Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Because my kitchen stores are sufficient for a shelter-in-place scenario, I wrongly assumed I could just use what was on the shelves for the Go-Kits. Recently, I discovered that food for a well-stocked Go-Kit isn’t as easy to find as I thought.

I am on a quest to discover protein and meal replacement bars that are high in calorie count, nutritious and actually taste good.  I’ve been doing some taste tests. Dick tried a small portion of one and declared, “I could eat it.” Tri-O-Plex has several flavors containing about 430 calories per bar. Other energy bars have fewer calories. It would take two to come up to an adequate meal count. A lot of breakfast granola type bars are around 200 calories. Adults need at least 2500 calories a day to deal with the stress and challenges of an emergency.

It makes sense to conduct some taste tests with your family. Buy a few different brands and conduct a formal blind test.  Just cut the bar into as many portions as you have family members. Label the bars A, B, C, etc. and let everyone rate them. This will help determine the winners that will be part of your Go-Bag kits. You can eliminate the ones everyone gags on. This is really all about personal taste. I bought a bar at a Sporting Goods store hoping it was the one I had tried some time back and LOVED. The clerk suggested I try something else because the one I picked was just plain “nasty.” She said NO ONE liked it. Because it looked like the one I had eaten, I decided to spend the $1.29 and take a chance. Well, I am going to have to hide those bars. I love the very lemony taste enough to gobble them down at any excuse.

You need to conduct similar tests on canned goods that provide protein. I really can’t stand Spaghetti-O’s, but they are a grandchild’s first choice. I prefer another brand. You want to pack what people will eat. Since your goal is to have enough food to sustain everyone for 3 to 5 days you can have a wide range of options. You might let the children plan their own stash. They can write their name on the items with a marker if you are bundling everything in one tote. In a stressful situation, unfamiliar food just won’t cut it!

To give you an idea of the numbers, Spaghetti-O’s have 2 servings per can at 170 calories each. One can of Vienna Sausage has 8 pieces and is considered to be 2.5 servings at 110 each. Well, my hubby eats a whole can for lunch. I can tell you 3 little sausages won’t cut it. Potted meat is 1 serving and contains 160 calories. Underwood chicken spread has 2 servings at 140 each. A small can of water packed tuna is considered to be 2.5 servings at 70 calories each.

A good preparedness exercise would be to go to your pantry and lay out a day’s worth of food for each person. Could you do it on a moment’s notice using only the items you currently have on hand? Afterwards calculate that amount times 3 to 5 days. I can tell you, that I come up short. I don’t have any fruit or pudding cups. All my dried fruit is in bulky economy sized bags. I was under the delusion I was prepared!

The Go-kits need to contain food that can be eaten without cooking or heating. Almost all the foods that come in packets require the addition of boiling or very hot water for rehydration. If you are stuck in a large emergency shelter in a school, you can’t start a fire on the gym floor. I’m not saying don’t include them, but they might not be a viable dinner solution. I am going to experiment with some items to see if they will hydrate sufficiently using cold water and a much longer time frame. I’ll let you know if the grits are edible.

We really CAN’T just grab stuff out of the cabinets, throw it in a plastic bag and rush to the car. I am digging out my vacuum sealer and making up individual portions of dried fruit. I figure it will be cheaper than the little boxes and bags you buy to put in lunch boxes. I’ll bag up almonds and peanuts using snack bags then pop a bunch in a bag to seal. Hopefully the double bagging system will prevent sharp edges will prevent puncture.

I’ve been prowling the grocery store aisles looking for possibilities. I found a few that might fit the no-flame requirements. Will get back to you with the taste-test results.
Let me know if you have found winners.

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