16 Items to Have in Your Pantry in Case of Emergencies

By: Lee Breslouer

Credit: Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Ordinarily, sitting in your house with the lights off for a week means you’re knee-deep in a Narcos marathon. But with winter and its unruly weather on the way, it’s totally plausible you could end up stuck at home with no power involuntarily, too. If and when that happens, you’ll need your home stocked with enough calorie-dense food and drink to last a few weeks and keep you sane. With that in mind, we spoke with Tony Nester, a survival instructor and owner of Ancient Pathways, to find out the essentials.

This stuff is easily found at the grocery store, and will last one person about two weeks if they eat 2,000 calories a day. Nester advises you get more rather than less, as you could help other people who didn’t prepare like you did!

Both are excellent and easily available protein sources. Mark the date you bought them with a Sharpie. This stuff doesn’t last forever, but could easily sit untouched in your pantry that long. 

Pasta is the dish that always fills you up and never lets you down. Yep, that’s definitely the slogan for pasta.

Seven cans
Both canned chicken or canned Chicken of the Sea are ideal protein-loaded dinner options, says Nester.

Credit: Lee Breslouer/Thrillist

10 gallons
Nester recommends you buy different sizes of water bottles and store them around the house. Pick up a 24-pack of one-liter bottles to have on hand, then store a larger 7-gallon blue jug in the garage, for instance. “There’s a saying the SEALs have that ‘Two is one and one is none,’” Nester tells us.

PMA stands for “Positive Mental Attitude” foods, and they’re essential for your mental stability when you’re stuck in your house for two weeks with no power. Buy stuff that makes you feel good, like coffee and chocolate. “Whatever rocks your day,” says Nester.

Two jars
Eating pasta, beans, and rice for two weeks straight will be even less fun if you don’t have crushed tomatoes to help out.

Oats are a great source of protein first thing in the morning, and you can easily enhance the flavor with other items on this shopping list. Except the spaghetti sauce, unless that’s something you’re into. 

Credit: Lee Breslouer/Thrillist

Four jars
This is going to be the basis of all your midday meals, so learn to love this middle-school lunch staple. Shark Bites not included, unless their your personal PMA food.

Two jars
We’d never recommend you eat peanut butter on its own for lunch. This is a society!

Anything dried will do, like raisins, apples, mangoes, bananas. Take it from a guy who spends a lot of his time teaching survival courses: “It gets bland eating straight oatmeal and rice after a few days.” These fruits can brighten up breakfast and dinner, and provide a snack if you need it.

One bottle
Remember what Nester said about food getting bland? Feel free to replace Tabasco with the condiment of your choice.

It’s a nutritious, inexpensive grain. Nester says that you can adjust this list based on your own tastes, so feel free to go crazy on some basmati rice instead.

Credit: Lee Breslouer/Thrillist

Although this might look like the average American’s daily sugar intake, this is meant to last two weeks. And it’s versatile, too – sweeten both your oatmeal and coffee.

Four boxes
Nester says these with a little peanut butter are perfect for lunch, as you don’t have to waste any fuel to cook them. Plus, “people are used to their lunch being dry.”

Two boxes
This will come in handy when your fridge has been festering for a few days. Nester suggests taking an extra trip to a camping store to load up on other powdered foods, like eggs with onion and Italian sausage, which he claims are actually pretty good!

Although technically not essential, oregano and basil will make your pasta taste less bland, and add a tiny sense of normalcy to an option-less meal. Hopefully you only have to eat that way for a week or two, and not because is happening outside your house.

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