According to FEMA you should keep at least two weeks of food stored up in the event of an emergency. Some people such as preppers suggest that you have at least a year’s supply of food available for long-term food shortages. This is good advice, however not all emergency survival food is created the same.

Here is a list of three things to watch out for when you are buying survival food rations.


Some survival food comes in prepackaged buckets that have been precooked. All you have to do is add some water and heat the food. A lot of these buckets claim to have hundreds of servings per bucket.

What they don’t tell you is that the servings are around 300 to 400 calories per serving. Unless you are feeding a small child, this amount of calories will not be enough to sustain the average person. Adult men will need at least 2000 to 3000 calories per day and the average woman will need at least 1500 to 2000 calories per day. A five gallon bucket of food will contain two weeks to a month of food for the average person.


Himalayan saltCredit: Amazon

Himalayan salt

Keep a close eye on the amount of sodium in survival food. Some of the long-term survival food, as well as the canned goods that you might buy at the store can contain a huge amount of salt.

If this all that you have to eat during an emergency you could fry your kidneys causing health problems. The American Heart Association recommends that you consume only 2,000 milligrams per day. A lot of these processed survival and canned foods can contain a lot more sodium than that.


Even though a lot of survival food manufactures claim that their products can last for 25 to 30 years, the truth is that most will last for around ten years as long as the container has not been opened. Things like freeze-dried, canned, and dehydrated food fall into the group that will last for only ten years. Other stuff such as wheat, white rice, beans and sugar can easily last 30 years if kept in a dry environment.

Something else to consider about shelf life is how long the food will last once the container has been opened. Most long-term survival food has been prepared and packaged to stay fresh as long as the container has not been opened.  

Once the container has been opened, the shelf life drops to around six months. This means that once one of those big #10 cans has been opened, you will have to eat the contents quickly to keep them from going bad. This is a good reason to avoid those big cans in favor of the smaller ones.

Mountain House Best Sellers KitCredit: Amazon

Mountain House Best Sellers Kit

These are the main things to keep in mind when you are shopping for long-term food for survival. By shopping smart now, you can save yourself, and your family, some potential problems when you might need to survive on the stuff that you buy now.