I was immediately interested because the food in my 72 hour kits is mostly ramen noodles, peanut butter and saltine crackers. For review purposes, I am copying and pasting the article here, but please remember that the actual article was published in the October issue of the Ensign. My notes are in red.
Adequate Nutrition during an Emergency
Miriam Blackham Een, Nevada, USA
Miriam Blackham Een, “Adequate Nutrition during an Emergency,” Ensign, Oct. 2009, 70–71
If you have a three-day emergency supplies kit, does it contain nutrient-dense foods? During perilous times, your body would especially need adequate nutrition. As a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition, I have developed a simple, healthy emergency meal plan for our family. The items should be rotated regularly for best results.
My minimum calorie goal for the three daily meals is 1,200 to 1,500, with 60 to 72 grams of protein and approximately 40 grams of fat, a combination that enhances satiety. The ingredients for each meal plan are simple:
I had never given much thought to nutrient dense foods in my 72 hour kit, I’ve always been more concerned with just having food, and cheap food to boot. But think, during a disaster you could be exerting yourself physically and making sure your body can cope with these exertions is important. Your body needs protein to rebuild its muscles after exercise. Just something to think about.
Meal replacements and supplements. Include shelf-stable protein drinks, instant powdered breakfast drinks, powdered milk, and energy bars. You may want to use more than one type. Each should provide 250 calories or more. Look carefully at the labels; snack or cereal bars are not as high in calories and protein.
The main reason I like the idea of protein drinks is for space and weight. Think how much lighter my pack would be if it just consisted of powdered mixes. Its good to know that maybe the cereal bars aren’t what we are looking for. You aren’t necessarily looking at calories as much as you are protein content. The higher the grams of protein the better for the bar. While my kids eat clif bars like crazy, I don’t know how well they would like protein drinks. Although they love smoothies, so maybe I could focus on getting fruit flavored varieties and mixing the water with powdered milk first and THEN the protein powder just to make it more palatable for them. The older they get though, the less taste will be an issue. And with all children, when they get hungry, they will eat.
Dried fruit. Raisins and other dried fruits are good.
Raisins are easy and my kids love them. I would love to find dried fruits in little snack size packages—not the boxes, but in little pouches. Does anyone know where to find those?
Peanut butter. This is a great shelf-stable source of protein. If you have peanut allergies, you could substitute it with another nut butter or small bag of nuts. Or find other shelf-stable protein foods.
Now, peanut butter I’ve got. I buy them in the small 18oz sizes and we have one in each pack, although that might be overkill. My kids eat PB by the spoonful, so I’m not worried about that being an issue.
Crackers. Include soda crackers or other crackers, preferably whole grain. You could also include granola if you won’t be using peanut butter to spread on crackers.
We also have saltine crackers in our packs. These crackers are easy to rotate because we eat them by the buckets when we are sick.
Drinking water. Ideally you should have about two quarts or almost two liters of water for each person to consume each day. Store what you can comfortably carry in your emergency bag, and add a portable water purifier so you can use available water sources.
So for one person you would want to have 6 quarts or 6 liters for the whole 72 hour kit. That’s a lot to carry. Mountain Man was happy to hear her suggestion of water purifying sources. We live by a major river and several lakes, and he doesn’t understand why I want him to carry 16 liters of water around in a pack. So I will be repacking our packs with Een’s suggestion of enough water we can comfortably carry and then a purifying system. Mountain Man has a system for backpacking but we generally keep that with our camping gear and it would be nice to have one JUST for our 72 hour kits, so if we had to really run, we could grab our kits and not worry about rifling through our camping gear to find the purifier.
I think I’ll look into the different types of purifiers and do a review post on them. I don’t know much about them, but I'd like to find which one would work for our family.
Utensils. Include one cup with a lid (to be used as a shaker for mixing powdered meal replacements) and a butter knife.
So this is something else I need to look for. Shaker cups with lids for the protein drinks—one for each person. Cuts down on the amount of utensils by using this meal plan too.
A sample meal plan for one person for three days would include nine meal replacements plus 1½ cups or a 12-ounce bag of dried fruit, peanut butter to provide at least six two-tablespoon servings, and about 40 saltine crackers or another cracker equivalent.
I love that Een laid out a meal plan for one person. So for four people (my family) I would need 36 meal replacements, plus 6 cups of dried fruit or 48 oz, 48 Tablespoons or 3 cups of PB (that doesn’t seem right? maybe my tablespoons are larger than others) and 160 crackers. Or one package of saltines/per person.
Calculate the food amounts needed for your family and round to the nearest convenient product size that is commercially available, taking care not to round down too much.
These emergency kits are easy to assemble with readily available items. The meal replacements are nutrient dense and fortified with vitamins and minerals so you can reach or approach nutritional adequacy and meet special dietary needs. They don’t need to be heated, and you can easily store everything in a moderate-size duffle bag or backpack. Best of all is the peace of mind in knowing you’ve prepared for your nutritional needs should an emergency evacuation ever occur.I think I’m going to redo my 72 hour kit. I’ll have to do it slowly because protein drinks and bars aren’t cheap---but I’m excited to have this goal because I think it will be a space saver, and I’ll know that we’re getting the right nutrition. Not to mention this eliminates the need to have a stove or something to cook with.
What are your thoughts about 72 hour kit nutrition?