Wednesday, March 2, 2011
72-Hour Kit Wednesday - Breakfast foods
One of the most essential items in your kit is the food. We’ll work on one meal at a time starting with 3 breakfast meals for each person. To prepare the breakfasts for everyone this week you’ll need, individual bags, a can opener for each person (more on this later), and the food for breakfasts for each person.
When I first did my kits I packed all the meals for one day, breakfast, lunch and dinner, in a large Ziploc bag. I have since changed my thinking on this and I’ll tell you why. A lot of the things that happen during an emergency will have a psychological effect on you and your family. For instance, you are aware that when you are in an emergency and have to depend on what is in your kit, you may be hungrier and knowing that what is in the Ziploc bag has to last for three meals may have a tendency to make you hungrier, just knowing that is all there is to eat. However, if you pack each meal separately in a Ziploc bag (9 meals total) it will be the same amount of food, but seem like more.
What you pack for your meals is an individual preference but let me tell you some things that I have discovered. Some of these are no-brainers but we’ll mention them here anyway:
First, don’t pack things your kids don’t like, won’t eat or have never had before. During a time of stress is no time to try new or unusual things or be forced to eat something you don’t like.
Second, and this is a big one, consider the nutritional value. Not so much if there is too much fat or sugar, but the amount of calories for each person. You must have the recommended amount of calories for each person, each day to maintain strength and good mental attitude.
Third, do you want to be forced to cook your meals? The first kits I ever put together contained oatmeal packets, hot chocolate packets, instant soup, and several other meals that required not only cooking but water to prepare. Consider how much water you will have with you. Not only that, but will you be able to build a fire to heat the water or cook the food? My thinking is that I would rather have things that don’t have to be heated or cooked, in case there is no firewood or it’s too wet to build a fire. Of course, if you have to build a fire for heat, then cooking your food would not be a problem. You have to consider the best options for you.
Forth, I think that in addition to the foods for meals, snack foods may be very essential especially to keep everyone’s spirits up and moods elevated. We’ll do a separate post on snacks.
Fifth and finally, remember that any food you pack in your kits will need to be rotated every 6 months at the most. Make a note on each kit of the date when it will be time to rotate the food. Remember not to include any food in your kit that will not still be good in 6 months. One such item may be pop tarts. They are a good breakfast food, can be eaten unheated but can you keep them from getting smashed and how will the quality be in 6 months.
I’m going to list some foods that you may want to consider for breakfast foods. Remember, when you gather your foods, get enough for 3 breakfasts for each person and seal them in bags. Remember to consider the suggestions above as you choose each person’s personal food. Also, make sure to include enough food for each person. I think that the recommendation of some kit lists suggesting a granola bar for breakfast is not enough. Take this into consideration when you prepare your kits. Combine several of the choice below or add your own items to make a sufficient size meal for everyone.
We will talk about utensils and etc. to include with each meal. I have included a can opener (got them at the dollar store) for each person. I prefer to include canned fruit (mandarin oranges, crushed pineapple etc.) rather than the plastic cups which can easily leak or get punctured and don’t have a long shelf life anyway. When each person has their own can opener you can increase the variety of other meals for your kits as well.
Just a note about where to purchase the food for your kits. You'll want snack size cans of juice or fruit, but some things, like little boxes of raisins and granola bars can be bought in bulk at Sam's or Costco. As you are shopping, notice the things that are available in bulk. It may give you more ideas. Also be careful as you buy that the things you purchase won't leak in your kit; especially if they are packed tightly. You can consider this when choosing small cans of juice or juice boxes or packets.
Snack pack Cereal with powdered milk
(Cereal can also be eaten dry as a snack)
Fruit roll or fruit snacks
Dried fruit such as apple slices, raisins or banana chips
Boxes or small cans of fruit juice
Fruit cups or small cans of fruit
Cans of fruit or Applesauce cups
Hot chocolate packets with water
Beef sticks or jerky (yes, even for breakfast)
Just one last thought; I know many people prefer to use the MRE (Meals Ready to Eat) packs in their kits. This is great. My only suggestion is that you buy some and eat them before you put them in your kit. You may find that young children will think they are strange or unusual and will refuse to eat them. This is a great option if it is what you decided to do. Just make sure you know beforehand what you are getting and how to heat them (if they have to be heated) as well as making sure everyone will eat them.
If anyone has any other suggestions or things you have done in your kits, leave a comment, we'd love to hear your ideas.