The Importance of Emergency Rations: How to Keep Food On Hand

There are many things that can go wrong when you’re surviving in an unpredictable environment. You can’t control natural disasters, the actions of third parties, or the availability of resources. When these things happen, they can have a significant impact on your ability to stay safe and healthy. If you’re prepared, however, you can significantly reduce the negative secondary effects of these events. Having emergency rations on hand is one way to make sure that you’re protected no matter what happens.

What Are Emergency Rations?

Emergency rations are foods that you keep on hand for unexpected situations. They are, as the name implies, something you eat in times of emergency. If you have a supply of emergency rations, you don’t need to worry about finding new food when the situation becomes difficult. Emergency rations are often found in military or survival kits. They are not meant to be a person’s only source of food; they’re meant to tide a person over until they can find more food or get back to their normal meals. Emergency rations are often referred to as survival rations, emergency food, emergency food rations, or survival food.

Why You Should Have Emergency Rations

Having a supply of emergency rations on hand can be extremely beneficial. It gives you the freedom to continue with your day-to-day life even in the face of challenging situations, and it ensures that you always have food to eat. This can have several positive secondary effects when compared to not having any rations – you can continue to live your life without having to immediately prioritise obtaining more food, which is an advantage in a crisis. If you’re trying to collect food or water during a disaster or emergency you may find that you’re competing with thousands of other people which can rapidly descend into aggression or conflict which could result in you or your family being injured.  If you have emergency rations, you don’t need to leave your home or other safe space. Depending on the nature of the emergency, your ability to remain in your home could help reduce your exposure to other risks such as viruses, infections, radiation or accidents.

A good stock of emergency rations ensure that you don’t have to worry about feeding yourself and your family, which will lower your anxieties in a crisis.

How to Store Food for an Emergency

There are several things to keep in mind when choosing emergency rations and storing them for later.

  • Make sure that your foods are safe for long term storage. Buying expired rations or otherwise unsafe foods can lead to illness and other health issues. You may be able to find rations that have a long shelf life, but make sure to check the expiration date.
  • Make sure that your rations are packed well. You don’t want your rations to break or be crushed, no matter what type of packaging they’re in. Damaged packaging could result in the contamination and rapid deterioration of your food supply.
  • Choose foods that you’ll actually enjoy consuming in an emergency – you want to be consuming dozens of bland, tasteless energy bars for days at a time, even if they provide core nutrition.

Types of Emergency Ration Packages

There are many different types of rations that you can choose from. It’s best to have a variety of different types of rations on hand so that you have something that suits almost any situation.

  • Energy bars are small bars of food that are easy to carry and eat. They’re best if you need to eat on the go. These bars have a long shelf life and are often high in protein and fibre.
  • Canned foods are excellent for long-term storage. They last a long time and have a decent amount of protein. They’re often very heavy, however, so it’s best to keep these in a central location.
  • Dry foods such as grains, oats, and beans are often easy to store and carry. They can sometimes be difficult to rehydrate properly, however, and they don’t taste particularly good as is.
  • Freeze-dried foods are often similar to canned foods, but are usually compact, lightweight and have a very long shelf life. They’re often expensive, but they are usually considered the ultimate emergency food.
  • MREs or meal, ready-to-eat rations are often used in the military and are a very convenient, easy to prepare solution.


Having emergency rations on hand can make a huge difference in your ability to stay safe and healthy even in the face of challenging situations. If you have food for a few days, you can continue going about your normal life even in the face of disaster, and you don’t have to worry about finding food. Rations are often compact and relatively lightweight, but if you build up large stores to last many weeks they’re best kept in a central location where you and your family can easily access them. It’s best to have a variety of different types of rations on hand, so that you have something for almost every situation.