you can get high-quality nutrition even in the most trying of times.

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