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Emergency Preparedness Grocery List: 35 Food Items to Pick Up at the Store

Updated: Mar 25, 2020

If you are one of the thousands who are braving chaos at grocery stores to grab whatever you can find for toilet paper, disinfectant, and dinner, I feel you. I visited four grocery stores yesterday and brought home my bounty of a few rolls of paper towels and three boxes of Kleenex. I even went for the coffee filters because, well, what if that's all we've got left?

Naturally, this end-of-days train of thought got me browsing the shelves in the baking aisle while dodging other shoppers' carts, guessing at what kinds of pantry foods I might want to stock up on in case we are all put under quarantine. Which, if we look at China's and Italy's methods of containing COVID-19 / Coronavirus, could happen.

I decided on a bag of gluten-free flour because I didn't have a plan, and I figured I could bake bread if nothing else, that my daughter could eat without upsetting her stomach. I forgot dry yeast, so I will head back to the store later today - this time with a plan. After I poured myself a cup of coffee this morning, I lit up the computer and got to work researching some of my favorite sustainable living sites, like Doom and Bloom, Homestead Survival Site, and Off Grid World, to name a few.

♥ Confession: At heart, I am a prepper. I am a CERT graduate with plans to build a sustainable garden around my home and with dreams of being the neighborhood survival food and emergency supplier. So, as I study natural medicine, learn how to prep food, and become more skilled at sustainable living, I'll be blogging all the way here on my site. You can walk the path with me, and hopefully, you'll give one or two of my experiments a try yourself, and send me your notes!

So here we go with the grocery list I curated this morning for my family and you in the possible event that we are all placed under suggested or mandatory quarantine:

Emergency Preparedness Grocery Store List: 35 Must-Have Items for Your Pantry

You can email me for a copy of this printable pdf at
Emergency Preparedness Grocery Store List
Emergency Preparedness Grocery Store List

  1. Beans and Lentils - Easy to store and high in protein and fiber, these only require water to keep you going for a long time without hurting your grocery budget. It's not a bad idea to pick up a few bags when you're at the store.

  2. Rice - Dry rice has an indefinite shelf life as long as it's stored in airtight containers and kept in a cool, dry area. It can be added to tons of recipes to stretch out your supply.

  3. Pasta - Good for carbs, like rice, it's also kind to your budget and goes a long way with different recipes.

  4. Sugar - Sweet treats are great to perk up depressed spirits and keep food from seeming boring.

  5. Honey - Used also as an antiseptic and a food preservative.

  6. Peanut Butter - Lasts forever in the pantry, kind on the budget, and packed with protein and fat.

  7. Lard or Shortening (like Crisco) - You'll need oil for coooking and Shortening is easy to store. Helps add flavor to bland foods and high in calories.

  8. Salt - Not only adds flavor, but makes a great preservative.

  9. Cornmeal - Better than flour because you can add fewer ingredients to make bread, and lasts longer in the pantry. Easy on the budget, too.

  10. Canned Meats - Pick your preferred meat to add flavor and protein to meals. It's a good idea to look for sales when you're shopping and grab a few when they're marked down to add to your pantry stash.

  11. Canned Fruits and Vegetables - Look for ones with low acidity because they'll last longer. I also hunt down ones that are not packed in corn syrup to keep my body optimized by eliminating unnecessary junk from my diet.

  12. Powdered Protein - This offers protein calories with little to no prep time. Easy to store, I choose Herbalife's Protein Drink Mix because it's packed with nutrients and vitamins, tastes excellent even when mixed with water, and is the result of scientific research for maximized effectiveness.

  13. Protein Bars - Great for grab-and-go nutrition boosts for energy and endurance. (remember, chocolate melts!)

  14. Bouillon Cubes - These last for a very long time and are a great way to add flavor to your stews and soups.

  15. Millet - My husband saw this in my pantry when we were dating and decided I am a hippie. I had to explain the fantastic benefits of this thousands-of-years staple, including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, niacin, Vitamins B6, C, E, and K, and tons more. 1 Cup of Millet to 3 Cups of Water, boil for about 20-30 minutes.

  16. Kamut - Another superfood for its fiber, zinc, and magnesium, and more. 1 Cup of Kamut to 3 Cups of Boiled Water, simmer for 30-40 minutes.

  17. Vanilla Extract - A must-have, pure vanilla extract lasts in the pantry indefinitely. Great in pancakes, stewed fruits, peanut butter, coffee... a special touch to bring a bit of joy to the day.

  18. Coconut Oil - This oil is a great alternative or supplement to lard with a shelf life of 2+ years. It's super healthy, stores as a solid at room temperature, and excels in high heat, like frying.

  19. Ramen Noodles - Not the healthiest choice, but if you're on a budget, these will do. You survived your college years on this stuff; you can survive a quarantine on it, too.

  20. Cocoa Powder - Did you know cocoa powder lasts for 30 years or more when it's stored properly? This is great to have on hand for your kids. Go for pure cocoa, not a hot chocolate mix, and add your sugar when you prepare food or drink with it.

  21. Popcorn - Jim would be so disappointed if we were without popcorn during the end of days. Pick up a few pounds of popcorn kernels from the bulk bins if you can for extended shelf life and a more clean diet.

  22. Jello - Good if you have kids (or if you're a kid at heart).

  23. Pudding Mixes - See Jello

  24. Taco Seasoning - Mix it up with pre-mixed seasoning packets for your meat and veggies.

  25. Yeast - Having all you need to make bread will help you keep bellies full without hurting your budget.

  26. Powdered Milk - Dried milk has a shelf life of 20+ years when stored properly.

  27. Powdered Eggs - Maybe not the best tasting, but good to have on hand. Again, dried food like this lasts for a very long time.

  28. Instant Coffee - A MUST HAVE for me.

  29. Canned Tuna - A canned meat, which was listed above, but worth calling out because of its clean protein. Favor tuna canned in oil over water, for more calories (and better flavor).

  30. Tang - A fun way to turn water into "orange juice." Even used by astronauts en route to the moon.

  31. Kool-Aid - A special treat for the kids.

  32. Raisins - Chock full of fiber, protein, iron, potassium, Vitamin C, and antioxidants. Pick up some dried bananas, strawberries, and plums while you're at it.

  33. Pure Maple Syrup - Buy syrup in glass containers rather than plastic for a shelf life of up to 50 years!

  34. Pancake/Baking Mix - Does not last long in the pantry (one year) but makes an effortless and affordable supplement to your cooking.

  35. Canning and Pickling Salt - Iodized salt can't be used for canning and pickling. Be sure to have the resources you need if you plan on canning produce at home.

As I was drafting up this article this morning, I was chatting with my friend, Ellen. I just helped her buy her very first home, and she's done an incredible job at stocking her pantry! She spent the morning indulging me with photos, a list of food items on her shelves, PLUS her recipe for Easy Peanut Butter Noodles for Quiet Indoor Days. Enjoy, and Thank You, Ellen!

In Ellen's Kitchen (aka my kitchen goals):

In the Pantry

  • Dried fruit/nuts/snacks

  • Crunchy chickpeas

  • Yellow popcorn

  • Mixed nuts

  • Peanuts

  • Trail mix w/ chocolate chips

  • Dried fruit: mangos, prunes, cranberries, figs

  • Candied ginger

  • Cheez-its

  • Kale chips

  • Peanut butter

  • Sauce for chicken tikka masala

  • Canned tuna, chicken, sardines

  • Seasoning for dal and baingan bharta

  • Wine and Rye Whiskey

  • Artichoke hearts

  • Canned Salmon

  • Japanese Barley Tea

  • Jamaica Hibiscus Tea

  • Mint Tea

  • Tulsi Tea

  • Hot Chocolate

  • Spirulina

  • Korean Coffee Mix

  • Protein Drink

  • Ginseng Powder

In the Fridge:

  • Rotisserie Chicken

  • Short Ribs

  • Thai Eggplant with Pork

  • Oatmeal

  • 7-Grain Mix

  • Thai curry with pumpkin and chicken

  • Red Onion

  • Curried Green Beans

  • Guacamole

  • Mini Peppers

  • Eggs

  • Curly and Tuscan Kale

  • Mint, Scallions, Dill, Parsley, Cilantro

  • Homemade Mayo

  • Korean Ssamjang

  • Chicken Broth from the Rotisserie Chicken

  • Kiwis, Oranges, Pears, Broccoli, Carrots, Asparagus, Cabbage, Daikon Radish

  • Butter, Salsa, Miso Paste, Samba Oeleuk, Indian Garlic and Ginger Paste, Pesto, Fish Sauce, Ginger Honey, Rose Preserves, Sun Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil...

Ellen's Recipe for Easy Peanut Butter Noodles for Quiet Indoor Days


1 tbsp peanut butter

1 Green onion, minced, or 1 tbsp yellow/red onion

1 small clove of garlic, minced, or 1/3 tsp garlic powder

1 tbsp soy sauce (add more after you taste it, if you like)

2 tbsp olive oil (or peanut oil)

Hot sauce (optional: sambal oleuk, Cholula, Tabasco)

Drizzle sesame oil (optional)

Stir all of the sauce ingredients at the bottom of the serving bowl until smooth.

Cook your noodles - 2 servings. I like wide, chewy Chinese-type wheat noodles (Quon Yick brand is made in the USA, btw). Fettuccine would also work. Use ramen if that's what you've got. Drain well, add to sauce while hot, stir to combine.

Noodle Toppings: Use what you've got. Best to prep before you cook the noodles so you can throw them on and get to eating.


shredded chicken breast

cooked leftover greens

julienned veggies like cucumbers, peppers, shredded cabbage


1 Comment

Unknown member
Mar 16, 2020

Thanks Brooke. It's fun to see what's happening with you.

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