Why You Need Comfort Foods in Your Food Storage Pantry

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Imagine a scenario where you’ve meticulously prepared for six months’ worth of provisions, complete with an ample supply of water and essential supplies. You’ve taken every precaution possible, ensuring you’re well-equipped to face any unforeseen challenges that may arise. But amid all your preparations, did you remember the power of comfort foods? Here’s why I recommend that you include in your emergency food storage planning foods that make you feel better.

boy wearing blue shirt and glasses holding a plate of brownies and saying Ohhhh

Why are Comfort Foods Important?

Now, picture a sudden shift in circumstances. A catastrophic event has unfolded, leaving you and your family with no option but to rely solely on the resources you’ve carefully accumulated. Trips to the grocery store are a distant memory, dining out is no longer an option, and fast food is a luxury of the past. Your family’s survival hinges entirely on the provisions you’ve stockpiled.

Consider the events and circumstances that could cause this to happen. A total collapse of our economy, perhaps? A horrific natural disaster or civil war? A complete and abrupt end to your income flow due to downsizing, or a temporary income disruption due to a government shutdown? Whatever the case might be, when the time comes that you must rely solely on what you have stored, you can count on overwhelming levels of stress and anxiety. Regardless of the trigger, the emotional upheaval that follows remains a constant. During these trying times, the simple pleasure and emotional reassurance that comfort foods provide can be a game-changer.

In the midst of the trauma, it’s dinner time. The family sits down at the table for their usual dreary meal of beans and re-hydrated vegetables, and what do they see? Why, a pan of hot, fresh-from-the-Sun-Oven brownies!!!! This rare treat brings smiles, laughter, and in a matter of minutes, the pan is empty. That is the power of comfort food and why I recommend that it be part of your food storage.

(Check out this recipe to make a phenomenal rice and beans meal. So good!)

The Science Behind the Foods that Make Us Feel Better

The science of comfort food delves into the intricate relationship between our brain chemistry, emotions, and the foods we find emotionally soothing.

Food Ingredients

Comfort foods are typically high in sugar, fat, and carbohydrates, which can trigger the release of feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine in our brains. These neurotransmitters are associated with pleasure and reward, creating a sense of emotional well-being when we consume comfort foods.

The Emotional Connection

Comfort foods possess a unique ability to offer solace and reassurance when everything else is uncertain. These are the foods woven into our personal histories, linked to cherished memories and moments of happiness. It might be a steaming plate of your mother’s signature meatloaf, accompanied by creamy mashed potatoes and rich gravy. For someone else, it could be the indulgence of homemade apple pie, evoking the warmth of simpler times. For my husband, it’s the less conventional fried Spam and rice. (No joke.)

The combination of the neurochemical response and the emotional associations makes comfort foods a powerful tool for improving mood and providing a sense of comfort during times of stress or distress. Makes more sense, now, why we turn to specific dishes in moments of need, doesn’t it?

Here’s the Comfort Food I’m Sure to Keep Stocked



Good ol’ creamy, cheesy noodles of deliciousness.

In the world of comfort foods, personal preferences reign supreme, and I’ve stocked up on macaroni-and-cheese specifically because it’s my kids’ favorite meal. In the short term, readily available Kraft macaroni and cheese serves the purpose well. For long-term planning it’s #10 cans of macaroni and cheese powder. Plus, a dozen or so boxes of brownie mix are tucked on a back shelf in the pantry, hidden because we love being comforted by brownies more often than we really should!

How to Add Comfort Foods Into Your Food Storage Plan

Create a list of these cherished dishes and their essential ingredients, and gradually incorporate them into your emergency provisions. Pay close attention to the storage requirements of these ingredients. Some may be suitable for short-term storage, while others may need special packaging for extended shelf life.

If cookies are on your family’s list of comfort foods, this article will help you properly store cookie ingredients.

You could keep chocolate chips and M & M’s in canning jars vacuum-sealed with a FoodSaver.

If meals with pasta make you feel better, try out my marinara sauce topped with freeze-dried cheese. Yum!

In cases where your favorite comfort food components aren’t conducive to long-term storage, explore alternatives that can replicate the taste and emotional connection. And as with all of your food storage, rotate your comfort foods as well.

Other Comfort Food Suggestions

  1. Chicken Soup – Here’s a no-recipe soup that allows you the freedom to use whatever you have on hand to make a comforting pot of soup or keep a supply of dry soup mixes handy.
  2. Pizza – This is doable if you think through the shelf-stable options for your favorite toppings and can make your own pizza dough from scratch.
  3. Survival Mom’s Macho Mexican Rice – Ok, it’s a shameless plug, but it’s really good and rice is a great meal stretcher. Let me know what you think if you try it!
  4. Pancakes with maple syrup – Not everyone is lucky enough to have maple trees, but if you are here’s our guide to tapping for maple syrup.
  5. Chicken Pot PieFreeze-dried chicken is a shelf-stable option.
  6. Biscuits and Gravy – Here are recipes for biscuits and gravy using food storage ingredients.
  7. Beef StewBuy beef from a farmer and then can the meat to have a shelf-stable supply for this filling treat. You already know how to make the biscuits from the biscuits and gravy to sop up all that stewy goodness!
  8. Tacos – If you think life without Mexican food is no life at all, then stock freeze-dried ground beef, the ingredients for your own taco seasoning, and learn to make homemade masa and tortillas.
  9. Peanut Butter and Jelly SandwichStock jars of peanut butter for the short-term and store peanut butter powder for the long-term. Make sure you have yeast for making homemade bread. Then all you do is pull some of the jam from the freezer you made yourself, too!

Final Thoughts

So, have you thought about the comfort foods that hold significance for you and your loved ones? It’s a question worth considering. While practicality and preparedness are crucial, it’s equally essential not to overlook the emotional aspect of readiness. In times of crisis, the power of comfort foods transcends mere nutrition. They become a lifeline to normalcy, offering moments of respite and psychological nourishment when they’re needed most. So, did you remember the power of comfort foods in your survival plan?

What comfort food do you stock in your food storage pantry?

Originally published March 7, 2012

28 thoughts on “Why You Need Comfort Foods in Your Food Storage Pantry”

  1. Lucas_SurvCache

    Is it bad that I buy Mac and Cheese as a regular survival prep food? Haha 🙂 The great-value walmart brand is 50 cents a box. That's hard to beat.

    But I agree with your point, the longer you go in a survival situation the more morale become key.

    My comfort foods would be sweets, or homemade spaghetti sauce

    1. TheSurvivalMom

      Have you checked out my homemade marinara recipe here on this blog? It's so simple but so delicious! If you think yours' is better, you'll have to post it!!

      1. Lucas_SurvCache

        You marinara recipe looks pretty delicious, and I like that it's easy.

        I actually don't know a thing about the recipe of mine, haha.

        My grandmother grows tomatoes and makes sauce every year. It is amazing and I have gotten so spoiled I won't even eat store bought sauce anymore. I have to make several trips up there per year to get a case, yes she makes it by the case.

  2. For me, my list is green bean cassarole, chinese hot dish and hot chocolate. Nothing beats a hard cold day like a mug of hot chocolate.

  3. What security measures do you have in place to keep "predators" out of your comfort foods?
    ( i.e. My husband is the worst! I can't keep chewy granola bars or Chex Mix stockpiled!)

    1. TheSurvivalMom

      My security measure is a pantry door that gets stuck in the door jamb! That's about it. My son is the worst predator in the family, so that sticky door is hardly an issue for him. When he's hungry for a granola bar, he'll find a way to get it!

      1. For a relatively small amount, you can always "package" them inside something else. Put them inside a big puffy (spare) comforter or a stack of linens. Or in the middle of a box of books that everyone has outgrown, but no one wants to get rid of. Or a box of girl clothes. 🙂

          1. I had Zone Bars (note the past tense) behind other things in our grocery store food storage, double wrapped in plastic bags. DH did admit they were well hidden and tough to find when he dug them out. But dig them out he did. :-p I have to admit, I know that Zone Bars will never last to a SHTF situation in our house, but at least hiding them where the kids can't find them and dh has to search means they might be there when we're low on food in the regular pantry and we need something super fast.

            I have some five gallon buckets I just got at Lowe's that have camping gear, wool socks, new underwear and other things we don't need soon that I really REALLY don't want to have turn into mouse houses before we need it. I may take another one and put some things like Zone Bars in it to leave them "hidden" in plain site. After all, how likely that your spouse or kids will disturb the spare socks or underwear tubs? (Note: These are prepackaged items that won't spend 5 or 10 yrs stored here, which is why I'm not too concerned about them not being in food-grade containers.)

          2. TheSurvivalMom

            Your husband is incorrigible!!!! Sounds a lot like my 8 yo son! LOL Maybe next time you could try storing that type of food in a maxi-pad box.

          3. Lisa,
            I think you may have a new article or contest here. "Where are your best hiding places from the scavengers in YOUR home?" LOVE the Maxipad idea! I may use my large Tampax box. ROFL!!!

  4. Coconut curry chicken and rice does it for me.
    Life just isn't worth living without something curried on rice.

    To that end, a few years ago, we transplanted a small grove of mature coconut trees that a home builder was just going to cut down; although free, the backhoe and transport weren't cheap but we have a good supply of versatile fresh coconuts which we've supplemented with packaged coconut milk powder for quick meal preps.

    Good Madras curry, freeze-dried chicken, onions and peppers, sugar and rice are prominent storage items at the family compound as well. We also store a mix of canned stock and bullion cubes to complete our particular comfort food picture.

    Next on the "just do it already" list are gardening and preserving onions, peppers, and beans to achieve a higher level of self-sustainability.

    After that…Chickens, but I'm not quite ready for that leap yet.
    Soon come…

  5. Pingback: 37 Things You Should Stock but Probably Aren't

  6. Girls, several years ago I came across a book written by Vicki Tate. It is called "Cooking with Home Storage". It is an excellent resource. She not only has recipes giving the exact amounts to use such as " 1/2 c dried milk" but she gives many helpful hints in her book, about natural remedies etc. Well worth the price. I checked and it is still available on amazon.com. Vicki Tate is a Morman and has practiced food storage for years. A lot of wisdom in the book.

    1. Vicki Tate is very well known in food storage circles. You can find one of her books, Cookin' With Home Storage, on Amazon.

  7. Anybody have a recipe for snickers bars and peanut m&m’s that can be made from long term storage items????!!!!

        1. You’ll first need some sort of vacuum sealer that has the capability of attaching a jar sealer. I have a food saver and the attachment was less than ten bucks or so. You’ll also need canning jars. Here’s a quick video that demonstrates how easy this is, http://youtu.be/R4Wk_0xVBbM

        1. Not if you use a vacuum sealer with the jar attachment. Watch for a video coming up in a few days that demonstrates how to do this.

  8. My comfort food is grease fried brown eggs and crab cakes. But my family were Chesapeake Watermen so there you go.

  9. I have been doing a lot of canning. Found an old Presto Canner/ Cooker in my Mom’s cellar and would like to use it too. Big problem, the lid seems sealed to the canner body and won’t budge. I guess the sealing ring is the problem. Any ideas how I get this open, so I can clean and use the canner after having the pressure gauge checked? Susan B.

  10. I hide all the snack packages in a empty diaper box so far it works really good! He hasnt found them yet… My husband is the worst I swear he can sniff them out like a blood hound! Lol

  11. We’ve had Preparedness Expos for the last few years and at the first one, a woman showed a shopping cart with the equivalent of a 3 day food supply for a family of 4. Included with things like oatmeal and peanut butter was a package of cake/ice cream sprinkles. I asked what they were for, thinking I was going to find out they have another cool and unheard of use like water purification or something. Her answer, “Morale builder. Sprinkles are associated with fun and happy things, so even some sprinkled on the oatmeal could give everyone a smile.” So next trip to the dollar store I bought some. Now I will add brownie mix or cake mix. Would vacuum sealing homemade mix work?

    PS for the curry lovers: Trader Joe’s used to carry some curried items in the sealed heavy bags; very slim and lightweight and just heat and eat, no water or added ingredients necessary. If you have one near you it may be worth checking out.

  12. Don’t forget popcorn as a primary comfort food.
    At my local restaurant supply store, it’s 10 lbs. for $10.00. A 50 lb. bag is $32.99.

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