Choosing the right disaster survival foods to store for consumption during and after a disaster is critical to not only making your survival possible, but also making it comfortable. Often, people think of boring canned vegetables and powdered milk when they think about foods that will help them survive. While these things do have their place, there's so much more you can and should have in your disaster stores.
Start by making water a priority on your list. For each person in your home, you should have no less than 3 gallons (11.3 liters) of water on hand. This will give each person enough water to wash up, cook with, and drink for about three days. Since you cannot be sure that help and supplies will arrive that quickly, you may do well to store a seven-day ration of water to give you a better chance of survival. If you have a family of five people, this means storing 35 gallons (132.5 liters).
Next, stock up on canned foods, such as vegetables, fruits, and starches, but don't stick to just the boring selections like peas and potatoes. Instead, go for a variety of vegetables and include choices for satisfying your sweet tooth, such as peaches and pears. Include meats and soups, as consuming nothing but fruits and vegetables can grow tiresome rather quickly and won't provide you with protein. You can store things like canned tuna, corned beef, beef stew, chowder, and even Spam®. While these things may not be as nutritious as their fresh counterparts, they can help your body to stay nourished and your taste buds satisfied until help arrives.
No list of disaster survival foods will be complete without spices. Store salt, pepper, and a selection of spices for adding flavor to your meals; don't forget sugar and flour. These things aren't strictly necessary, but they can go a long way toward making your family more comfortable and improving everyone's moods when you're stuck eating dried and canned foods. You should also have a supply of oil or cooking spray and a selection of condiments like ketchup and mustard. Buy smaller jars of mayonnaise or individual packets, as it goes bad quickly in the absence of refrigeration.
Milk is an important addition to your list of foods. Besides drinking it, you'll probably want to use it for cereal and cooking. You can buy milk that is pasteurized and needs no refrigeration until it is opened. You might also consider powdered milk, but that will require using some of your already-limited water supply.
Make sure your list includes vitamin-fortified cereal, which will not only provide nutritious breakfasts, but also healthy snacks, especially if you avoid those that are packed with sugar. You should also store a supply of snacks, such as pretzels and potato chips, which can help to keep spirits high during scary or chaotic times. Store only small quantities of rice, dried beans, and pastas. These require water for preparation, and you may not have much to spare. Additionally, make sure you add a selection of foods for anyone in your household who follows a special diet, such as infants and those with diabetes.