Emergency Food Supply: Lunch

Emergency Food Supply: Week 30

What’s For Lunch?

Lunch for 90 Days

Back to that list of favorite foods you put together. Now we’re going to look at lunches. In the U.S., lunch is usually a lighter meal than dinner so you may find canned goods are a quick meal that’s easy to get at your local supermarket – no special ordering or special processing required. (But we will talk about special ordering in a future email.)

When planning a meal, think of the basics: protein, carbs, vitamins and minerals, and fat! (Believe it or not, fat is very important for brain functioning so an emergency or crisis situation is not the time to go fat-free.)


  • Canned soup or chili
  • Canned meat like tuna or chicken (or Minnesota’s own Spam)
  • Peanut butter in cans or jars (peanut butter is high in fat)
  • Sardines (also high in good fats)


  • Canned fruit
  • Jam/jelly
  • Canned beans, combined with a whole grain like rice or corn, becomes a complete protein
  • Canned vegetables like corn, green beans, beets


  • Nuts (be sure to store nuts (especially high-fat nuts) properly or they will go rancid quickly. Nuts can last 3 months on the shelf, 6 months in the fridge, and a year in the freezer.)
  • Chia seeds
  • Dark chocolate
  • Cheese
  • Olive oil, coconut oil

Sure, Pizza Can Be an Emergency Meal!

The image above is pizza. You can make it from canned and stored ingredients. Think canned peppers, olives, tomato sauce and artichokes, with dried and reconstituted onions and cheese.

  • Cheese inside a wax wrapping can last up to 25 years in a cool place.
  • Dried and cured meats like salami can last 6 weeks on a shelf in your pantry and years in the fridge (uncured meats last a much shorter time – read the label).

You can make your own pizza dough, bread, even pasta with stored flour (1 year at room temp), salt (5 years or more if stored properly), yeast (6 months unopened in fridge), and olive oil (2 years unopened).

Make Your Plan

You have approximately 90 lunches in a 3-month period. You may be able to get more than one meal from a single can or box so take a look at serving size (while being realistic about how much you eat). Then plan out two weeks of unique meals to provide yourself with a little variety. How much of each item do you need to buy?

Example of a Low-Cost Emergency Pantry

Here’s a 3-month example from a Transition Longfellow member who maintains an emergency pantry:

  • 10 cans of chicken (15 oz, 3 oz per meal)
  • 10 lbs dried beans (40 meals – 4 cups per lb, 1 cup = 1 quart cooked = 4 meals)
  • 2 jars of peanut butter
  • 10 lbs pasta (40 meals)
  • 10 lbs rice (50 meals, 2 cups rice per pound = 5 meals)

Your Task This Week

Make a list of 14 lunch meals and how many of each thing you will need to buy to create those meals. Then go out and buy and properly store enough food for 14 lunches. If you want to do more, buy 14 meals for each person in your household.

This email series is brought to you by neighborhood volunteers at Transition Longfellow. It is designed to help you become more prepared for extreme weather emergencies. Transition Longfellow does not endorse or recommend any of the products mentioned in this email series. Neither Transition Longfellow nor Transition Twin Cities receives any compensation for products mentioned on their websites. Products are mentioned for illustration purposes only.