Cooking for One or Two People: Your Emergency Food Shelf

Posted: Feb 6, 2013

Having an emergency shelf stocked with non-perishable foods and some frozen foods is a big help if you can’t get out to the store. You can plan quick and creative meals with just a few basic items. Even though the non-perishable foods will last for a long time on the shelf, it is a good idea to use and replace them occasionally. Items stored in the freezer should be used within two to three months.

Suggested items to have on hand

Vegetables and Fruit

  • Canned or frozen fruits and vegetables. Look for brands without any added salt or sugar.
  • Canned, boxed or frozen juice.
  • Dried fruit (raisins, dates,  apricots).
  • Sodium-reduced canned soup (mushroom, vegetable, tomato).
  • Canned or jarred pasta sauces. Look for lower sodium choices.

Grain Products

  • Whole grain bread, rolls, muffins. Keep extras in the freezer.
  • Crackers, melba toast, breadsticks.
  • Enriched or whole grain pasta.
  • Brown rice and other grains such as couscous, millet or quinoa.
  • Biscuit mix.
  • Hot cereals (oatmeal, cream of wheat).
  • Ready-to-eat cereals. Look for cereals made with whole grains – the word “whole” should be in front of the grain in the ingredient listing.
  • Flour.

Milk and Alternatives

  • Canned evaporated milk.
  • Dried skim milk powder.
  • Shelf-stable milk. Look for boxed milk or unsweetened soy beverage in tetra pack containers on the grocery store shelves.

Meat and Alternatives

  • Lower sodium canned salmon, tuna, chicken or sardines.
  • Lower sodium canned beans, stew, chili.
  • Dried or lower sodium canned lentils and beans.
  • Peanut butter.
  • Nuts and trail mix. Keep small amounts in the freezer to keep them fresh.
  • Plain, unbreaded frozen meat, poultry, fish.
  • Frozen dinners. Choose ones with more vegetables and less sodium.


  • Sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Low sodium bouillon
  • Coffee/Tea


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