72 Hour Kit Series Week #3: Plan Your Food


Welcome to week #3 in the “72 Hour Kit Ideas: A week by week approach” series.

This series is all about making it simple and do-able to get a 72 hour kit put together for you and your family.


72 hr kit food


Creating such a kit can be overwhelming and financially difficult to do all at once. But through this series, I’ve broken it down for you into 26 small steps! You can see all the steps here. Just take one small baby step each week and in 6 months you will have a well stocked, personalized kit!

You can even go through the series a few times over a year or two adding just the most basic supplies the first six months and then a few more “extra” supplies each time you cycle through it again.

Want even more help?Build a robust, personalized 72 hour kit one week at a time over 26 weeks

This series is also available as an e-book. Purchasing the e-book gives you a few additional benefits over just reading the free series:

  • Additional details and tips
  • The ability to print the entire book!
  • Pictures of my own kit showing just how I pack each week.
Download “Your Own 72 Hour Kit Plan” E-Book Now!


Last Week:

I hope all of you were able to add something to help you purify water to your kit last week.  Water is absolutely essential to life.  You will not survive 3 days without water.

Photo Credit: o5com

Week #4: Food

You could survive without food for 3 days, but it wouldn’t be smart or comfortable!  You will have headaches, and experience serious fatigue and dizziness as your blood sugar levels are depleted. You will likely be irritable and mentally fatigued.  That is not the condition you want to be in following some sort of disaster.  You will need all the physical and mental resources you can muster. Plan to have plenty of food (calories) in your 72 hour kit.

In addition to high in calories, you will want your food to be lightweight, nutritious, appetizing, familiar, and easy to prepare.

This week, plan what food you will put in your family’s 72 hour kit.   Don’t worry about buying it yet, you will do that next week!  Just decide what you will include and where you will buy it; that is a big enough project for one week!  Amazon is a good option as is Costco, especially if you will be going in with another family or two!


Ideas / Options:

Consider the following as you decide which will work best for your family.  I will mention a few things to avoid as well as give some suggestions of what you might want to include.

What to Avoid:

  • Pop-top cans (soups etc.): They can pop open rather easily and create quite a mess in your bag.
  • Jolly Ranchers: They melt!  Once they’ve melted they are difficult to eat. 
  • Mint Gum: If kept with your other food, it makes everything taste like mint (You could keep it elsewhere if this is a good comfort food for you).
  • Nuts:  Because of the high fat content, they go rancid rather quickly.  If you are really good at rotating them every 6 months, they should be fine, but if you know you tend to rotate less often, you may want to avoid them.
  • Crackers: These are great options unless they are in a position where they are easily crushed/ smashed.  Then, they become difficult to eat.  If you do use them, put them inside an older Pringles tube (or similar).
  • Fruit / Applesauce cups: They don’t stay sealed very well, which can result in a big mess all over your kit.  Pouches are a better option.
  • Canned Goods: This is just personal preference, but they are heavy and bulky.  They don’t taste great cold.  If you do choose to include them, you will also need a can opener.
  • MRE’s:  Prone to exploding and very unfamiliar….they just don’t taste great!


Suggestions / Ideas:

  • Dehydrated / freeze dried fruit  (VERY lightweight.  Freeze dried = same nutrition as fresh).
  • Fruit leather / fruit roll ups.
  • Canned fruit (include a can opener).
  • Squeezable fruit Pouches.
  • Squeezable applesauce.
  • Instant oatmeal packets (you will need water and a heat source to eat these).
  • Instant milk (Milk is a HUGE comfort food for my kids and this tastes just like fresh).
  • Dry cereal (like cheerios) in a vacuum sealed bag.
  • Fruit drink mixes (These are vitamin fortified and will provide needed electrolytes).
  • Hot cocoa.
  • Shelf stable almond or rice milk.
  • Cans of juice (single serving).
  • Crackers with a small jar (non glass) of jelly or honey.  Put crackers inside an old Pringles tube (or similar) with a knife all ready to spread peanut butter!
  • Trail Mix (Be careful of the shelf life on the nuts…make sure you rotate them regularly or vacuum pack them).
  • Rice cakes.
  • Granola.
  • Granola bars / Nutri-grain Bars.
  • Quaker breakfast bars, cookies etc.
  • Annies Bunnies.
  • Raisins / Craisins.
  • Yogurt raisins.
  • Jif Peanut Butter To-Go.
  • Animal crackers.
  • Slim Jims.
  • Beef jerky.
  • Fig Newtons.
  • Goldfish.
  • Starkist Lunch To-Go (Tuna with crackers).
  • Nuts (Be careful of the shelf life on the nuts…make sure you rotate them regularly or vacuum pack them).
  • Thrive Express! (Just add water meals that taste great! You will need to make sure you have water and a heat source to eat them).
  • Laughing Cow cheese wedges (no refrigeration required).
  • Canned ravioli / Spaghettios.
  • Canned beans / chili / stew.
  • Canned chicken / tuna + mayo / relish packets.
  • Dried soup mixes (You will need to make sure you have water and a heat source to eat them.  These can be purchased in a larger size and then re-packed with a vacuum seal into smaller more manageable sizes).
  • Raman Noodles / Cup of Noodles.
  • MRE’s (Usually come with their own heater and require no separate water / heat source.  Relatively long (5 yr) shelf life.  Are prone to explode.  Don’t taste great).
  • Shelf stable sausage sticks (like Hickory Farms.  MUST rotate).
  • Hormel Completes (or similar).

What we have done in our family

My Goals

  • I really wanted food that was high in calories.
  • I did not want food that required cooking or using any dishes.  I figure if I’m using my kit, I won’t need the extra stress of cooking with a mini stove and doing dishes.  I also didn’t want the extra weight of carrying a stove, pots, pans, plates, utensils.
  • I wanted the food to be lightweight and,
  • Full of things my kids enjoy eating.

I included instant milk because it is a HUGE comfort food for my kids.  I also included peach drink mix because it is PACKED with vitamins and I wanted as much nutrition as possible.

I spent about $1.90 per meal and got over 2250 calories per person per day.

We rotate through this food every 6 months.  It is a fun tradition.  Every 6 months, the leaders of our religion speak to church membership worldwide via satellite.  We snack on this food while we listen to them!

You can find more details about our food kits, including where I bought everything here: An Ideal 72 Hour Food Kit


How about you?

Leave me a comment and tell me how you’ve decided to add food to your kit.  What are you adding?  Why?  What will you be doing this week?


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Packing food in a 72 hour kit can be tricky.  It needs to be lightweight, easy to access, high in calories and not cost a fortune.  This list is awesome!

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Week #2: Making Water Safe Week #4: Purchase & Organize Food Week #1: Water to Carry Series Into: 72 Hour Kit Series, A Week by week approach

193 thoughts on “72 Hour Kit Series Week #3: Plan Your Food”

  1. Thank you for the wonderful tips! Do you know if nuts are put into a foodsaver bag if they will still go bad? I know this sounds like a silly question. But I have a whole bunch of granola I put together with lots of nuts in it and I recently read they go bad… Can I still use it if I Foodsaver them? Thanks!

    • I’m honestly not sure. I know that nuts have a high oil content so they dont’ last long period. I”ll ask on my facebook page and get back to you!

      • Everyone on facebook seemed to agree with this:

        “Yes, but store them in the freezer in the vacuum seal bags. They can still go rancid in the fridge, but can last years in the deep freeze.”

  2. I used to do a yearly mission trip in high school where we spent a week in the mountains (after a week of service) and one thing that was always brought along was grapenuts mixed with some sugar and powdered milk. I think we kept it in a big empty waterbottle, so you poured what you wanted and added a bit of water. Would work with any cereal I’d think…we probably used grapenuts because they are filling and wouldn’t be as prone to crushing. The sugar worked wonders. I bet a little dehydrated fruit would be a nice addition too. I always loved it, so that may be something I’ll add to my kit.

    • Also, Aldi sells round crackers (less than 2 bucks) that fit about as perfectly as you’re going to get in a pringles can. One sleeve in a tube leaves just enough room for something to spread with and I was able to put a container of jif-to-go on top (barely) and close the lid. I use these crackers when I put out a spread sometimes, so they should be easy to rotate.

  3. We have some mre’s and some other foods mentioned in your blog. I have slowly started adding some Thrive products. It is exciting to try the products and then add them to our kit. I hope to add more later. I will be working on a rotation system this summer. Thanks for your blog!

  4. I went through all of our food at once today and rotated/updated a few things. We have pouches of tuna, chicken, and salmon, jerky, individual peanut and almond butter, crackers in a mailing tube, dried fruit, chocolate squares, powdered milk, packets of taco sauce, mayo, mustard, salt, pepper, and pickle relish, and a jar of coconut oil (healthy fat). I would like to add some additional seasonings for the fish and chicken, such as lemon pepper, some granola bars for DH, and some pouches of dried veggies if there is room.

  5. I just came across the site about a week ago. Wke have one rolling suitcase and two backpacks (one 6-year-old daughter.) I purchased 3 24-packs of water and will be waiting until my birthday in August to get the pail or the 4-pack of bottle filters if we can get them then. My husband is too keen on evacuation planning, so the budget is a little tight!

    So I’ve caught up and am on food. All I really have so far are granola bars. My daughter loves them. Actually, my daughter likes about everything you mentioned for breakfast, which is amazing b/c she’s picky so I’ll start with breakfast and in a few days consider lunch. Thank you for the site!

  6. Right now I have Vienna sausages, tuna pouches, peanut butter, granola bars and dried fruit. I plan to add instant oatmeal packets, instant coffee, powdered milk and powdered eggs for breakfast. I have an old recipe that adds an egg to the oatmeal toward the end of cooking. I haven’t tried the recipe yet, but it would be a good way to get both carbs and protein in an easy one dish meal for breakfast. Lunches would consist of the tuna, sausages and peanut butter. I need to add crackers in a crush-proof container for all three – I try not to eat chips too often, but may ‘have’ to buy some Pringles just to get the container. I wouldn’t mind adding pouches of chicken and maybe some individual mayo packages for tuna/chicken salad. My husband loves Tic-Tacs, so I think I will re-purpose some of the empty containers for salt/pepper and spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg for oatmeal or onion/garlic powder for tuna/chicken salad. I also plan to add jerky, some dry cereal for my husband since he likes it as a snack and some homemade fruit roll ups that have been vacuumed packed.

    • You won’t regret buying the pringles Bonnie. (-: The container is great, but so are the chips! Wouldn’t eat them everyday, but they are a great treat! (-:

  7. I just rotated our food supply so I am going to leave it as is for now. I am going to add baby food as my daughter is almost 6 months old and will be starting solid food soon. I am also going to add a little extra cash this week.

  8. I added some peanut butter packets and some cereal not too long ago. I also have tuna packets and think the applesauce pouches are a great idea. My daughter loves them…just never thought to add them.

  9. Figuring out food is difficult for us to figure out, and so we have TONS of first aid and survival aids, but little on the side of food. So far we only have a couple MREs and a few cans of tuna. We’ll definitely be sitting down this week (or next!) to figure out what to add. Clearly we don’t have enough….

  10. I like the idea of pouch foods. I think Costco carries pouch applesauce – booyah. Thanks for sharing your expertise!


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