#1 Freeze Dried Meals
Freeze dried meals are some of the most popular choices for long term storage food. They have a very long shelf life - from 7 years up to 30 years.
So you can just buy it and forget about it. You don't have to rotate your food out and buy new stuff every couple of years (which also makes more it cost-effective).
Freeze dried meals also retain more of their nutrients and taste because of the gentle freeze-drying process. So you can get 'gourmet' emergency meals like lasagna, chicken teriyaki and beef stroganoff. In a crisis you're going to want the comfort of good food.
Freeze dried meals are also easy to make - you just add water, stir and wait a few minutes. That's it. It keeps things simple, which is again what you want in an emergency situation.
#2 Dehydrated Foods
Dehydrated foods are also very popular. You can get everything from rice, beans, flour, meat substitutes, eggs, powdered milk, pancake mix and more.
Dehydrated foods also have a decent shelf life of 5 - 25 years depending on the type of food. They also give you a little more flexibility to make your own meals. A final advantage is that they tend to be more affordable than freeze dried meals.
MRE stands for "Meals Ready To Eat" which are self-contained emergency meals that usually include entree, side dish, desserts and snacks with a flameless heater, utensils and condiments.
These were originally designed for the military but civilians can buy something similar from certain MRE sellers.
MREs have a shorter shelf life of 3 - 5 years but they are still excellent for road trips, camping, boogie bags or just your everday food storage since they do tend to give you a high number of calories per meal.
These are high calorie bars in a compact form. They are immune to extreme heat and cold and half an approximate shelf life of 5 years.
These bars are designed to be non-thirst-provoking and low in protein (protein metabolism uses more water). So they are great for situations where water may be limited and you are expending a lot of energy (camping, hiking, boogie-bags, emergency rescue workers, etc.)
#5 - Canned Food
You can always buy canned foods like rice and beans at your store for a quick and easy fix. However there are several disadvantages to this that most people don't realize.
First of all, it can actually be much more expensive than the options above. For a typical $2.00 can you get 1 meal of chili, rice and beans or pasta. Now compare this to a freeze dried or dehydrated meal at $0.80 - $1.50 and the savings quickly add up.
Add to this the fact that you have to change out your cans every couple of years (they don't have the long shelf life of freeze dried meals) and buy new ones and you'll see that the cost is much more over time.
Also, buying enough cans to feed you over the long term can take up a lot of space, whereas the options above are designed to be compact and lightweight, without getting too much notice from your friend and neighbours.
So while this may be a good short - term option, you may not want to rely on it for long time food storage.
So those are some types of food you can choose from when building a long time food storage supply. For some of the best places to purchase food storage long term see our long term food storage page.