Why You Should Include Junk Food in Your Food Storage Pantry

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Add junk food storage to your food storage pantry.Disasters are stressful, no question about it. The power goes out, maybe the water and heat along with it. The kids are whining and probably at least a little scared. You and your spouse are edgy, perhaps getting more than a little short with each other. You’re all stuck at home, either because the roads are terrible or because there’s just no place to go, no stores or restaurants are open.

This is just the time to break into your junk food storage to bring a bit of comfort.

Comfort food is just that, food that provides psychological, if not physical, comfort. It does so not because it is chock full of nutritious goodness but, in many cases at least, because it doesn’t do a damn thing for you but taste good. Much of the time, comfort foods are what we call “junk food”.

Junk food is a guilty pleasure. We know we shouldn’t eat very much of it. We know that fruits and vegetables are a far better, healthier choice for snacking. But, y’know what? Sometimes a body just needs salt, grease, and chocolate!

Now, I’m not suggesting you abandon your food storage plans and get rid of the home canned veggies, the soups, the stews, and all that good stuff. What I am suggesting, though, is you add to your storage at least a few selections from the shady side of the food pyramid.

Popcorn is a great choice, but go for the bagged, already popped, corn. Keep in mind that in an emergency, your ability to cook, whether with a microwave or stove top, may be limited. While yes, it is great fun to make popcorn the old fashioned way, with oil and a pan over a flame, that just might not be feasible depending upon the nature of the crisis. Some movie theaters sell gigantic bags of pre-popped popcorn already salted and ready to eat.

Chips are usually a hit as well. Many varieties will stay fresh a while as long as the bags are sealed. My own preference is for nacho cheese Doritos. Seriously, Doritos ranks rather high on my list of things I’m going to miss should the world come crashing down around my ears.

Of course, candy and chocolate deserve to be included on our list of comfort foods. Ideally, you already have a nice cool, dark spot in your house where you’re storing much of your disaster supplies. A few chocolate bars, maybe a few boxes of theater candy, and an assortment of other sugary goodies would be a great addition to the home emergency kit.

Most junk food isn’t packaged in a way that is intended for long-term food storage. Cookies, candy, crackers, and even smaller chips like Fritos will need to be repackaged if you plan on having junk food storage.

Now, I will readily admit that I’m a fiend for soda and I drink far more of it than is healthy for anyone. That said, I do actually drink less now than I did when I was younger, so that’s a step in the right direction. If you have a similar fixation on carbonated beverages, you might consider packing a few cans or bottles in with the other comfort foods. Keep in mind, though, that most of these fizzy drinks don’t have a very long shelf life. A bottle of soda I bought today at a convenience store is showing an expiration date about ten weeks from now. I can tell you from experience that, unlike the expiration dates you’ll find on other food products, the ones listed on Mountain Dew bottles are pretty factual. I tried a bottle once that was about two months out of date. That, um, did not go well.

I strongly suggest that any food items be stored in some sort of pest-proof container. A small Rubbermaid tote would work well, as would any other container made from heavy plastic that has a tight lid. It wouldn’t be very comforting to open up your box of goodies only to find that mice have made a nice home out of the now-empty chip bags. Keep in mind the enemies of food storage, rotate your junk food (that probably won’t be a problem!), and keep a stash for those stressful post-crisis days.

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Jim Cobb is a disaster preparedness consultant and author. His books include Prepper's Home Defense, The Prepper's Complete Book of Disaster Readiness, and Prepper's Long-Term Survival Guide.

6 thoughts on “Why You Should Include Junk Food in Your Food Storage Pantry”

  1. I have used my food saver to save hard candy and chocolate and for now I keep it in the fridge with the seeds . its our extra fridge. I also store chocolate powder for milk I love chocolate milk so when I buy a big container at sams club ill get 2 and food saver the other one..as for the cookies I do a lot of powdered and just food save it same with all the different chocolate chips..

    I want the kids to be able to have comfort foods some of my friends think I am crazy for storing junk food but I feel the kids and even the adults will need as much as they need fruits and vegs

  2. I’ve written before about living off our supplies when I was unemployed, and what we needed the most (and didn’t have!) was dessert. Sure, we had canned fruit, hard candy, and could bake molasses cookies, but we needed chocolate and gooey and crunch! Now, I keep chocolate chips and M & M’s in canning jars. I’ve bought cans of pudding powder. I buy bags of potato chips that we don’t eat until they’re about to expire, My FoodSaver has preserved gumdrops and candy fruit slices. Gummy bears didn’t work well, but it was worth a try. It’s amazing how much comfort you can find in little treats when the rough times hit, and they’re every bit as important as the basic food groups.

  3. I have vac -packed hard candy, M&M’s and chocolate in the storage. Just one note: Keep chocolates away from any heat source. If the bars or other chocolate candy have a whitish “bloom” on them. It’s the fats rising to the surface of the candy and they turn that funny whitish color if they get too near heat but if the chocolate is dry, crumbly and powderish all the way through , toss it, the candy has gone bad. When I used to run a candy store that is what I was taught.

  4. For soda/pop you could have a Soda Stream and then store an extra bottle or two of the co2. That way you could add the bubbles to juice or even just water to get the affect.

  5. If one knows anyone with a metal can sealer, consider dry pack canning the candies, for sure. Cocoa and sugar keep very well, and should not be a problem.

    Sometimes comfort foods are not always sweets, though, they usually are. I love my homemade meatloaf, and it is a comfort food for me. So I keep what I need to make a few for short to medium term situations.

    It has been my experience over many years of food storage, that, at least for Hershey’s milk chocolate bars, that even when they turn to powder, the powder is still edible. I just ate it with a spoon, but I think using it in some other dish would be more palatable for most.

    And, with the mention of Hershey’s milk chocolate bars, they are a great storage item, especially if dry-pack canned. They can be eaten as is, are easy to portion out due to the scoring, and can be chopped up for cookies and brownies to any degree of fineness, so separate bags of chips do not necessarily need to be stocked. Also, they can be gently melted, milk added, and you have hot chocolate.

    Another candy I store, especially in bug out bags and other gear that is exposed to temperature swings, is, of course, the old military standard, M&Ms. They will sweat a bit, and the colors run, but as long as the hard candy shell is still intact, they will not melt and run the way regular chocolate candies do.

    Next is Tootsie rolls. I do not like the Midges, as they get exceptionally hard in storage. But the larger sizes, up to the foot-longs, keep very well in both cold and heat. They are one of the sweets I carry in my various field bags and camping gear I keep at the ready. They will get soft in heat, but generally stay solid. And since the large ones are scored, they can be portioned out without too much hassle in who is getting the biggest piece.

    I keep packets of hot chocolate in my gear for both night time internal warm up before going to bed, and as a warm drink in cold weather anytime. And it is also a comfort food for me, especially the Swiss Miss Dark Chocolate version.

    Now, it may not be comfort food for some, but the flavored instant oatmeal packets are one of my favorites, and makes a very easy, nourishing breakfast. (I also use bacon flavor grits for this, too, but I doubt that many people would consider this comfort food.

    If there is a gum chewer in the family, and even if not, you might consider what I carry in the field for those times when a piece of gum can help stave off thirst, and just give a person something to do. That is the two-piece boxes of Chicklets gum. Like M&Ms, they have a hard coating and stand up well in the heat.

    Bags of individually wrapped Life Savers is one of the hard candies I keep. I prefer them over most of the other hard candies, excepting Starlight mints, butterscotch disks, and root beer barrels, with the peppermint disks a necessity for medicinal use with lemon and honey for cold symptoms. I particularly like the butter rum Life Savers but they are not that easy to find and tend to be a bit expensive when found in some areas.

    Though I have not been able to find it for some time, there was a chocolate product on the market for backpackers. It was a chocolate block, coated with wax, much like some cheeses. The wax kept it contained as long as the heat was not extreme.

    One last item, the will not be a comfort food for many, but is for me. Not to mention, a very nutritious food, nutrient dense, and long storing for emergency rations when travelling along with the other standards. That is premium fruit cake. Grandma’s Old Fashioned Fruitcake (brand name) is 85% fruit and nuts, available in several sizes of tins, and is very moist and flavorful.

    Just my opinion.

    Jerry D Young

  6. I stored name brand peanut butter crackers in my bugout bag and tried a package after two years and found them to be disgustingly rancid. Do take the time to check and rotate. A better solution for THAT snack may be a small jar of peanut butter and separate sealed crackers

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