Healthy Emergency Food Prep + Easy Meal Ideas

Are you looking for ways to stay healthy when faced with an emergency situation? I promise: It can be done, and I’ve put together this post to help you stock your pantry with nourishing, healthy staples. I’ve included meal suggestions using these foods, too!

View of fridge filled with meal prepped meals that are optimized for reducing inflammation.

When faced with a crisis in your life and the disruption of routine, one of the first things that come to mind is how to feed your family. 

Whenever there is an emergency situation, whether it be a lengthy illness of a family member, weather-related hardship, or an occurrence such as this recent event with COVID 19, it’s important to keep things normal as best you can. 

My friends, that normalcy includes putting yummy meals on the table using healthy ingredients. I’ve listed some of my favorite meals for you to try below using simple pantry basics, and I’ve also added a ton of helpful tips for you to make it simple.

Prepping ahead so you can spend more time with family in as little stress as possible? No problem, I’ll show you how!

WHY IS EATING HEALTHY IMPORTANT DURING A CRISIS?

First off, staying healthy in times of crisis is important. You’ve got to be the best you can be so that you can take care of those who may need your help. And of course, it’s essential to take care of yourself, too.

  • Eating healthy boosts your immune system
  • You’ll feel good when things get better if you stay on track
  • You will be able to function better on a diet of proteins, healthy fats, fiber, veggies, and fruits
  • Giving up healthy eating, even for a short time, can have detrimental effects
  • Eating too much sugar affects your insulin response
  • Too much salt can raise your blood pressure
  • Processed foods can cause inflammation

Overhead view of the harvest Fall meal prep bowl, including grilled vegetables and chicken, ready to be served.

TOP TIPS FOR HEALTHY EMERGENCY FOOD PREP IDEAS

  • Keep it Healthy: In general, look for wholesome, unrefined ingredients, like fresh vegetables and fruits, good-for-you lean proteins and healthy fats, should all be part of your healthy emergency food prep plan. So, definitely keep these foods in mind as you shop for groceries. 
  • Meal prep: I can’t say enough about meal prep. It’s a smart way to make sure that you are eating healthy food all day long. Prep the meals ahead and then look to the fridge for snacks like Dark Chocolate Covered Coconut Bites, and meals such as Healthy Chicken Fajitas.
  • Buy fresh fruits and veggies: Don’t worry about buying fresh fruits and veggies. Choose fruits like bananas, apples, berries, and oranges. Root vegetables, like red potatoes and sweet potatoes are a good choice, too.  Veggies can keep in your fridge, raw, for up to 5-6 days, and then can be cooked and stored or frozen for even longer.
  • Create a smart pantry: Choose items like shelf-stable drinks and canned goods. When you stock your pantry, put the newer things at the back.
  • Buy in bulk to save money: Shop with your budget in mind. Buying in bulk saves trips to the store and is also economical. Look for grains, meat, legumes/beans, canned goods, and broths in bulk.

HEALTHY PANTRY STAPLES FOR HEALTHY EMERGENCY FOOD PREP

Let’s start with the pantry. Having useful items on hand is one step toward being able to put a nutritious meal, snack, or dessert together in a snap. Consider what you will be creating with these, and make sure to get enough to prep food in bulk, especially since these items are shelf stable so they wont goto waste. 

  • Unsweetened applesauce and pumpkin puree
  • Nut butters
  • Canned beans and legumes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil and coconut oil
  • Canned tomato sauce
  • Canned beans, like chickpeas and lentils
  • Grains, like quinoa, rolled oats, and rice
  • Raw honey or pure maple syrup
  • Low sodium broths
  • Canned coconut mik
  • Noodles and Pasta

An overhead image of a glass jar with Roasted Tomato Sauce made with roma tomatoes, garlic, yellow onion, carrot, olive oil, basil, salt and black pepper.

HEALTHY REFRIGERATOR STAPLES FOR HEALTHY EMERGENCY FOOD PREP

What you keep in the fridge should be based on how long they last, while packing a nutritional punch. Add these items to your list.

  • Cheese
  • Eggs and egg whites
  • Dairy or plant-based milk
  • Spinach and other greens
  • Apples
  • Citrus fruit
  • Mustard
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Butter

Hand holding the steak fajita bowl with cilantro lime rice topped with avocado, ready to eat.

HEALTHY FREEZER STAPLES FOR HEALTHY EMERGENCY FOOD PREP

When you are staying at home because of a crisis or emergency, your freezer can become your best friend! There is so much you can store there, allowing you versatility at mealtime.

  • Frozen vegetables, like broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and green beans
  • Frozen fruit, like berries and bananas
  • Fish
  • Pork
  • Ground Beef
  • Chicken breast and thighs
  • Shrimp
  • Whole wheat bread and bagels
  • Frozen starches, like cubed sweet potatoes and butternut squash

BAKING STAPLES FOR HEALTHY EMERGENCY FOOD PREP

Take the time at home to feed your inner baker! Stock up on baking products and make a yummy dessert for the family. Or, let your kids help you make their favorite cookies!

  • Whole wheat flour
  • Coconut sugar
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Dark chocolate morsels
  • Dried fruit, like raisins and cranberries
  • Apple cider vinegar and balsamic vinegar
  • Cornmeal
  • Baking powder and soda
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper
  • Dark cacao powder
  • Protein powder

STORAGE IDEAS FOR HEALTHY EMERGENCY FOOD PREP

When you buy more food than you usually would, it can be a challenge figuring out where to store it. I love mason jars, as you know, to prep salads, but they are also good for storing things like quinoa and rice. Bigger bulk packaging for rice, as an example, can be kept in a storage area. Then, use a large mason jar to store some in your pantry.

Other storage suggestions are:

  • Plastic airtight containers
  • Meal prep containers
  • Gallon plastic or silicone freezer bags
  • Glass dishes with covers
  • Glass canisters

HEALTHY EMERGENCY PANTRY ESSENTIALS VIDEO

HEALTHY EMERGENCY FOOD PREP MEALS

Now that you have a grocery list for emergency food prep, let’s look at some recipes that use some of the ingredients:

Close up of Make Ahead Frozen Breakfast Burritos wrapped in aluminum foil, ready to be eaten.

BREAKFAST

What better way to start the day than with a good-for-you breakfast?

Overhead view of Healthy Broccoli Salad with Greek Yogurt Dressing, including red cabbage, raisins, and almonds.

SALADS

Salads are a quick way to fill your body with nutrients and goodness, giving you the energy you need.

Side view of a bowl of Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup, including chicken, carrots, and orzo.

SOUPS

A warm bowl of soup is the best comfort food! Try one of these for your next lunch.

Close up of the shredded chicken enchiladas in a casserole dish, baked and ready to eat.

ENTREES

Use some of your pantry staples along with protein and fresh veggies to make a delicious dinner that just makes you feel good!

Hand pouring cherry topping with a spoon over a slice of vegan no bake cheesecake.

DESSERTS

I love dessert! And when it’s crisis time, it’s all the more reason to comfort yourself, within reason.

30 minutes of prepping and you'll hOverhead view of Make-Ahead Greek Quinoa Stacks, including olives, tomatoes, quinoa, and cucumbers.

EMERGENCY MEAL PREP IDEAS

Be prepared for the week during an emergency by spending a few hours one afternoon to prep the meals for the week. Store your yummy creations in meal prep containers and stock your fridge with ready-made food!

This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.

Lacey Baier

Hey y’all, I’m Lacey Baier and I’m so glad you’re here! I’m a healthy lifestyle influencer and the creator of this clean-eating blog and YouTube channel, A Sweet Pea Chef. My recipes have been published on Food Network, Good Morning America, FoxNews, Tastemade, Fitness Magazine, and much more. I live in Dallas, Texas with my husband and four kiddos. Let’s get started!

One thought on “Healthy Emergency Food Prep + Easy Meal Ideas

  1. These tips are so needed right now! I love the reasons for eating healthy right now. We have to care for ourselves for ourselves and our loved ones! Great recipe ideas here as well, they look delicious. Thank you for taking the time to compile this information and share it with us. It is helping so many people for than you know!

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