If you’re trying to decide which extra foods to have on hand in the event of an emergency or prolonged illness, it can feel overwhelming to decide in the moment. These 15 best shelf-stable foods for kids are pantry staples that can form the base of many healthy and simple meals.

best-shelf-stable-foods-for-kidsShelf Stable Foods for Kids

I know firsthand how hard it can be to figure out what emergency supplies to have on hand for kids, especially since most of us aren’t really in the habit of stocking up for anything other than storms like hurricanes. But if you do find yourself needing a few extra foods to keep on hand for the kids (and yourself), these 15 basics are a good place to start.

These foods can all be stored on a shelf in the pantry and can be enhanced with other things you may have on hand such as butter, olive oil, spices (such as cinnamon), cheese, salt, and maple syrup.

Emergency Foods for Kids

If you were to lose power or have no access to a grocery store, that would clearly be an emergency. So perhaps consider these your backup shelf stable foods should that ever happen—and keep them in a box where you can regularly check expiration dates, but not use all of them up throughout the course of a normal week of cooking. (Or if you do, simply add them back to your grocery list!

  1. Applesauce
  2. Beans (dried or canned)
  3. Canned fruit (I recommend juice canned in 100% juice instead of the artificially sweetened “no added sugar” kind)
  4. Cereal
  5. Crackers
  6. Dried fruit
  7. Granola bars
  8. Flour (to make simple bread like this No-Knead one; sub in a baking mix or more crackers or cereal if you prefer)
  9. Mac and cheese
  10. Nut or seed butter
  11. Oatmeal
  12. Pasta
  13. Pasta sauce
  14. Rice
  15. Shelf-stable milk (such as plant milk, Pharmalat, or single serve milks)

Food to Keep in the Freezer

You may also want to add a few things to your freezer. This may not help if you experience a power loss, but it can help if you find yourself at home and unable to get to the store due to sickness. My best freezer foods are here.

Best Store-Bought Snacks for Kids

If you want to keep some extra snacks on hand for the kids, you can find my go-to healthy store-bought food list here. It includes a section on shelf-stable foods too!

Quick Reminder to Remember Neighbors

If you’re stocking your own pantry, consider buying a few extra staples to donate to your local food pantry. They’re always in need of supplies—check with yours to see what’s on their list of items that they need—and a little can go a long way.

Do you have a shelf stable food that you love to keep on hand for your kids? Comment below so I can add it to my list!

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  1. Canned tuna or salmon; oats, coconut, honey, nuts & seeds (can make energy balls). Cocunut milk in cans or powdered and dried chia seeds can be made into chia pudding just by soaking. We love with vanilla or cacao powder and maple syrup the best. I keep dried foods in resealable buckets. Dried lentils are good if there is a way to cook.