Canned goods are not only a great way to stock up on food in case of an emergency, but also a fantastic way to feed your family every day. Canned goods are fairly inexpensive, they keep for a long time, they’re frequently quick and easy to prepare, and they are readily available and easy to store.
Building a Canned Food Stash
Many preppers rely on canned goods to form a hefty chunk of their food supply for the same reasons that they’re convenient for every day use. If you’re looking to build up your food storage on a budget, I challenge you to pick up five extra cans of food each time you visit the supermarket. Within a few short months, you’ll have really started to build up a stash of canned food.
You can also order canned goods, oftentimes by the case at a discount, online. If you utilize sites with free shipping or take advantage of special shipping discounts (like free shipping for orders over so much or buying more under a flat rate shipping rate rather than making separate orders), you can absolutely make buying canned goods online worth your while. Sites like Amazon and Dollar Tree offer decent deals on canned foods.
Cans for $1 or Under
Here are some valuable food items you can purchase in a can for $1 or less :
#1. Condensed soup 10.75 oz can, $0.99
Condensed soup is a compact way to carry a satisfying meal in a small package. Be sure you have enough fresh water stored, as well, or this item won’t do you much good. There are tons of different varieties of condensed soups; be sure that you store some of your family’s favorites. Try each type you plan to stock up on beforehand to make sure you’re not stuck with 100 cans of soup you hate.
#2. Canned Chicken (5 oz can, $1)
Canned chicken is super versatile. You can create a salad spread from it, set it up to be the star of casseroles, or even put it on your pizza. It’s got a dose of the fat and protein your body needs to stay up and running.
#3. Sweet potatoes Princella 15 oz can, $0.99
Sweetened and seasoned are my favorite, and they instantly bring to mind Thanksgiving feasts. They’re also a good source of fiber and vitamin A. They can be used to help sweeten up items if conventional sweeteners are no longer available.
Related: Top 10 Foods to Grow for Survival
#4. Vienna sausages (4.6 oz can, $0.99)
These are the perfect on-the-go fuel. You can eat them right out of the can, no heating or prep necessary. While they’re likely not the healthiest canned meat option, they’re palatable, portable, and extremely cheap.
#5. Canned pasta (15 oz can, found for between $0.75 and $1)
There are several different types of canned pasta available on your local supermarket’s shelves. Choose a few that appeal to you and your family and stock up, or use the many different types to add heat-and-eat variety to your pantry.
#6. Carrots (14.5 oz can, $0.99)
With lots of vitamin A, carrots are well known for their ability to help the eyes, but there’s more to them than that. They’re fibrous and sweet, making them satisfying. They’re also neutral enough in flavor that you can add them to many dishes to create bulk.
#7. Plain beans (black, kidney, etc.) (approximately 15 oz cans, most all varieties available for under $1)
They frequently get a bad rap for their gas-causing potential, but they’re great survival food. They are high in fiber and therefore very filling, and they’ll tide you over for much longer than carb-rich foods. They’re also high in protein, giving your body the fuel it needs to keep going when the going gets tough.
#8. Salmon (5 oz can, $1)
There’s a reason that salmon is thought of as a health food. It’s nutrient dense, and it contains lots of important fats like DHA that are hard to find in the average diet, maybe especially a diet made up of stored foods. Plus, it’s got a much more pleasant texture than canned tuna in many people’s opinion.
#9. Peas (15 oz can, $0.59)
Peas are great survival food. They’re sweet, fibery, and full of protein. It also has plenty of the minerals our bodies need like calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium.
#10. Broth (14.5 oz can, $0.59)
Broth is great to keep on hand in case of illness or injury. Canned broth is a good dose of healthy proteins and fluids that’s easy to prepare. In a SHTF situation, it could be that fresh carcasses and bones that you’d normally use to make your own broth would be unavailable, making this classic soup base something worth storing.
#11. Pineapple Slices Del Monte (15 oz can, $1)
Pineapple has some potential uses beyond the carbs from sugar, fiber, and hefty dose of vitamin C it provides. Pineapple has been used as a cough remedy by many, and a component of pineapple has even been considered as a commercial cough suppressant.
#12. Pork and beans (16 oz can, $0.69)
These tasty canned beans were a childhood dietary staple of days gone by for many people. They’re very filling and simple to heat up, creating a close-to-complete meal in a can. Try a few varieties until you find one that suits your palate.
#13. Spinach (13.5 oz can, $0.99)
Spinach has been synonymous with strength for decades and there’s a good reason for it beyond the iconic cartoon character. It’s low in calories and it doesn’t take much of it to provide a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals.
#14. Ready to eat soups (various sizes and prices)
Think Progresso and Campbell’s Chunky, though you may need to find a sale to scoop these up for under $1. Check dollar stores or watch your local supermarket ads. There are a ton of different soups available in this heat-and-eat format. Add a little bread to make them into a filling meal you could even share between two people.
Sardines (7.5 oz can, $1)- Some people love them, some hate them. If you can stomach them, they’re a great way to add healthy fats and calcium to your storage diet. They’re great brain food because they have a hefty dose of the fat your brain needs to function.
#15. Pureed Pumpkin Clover Valley (15 oz can, $1)
Another item you may need to find a sale for if you want it for under $1, but it is possible, especially if you can find a store brand. Pumpkin is high in potassium and vitamin C, and it’s also high in fiber. You can use it to make many desserts, or create more savory pasta sauces or breads with it.
#16. Pasta sauce (24 oz can, $1)
You can create a very psychologically satisfying pasta dinner with a can of pre-seasoned pasta sauce and a package of pasta. Canned pasta sauce is a simple heat-and-eat food, as well, and it’s incredibly versatile. It can become pizza sauce, it goes well with lots of different veggies, and you can add whatever protein you have handy to it to create a more well-rounded meal.
#17. Tamales (15 oz, $0.99)
These are a ready-to-eat food that you need only heat up. They are a complete meal that is very satisfying. Though most people would probably prefer homemade, it’s appealing to think of a more ‘traditional’ meal in a SHTF situation where they may be hard to come by.
#18. Sauerkraut (14.5 oz can, $0.99)
While fermenting your own foods isn’t all that complicated in its most basic form, it does take time. Fermented foods like sauerkraut can add health benefits to your panty stores, plus they pack a wallop when it comes to flavor.
#19. Beets (14.5 oz can, $0.49)
These are another sweet veggie that could have various uses if sweeteners are in short supply. In fact, most of the granulated sugar of today comes from beets. They’re also high in folate, which is crucial for women who may potentially bear children to ward off birth defects.
#20. Refried beans (16 oz can, $1)
These are great because they’re filling and they contain plenty of fat, something canned goods often lack. They also have lots of fiber, and they’re easy to eat. They’d be great in the event of a face or mouth injury that made chewing difficult as they don’t require much.
#21. Fruit cocktail (15 oz can, $0.99)
Dessert may be hard to come by if the going gets tough, and a can of fruit could be quite the morale booster. It contains lots of sugars from fruits and juices, and the variety means that there are a multitude of vitamins and minerals in each can.
#22. Olives (2.25 oz, $1)
Again, only small cans are likely to be found within the $1 limit. They contain lots of healthy fats and intense flavor that isn’t often found in canned goods. Plus, you can just eat them plain from the can with great satisfaction.
As you can see based on this list, you don’t have to break the bank to start a hearty canned food stash. Read on to get some tips for deciding which food items are right for your family.
It’s great to take your preparedness ventures one step at a time. If you’re brand new to prepping, you may want to start with canned foods that are heat-and-eat. Canned soups, pastas, and other full-meal type canned goods are perfect because they allow you to be sure your family is easily fed in the face of an emergency. Be sure you include a way to heat these cans in your preps in case the stove or microwave isn’t an option.
If you’ve been at this a while, you likely have enough ready-to-eat food to get you through an initial emergency situation, and you might want to work on building up the diversity of your stash. Take a look at your current food preps and invest in filling in any nutritional gaps. That way, you can turn your focus on keeping your family healthy over an extended period of time.
It’s important that you store your canned goods in a cool, dry place to best preserve them. There’s a lot of debate about canned food’s expiration dates and whether they’re really applicable, but no canned food in cans that have been corroded or damaged will stay good for long, so make sure you tuck it away some place safe.
It’s important that you use up your oldest canned goods of whatever variety first. When you buy new canned goods, place them at the back of your storage for that type of good, shifting the others forward to be used first. Rotating your goods appropriately before a disaster will help ensure your canned goods stay good for longer in an emergency.
Don’t buy a bunch of canned goods your family hates, no matter how inexpensive they are. If your family hates tomatoes passionately and you never eat them in your everyday meals, your money is probably better served buying fruits and vegetables that are anything but tomatoes. While this isn’t to say that there’s no place for foods you don’t care all that much for regularly in your preps, definitely do your best to replace them with items you find more palatable.
Having food you enjoy on hand may help keep spirits up in a disaster situation, and that could mean life or death at some point in a SHTF scenario.
You Can Build Your Canned Food Storage $1 at a Time
Even when money is tight, you can continue building up your food storage with canned foods. In fact, building up a supply of canned food is not only good for a survival situation, but when money is tight. It means that even if you’re broke, you still have the means to feed your family because you prepared in advance.
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