In 2020, lockdown, social distancing and quarantine have become practices as normal as walking, breathing and eating. It’s safe to say that we didn’t expect to be here at the beginning of the year. But, in a world unsure of what’s coming next, the best thing that we can do is prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
Given what’s already happened with COVID, it’s reasonable to think at some point within the next couple of weeks, months or even years, you’ll be spending a period of time at home. With that in mind, stocking up on non-perishable food is a smart idea and means you’ll always be prepared, no matter how quickly things change.
‘Non-perishable’ might not sound like the most appealing word but don’t judge too quickly. There are a number of benefits to non-perishable food that make them an asset in any kitchen. Here’s some non-perishable mental food for thought:
- Long-Lasting – Fingers crossed that we’re not going to find ourselves inside for more than a couple of weeks at a time. But, just in case we are, you’ll be glad to know that most non-perishable foods, like tea, jerky and canned veggies, will last up to a year. Peanut butter, canned tuna and dark chocolate will last a couple of years, and honey, dried beans and the all-important liquor will last a lifetime.
- Storage – To be truly non-perishable, the product needs to be able to safely be kept at room temperature. They must also be treated to ensure that no airborne microorganisms are present.
- Stackable – Although not taste or nutrition-related, the packing of non-perishable foods is some of the smartest and most stackable you’ll find in the supermarket.
- Health – Believe it or not, there are some really healthy non-perishable food options out there. Canned fruit and vegetables are always a winner (although watch out for sugary syrups), oats are awesome, brown rice is nice and beef jerky might give you the energy you need to stay twerky.
- Sustainable – There’s nothing more sustainable than growing your own food, but, if you’re short of a garden or don’t have a green thumb, then non-perishable foods can also be a more sustainable way of eating, as long as you stay on top of your recycling. Non-perishable food packaging is often made of tin, plastic and glass which are all recyclable materials. Be sure to wash your non-perishable packaging thoroughly before throwing it away, otherwise, it may be rejected at the recycling facility.
- Donating – Non-perishable foods are ideal for donating to food banks. For all the reasons mentioned above, these foods can really help families through tough times.
The best approach to dealing with emergency situations, like the Coronavirus pandemic, is to keep a clam and level head. It’s easy to understand the urge to panic-buy when it hits the fan. However, should something arise, knowing you have a pantry full of non-perishable food will help you rest easy. Furthermore, for the ultimate feeling of preparedness, it’s worth investing in an emergency kit for your home and car.
Below, you’ll find a list of the best non-perishable foods available. We’ve included everything from pancake mix to peanut butter and turkey jerky to canned vegetables, all of which will last for months or more.
1. Perky Jerky Original Turkey Jerky
For starters, you can never go wrong with some turkey jerky. High in protein, low and fat and boasting a shelf life between one to two years, it’s always a good idea to have a pack (or two) of turkey jerky on hand. We’re big fans of Perky Jerky specifically when it comes to turkey jerky because not only is their original flavor delicious, but they have a ton of tasty options. From “Sweet & Snappy” to “Pale Ale,” turkey jerky makes for a great snack and will keep much longer than any disaster or event.
2. StarKist Chunk Light Tuna in Water
These tuna pouches make an excellent source of protein to keep on the shelf, just in case. While these single-serving pouches may not be a great solution for families looking to make a giant tuna casserole, they’re a perfect lunch or dinner solution for adults. Each serving is packed with healthy protein and omega-3 vitamins. And, with four pouches for under $5, you can’t go wrong.
3. Dole Fruit Bowls
BEST FRUIT SNACK
Enjoy a tropical taste with these tasty little fruit bowls from Dole. Peaches and pineapples have been diced up into bite-size pieces and surrounded with cherries ready for consumption. The long-lasting liquid in which the fruits are bathed is also filled with fruitiness, providing a tasty treat from start to finish. Additionally, each pot in the pack is naturally gluten-free. There are 12 individual servings, so you’ll have enough for you and the whole family.
4. Kraft Original Macaroni Packets
BEST MICROWAVE MEAL
With these Kraft Original Macaroni Packets, meal preparation is as easy as adding a splash of water and microwaving for 3.5 minutes. So, whether you’re a top chef or not, there’s no excuse for not having some of these cheesy meals in your pantry. Granted, it’s not the healthiest combination of ingredients on the list, but it is one of the tastiest. Plus, macaroni and cheese is a great source of both calcium and iron.
5. Nabisco Sweet Treat Variety Box
If there’s one way to brighten up a lockdown, it’s with a giant box of cookies. Inside the Nabisco Sweet Treat Variety Box, you’ll find 10 two-cookie packs of Chips Ahoy, 10 classic Oreos and 10 Golden Oreos. But be warned, the difficult choice isn’t knowing whether to buy this variety box or not; it’s deciding which of the included packs to devour first. Our advice? Eat them all.
6. Bush’s Honey Baked Beans
BEST TINNED PRODUCT
If you really want something that will last years on the shelf, do yourself a favor and stock up on a few cans of baked beans. Properly stored, these bad boys can last a few years before going bad. And that’s great news for you and any future issues or emergencies you may run into, which is why we highly recommend grabbing as many cans as space will allow ahead of time. This particular listing is great as you can get four cans of honey baked beans. And on top of the impressive shelf-life, baked beans are high in fiber, high in protein and low in fat. They’re basically the best non-perishable food out there, and Bush’s Best is one of the most popular brands.
7. Quaker Chewy Granola Variety Box
BEST CEREAL BAR
For an anytime snack that’ll take up less than 100 calories of your daily count, look no further than Quaker Chewy Granola bars. This variety box has a range of delicious flavors included that’ll silence your hunger and give you a boost of energy when needed. There are S’mores, Dark Chocolate Chunk and Oatmeal Raisin Chewys to choose from. Plus, these are an ideal choice for active households looking for an easy and healthy grab-and-go snack.
8. Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers
BEST FOR KIDS
Fish are friends, not food. Unless their Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers, then they’re a delicious snack everyone should indulge in. This multipack of 30 bags includes colorful, cheddar and pretzel guppie-shaped snacks. All of the flavors are baked and never fried. Also, it may be surprising to know that the recipes include no artificial ingredients. So why not jump into the deep end and try one of each flavor for home delivery?
9. Jif Creamy Peanut Butter
This may be another somewhat obvious choice, but it’s always wise to keep some peanut butter on hand. Everyone’s favorite sandwich spread can last on the shelf for just under a year before going bad, making it an ideal mainstay in your pantry. We like this listing from Jif because it comes with two 20-ounce jars in a single order, and it isn’t all that expensive. Especially when paired with the crackers above, peanut butter is a tasty snack, no matter the situation.
10. Taylors Harrogate Tea Variety Box
If you’re intending on saving the Taylors Harrogate Tea Variety Box for a rainy quarantine day, the hardest part will be not digging in too soon. Having said that, the great thing about this selection of 48 assorted teas is that each bag is individually wrapped. So, even if you break the seal for one warm cuppa, the others will stay fresh and ready for the next rainy day.
11. Palouse Brand Lentils 4-Pound Bag
Lentils are a nutritional powerhouse, which is why they’re one of the best non-perishable foods to keep in your emergency pantry. These brown lentils are packed with protein, fiber, carbohydrates and vitamins such as potassium, iron and vitamin B6. These lentils are also GMO-free, gluten-free and kosher. The resealable bag ensures that they will stay fresh for a long time to come. These U.S. grown lentils can be used in soups, veggie burgers, salads, breakfast bars and vegan dessert recipes.
12. Sunny Fruit Organic Pitted Dried Dates
BEST DRIED FRUIT
Dried fruits of any kind are a great addition to the non-perishable food list, but we love dates in particular because they’re so damn tasty. Seriously, dates pack enough natural sugar to be a dessert, except they also have health benefits. Yes, we’d agree, they’re the perfect food. Delicious and rich in fiber, potassium and antioxidants, you’ll be glad to have a few packs of dried dates lying around, trust us.
13. Kodiak Cakes Protein Pancake
Pancake mix? Pancake mix. What, did you really think we’d leave out breakfast? No, of course not. We’re not savages. Kodiak Cakes already makes our favorite pancake in a cup here at SPY, which is why we always keep a few boxes of this protein pancake mix in our pantry. As it stands, pancake mix will last on the shelf for about a year, which is plenty of time in case of disaster and issues like coronavirus. But most importantly, pancakes rule. Nothing can put a smile on your face like a smiley face pancake, especially one that packs as much protein as these cakes from Kodiak. Oh and don’t worry, maple syrup has a shelf life to rival that of honey (almost), so we recommend grabbing some of that as well.
14. HERSHEYS Dark Chocolate Bar
If there’s one thing that can give you a boost of energy and endorphins in a down moment during quarantine, it’s dark chocolate. This 12-pack of extra-large, long-lasting delicious bars of goodness is the fall back every household should have in times of needing some edible comfort. With so many bars included, there’s definitely enough for everyone in even the largest households. After all, sharing is caring.
15. DripDop Electrolyte Hydration Powder Sticks
BEST SOURCE OF ELECTROLYTES
Heighten the hydration properties and taste of water with these DripDop Electrolyte Hydration Powder Sticks. DripDrop is committed to ridding you of any dehydration with ease. Simply pour one of their watermelon, lemon or berry-flavor powder sticks into your water and gulp away. You’ll feel refreshed and energized thanks to electrolytes and glucose contained in each sip. In addition, they’re a great option to have available when you’re looking to recover from a killer hangover, too.
16. Wheat Thins Original Whole Grain Wheat Crackers
BEST SOURCE OF CARBOHYDRATES
Want to know the problem with a lot of non-perishable food lists? They don’t account for snacks! Most only think of the major meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner), and totally neglect snacking. We’re big on snacks here, which is why we always pick up a few boxes of Wheat Thins when we’re stocking up the ol’ emergency pantry. Though they won’t last a full year, you can get a solid few months out of a box before they go stale. Everyone needs to snack, and there are few things in this world as satisfying as biting into a crunchy cracker.
17. Extra Long Indian Premium White Basmati Rice
Another great option that will last a while is rice. Yes, rice is a bit on the boring side, but that’s actually why we love it. Unlike a lot of other options on our list, rice makes a filling and fantastic base. You can spice it up or down depending on your mood and let it adapt to the sauce or meal you pair it with. This bag specifically is a great buy to keep on hand as you can get 10 pounds of rice for less than $35.
18. Healthy Choice Country Vegetable Soup
Canned soup can be hard to come by these days as many of the popular brands of soup are currently sold out in online stores. However, with more time, inventories are updated as new shipments become available for delivery. This Healthy Choice vegetable soup is packed with vitamins and nutrients. It’s also high in fiber but low in sodium. This multipack includes 12 individual cans, which makes it an ideal addition to your non-perishable food pantry.
19. NOOMA Organic Electrolyte Sports Drink
BEST SPORTS DRINK
Why add a sports drink to our list? Well, should things go awry, you’ll want to drink something other than water. Also, sports drinks like this one from NOOMA offer added electrolytes which water does not. The NOOMA drinks are low in sugar and calories but will do well to help hydrate you. Plus, they have a fairly long shelf life of over a year.
20. FIJI Natural Artesian Water
Even if you have a Brita filter or some sort of filtering system in your home, it’s always good to keep some cases of water on hand. You can really go for any brand, but we like this 24-pack of FIJI water (and not just because it’s in stock on Amazon). Each bottle contains about two cups of water naturally filtered through volcanic rock in the Fiji Islands. Bottled water has a shelf life of one to two years. And although it doesn’t have vitamins or calories, bottled water is an essential addition to your emergency pantry.
21. Barilla Pasta
Similar to rice, it’s always good to have a few boxes of pasta on hand. Not only will pasta last a fairly long time on the shelf (over one year by some estimates), pasta is incredibly easy to cook. What’s more, like rice up above, you can pair pasta with just about anything to make it taste good. Heck, even something as simple as olive oil and pepper can take regular pasta and elevate it to world-class levels. This option from Barilla comes with 20 packs of Angel hair pasta which is more than enough to keep you well-fed for weeks.