Even a couple of weeks ago the idea of a quarantine seemed far-fetched. Things certainly did not look that bad, but here we are, and social distancing and self-isolation are the new norm. But while that may seem bleak, there’s no need to panic. We’ve got this! And if the best we can all do is sit on our butts indoors and watch Netflix, well, we believe all of us are up to the task.
Whether you began preparing when news of COVID-19 first broke or have just come around to the idea of living at home, it doesn’t doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you’re prepared. With so much uncertainty as to how long the quarantines will go on for, we found it prudent to put together a list of the best non-perishable foods to keep on hand.
In the below list, you’ll find everything from pancake mix to peanut butter, turkey jerky to canned veggies, all of which will last for months on end. That way, whether you use it or not, you won’t need to stress about anything going bad. With that in mind, we also recommend keeping emergency kits in your home and car. You never know when you’ll need this stuff, so buy it ahead of time, just in case.
While we highly recommend keeping a calm and level head in a situation like coronavirus and resist panic shopping, it’s always wise to keep a stocked pantry. If you’re looking for the best non-perishable foods to keep on hand, read on for a list below.
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. 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.
3. Bush’s Honey Baked Beans, 28 Oz. (4-pack)
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.
4. 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.
5. Kodiak Cakes Protein Pancake (3-Pack)
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.
6. Wheat Thins Original Whole Grain Wheat Crackers
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.
7. Organic Pitted Dried Dates
So far we’ve covered proteins and starches. Those alone will set you right but if you have any sort of discerning palette, you’ll want a bit more in your pantry, which is why we recommend dried dates. 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, yes, we’d agree, they’re the perfect food. Delicious and rich in the likes of fiber, potassium and antioxidents, you’ll be glad you had a few packs of dried dates lying around, trust us.
8. StarKist Chunk Light Tuna in Water, 2.6 Oz. (8-Pack)
Though we already have one protein on our list, we thought it prudent to add another in the form of tuna. 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.
9. NOOMA Organic Electrolyte 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.
10. FIJI Natural Artesian Water, 16.9 Oz.
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.
11. Jif Creamy Peanut Butter
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 listening from Jif because it comes with three 16-ounce jars in a single bunch, and that bunch isn’t all that expensive. Especially when paired with the crackers above, peanut butter is a tasty snack no matter the situation.
12. 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. If you’ve never cooked with lentils before, check out some recipes here. These U.S. grown lentils can be used in soups, veggie burgers, salads, breakfast bars and vegan dessert recipes.
13. Healthy Choice Country Vegetable Soup, 15 Oz. (12-Pack)
The final item our list is a classic, hot soup. Unfortunately, canned soup is hard to come by these days. Most popular brands of canned soup are sold out in online stores, but inventories are updated as new shipments become available for delivery. This Healthy Choice vegetable soup is packed with healthy vitamins and nutrients. It’s also high in fiber but low in sodium. This product comes with 12 cans, which makes it a perfect addition to your non-perishable food pantry.