Best Emergency Food For Car [Top Best 15 Foods]

This article will inform you about the necessary details you need to know about emergency food for cars, why you need to stock food, and a list of food you can keep for a long time.

Because we spend hours in our cars, we are more likely to encounter an emergency or get stuck while traveling. We should not restrict our preparation actions to our own houses.

Instead, while we’re on the road, we should be prepared with the essentials, at the very least food and drink.

Let’s dive in and learn about emergency food for cars and the important things to know before stocking up.

grocery shopping for food

It’s difficult to choose the perfect emergency food for your car since it must be calorie-dense and able to endure harsh temperatures.

Because the temperature within your vehicle may easily reach above 120°F, heat is a significant issue. If the temperature outside is 95°F, your car may get 140°F, and a warm temperature can quickly spoil food.

Meanwhile, many foods don’t have an issue with freezing temperatures. The coldness might even help in preserving the food. However, temperature swings, on the other hand, are an issue.

Moisture pockets may emerge when meals are frozen and thawed frequently. Mold and germs flourish in these damp areas. Even low-moisture meals like dried fruits might cause this.

Foods that are not susceptible to temperature changes and have little or no moisture content are the best to keep in your vehicle. To extend the shelf life of the foods mentioned here, keep them in a cool, dark area whenever feasible.

Additionally, try to learn the climate and temperature in the area you might be driving to or where you’re parking your car or bugging in. This step will be essential to determine what kind of food you can stock that won’t get ruined quickly.

Benefits of Storing Food in Your Car

stocks of food supply

So, what should you bring in your vehicle in an emergency? While you may not have extra snacks regularly, you will notice a significant difference on days when you do.

Long road trips, becoming stranded on the side of the road, getting stuck in traffic, or just wanting a snack after a long hike may benefit from emergency food.

Also, when you’re driving with someone with a blood sugar condition, having some sweets can come in handy for when their blood sugar suddenly drops.

Having snacks in your car keeps you from getting hungry or bored, but it can also save lives.

Foods to Avoid Keeping in Your Car

full packed car trunk

Many meals that are best for emergency preparation are terrible for your vehicle storage. Knowing which foods not to keep inside your car is as vital as learning what you can stock.

Here’s a handful of food not to leave hanging in your vehicle.

Foods With Fat

Peanut butter, almonds, granola, and several packaged meals are high-fat foods sensitive to heat.

Heat will cause the lipids to grow rotten even if you store the food in an oxygen-free environment, such as mylar bags with oxygen absorbers (on Amazon).

One research revealed that keeping the peanut butter at 104°F, it only took 8-12 weeks to develop bacteria causing it to spoil. It is theoretically okay to consume rotten food since it will not make you sick. 

However, it has an unpleasant flavor and may cause digestive problems. You wouldn’t want to spend hours on the road or in a remote place with an upset stomach.

canned meat product

Products from Animals

Aside from fat content, many individuals suggest storing animal foods in the vehicle for emergencies, such as tuna pouches, beef jerky, and milk powder.

In lower conditions, these meals are okay. You do not want them in your car in the summer heat in the summer heat, though. 

They’ll swiftly get rotten due to their high-fat content. Animal products are highly likely to contain hazardous germs, which may contaminate food if allowed to grow under high temperatures.

food in cans

Foods in Cans

Fatty and animal food are off the list. The next thing you’ll probably think of storing is canned goods with preservatives. Ideally, I won’t spoil for months.

However, canned foods are generally not suggested for car emergency food. Meals in cans may freeze in cold temperatures. The growing contents have the potential to burst the can’s seal.

Don’t worry. It is still okay to consume frozen, canned food, but only if the seal is still intact. 

You may not recognize the seal has broken, especially if it has been in your trunk for years, and then you’ll wind up eating potentially unsafe food. Some canned food even explodes inside cars.

It’s debatable if you can store canned food at high temperatures. Heat can weaken the nutrients in canned meals, but it should be safe to consume since canned food is sterile.

But some canned goods include thermophile bacteria, which can only thrive at temperatures of 122°F to 131°F, according to the FDA. 

In the summer, the interior of a car may easily reach these temperatures. Therefore I wouldn’t suggest storing canned food in your car for several months.

15 Emergency Food For Car

emergency food supply lined up

Finally, now that you know about the food stocking requirements, why it’s essential to store food, and what not to keep in your car for long, let’s go and look at the foods you can save as emergency food.

You may notice some items that fall under those foods that you shouldn’t stock in your car in this list. You can still store and consume them but with proper precautions.

1. Jerky Made From Beef

Beef jerky is a protein-rich and calorie-dense snack. 

It’s also a meal with a two-year shelf life and the ability to resist temperature fluctuations seen in most cars. Beef jerky’s calorie count per ounce is 88, with 9.4 grams of protein per oz.

2. Instant Oatmeal

Instant oatmeal (on Amazon) is a fast and simple meal to make as long as you have the means to heat water. 

It has a two-year shelf life, making it an excellent food for long-term preservation. 

Instant oatmeal isn’t particularly rich in fat or protein, but it does provide a substantial amount of satisfying carbohydrates. It has 105 calories per ounce, with carbohydrates per ounce of 21 grams.

3. Assorted Nuts

Mixed nuts are a quick and easy snack packed in calories and protein. 

They don’t need any preparation and may give you a burst of energy when you need it most. Mixed nuts (on Amazon) have 164 calories per ounce and 6 grams of protein.

4. Trail Mix

Like mixed nuts but with greater variety, Trail mix is a delightful, calorie-dense snack that is simple to store and enjoy. 

Trail mix has a lot of energy-boosting carbohydrates from the dried fruits and protein and healthy fats from the mixed nuts. 

Just be sure the trail mix (on Amazon) doesn’t include any chocolate or other items that can melt in a hot vehicle. Also, this food comes with calories in a pound of 151 and 3.9 grams of protein per ounce.

5. Ramen Noodles

Although ramen noodles are low in nutrition, they are a satisfying snack that you may keep for years without rotting. Ramen noodles are also heavy in sodium, which helps you restore salt lost through sweat.

While Ramen noodles (on Amazon) may be eaten without any preparation, having the means to boil water would make them much more delightful. It contains 127 calories and 577 mg sodium per ounce.

MREs prepared in plates and bowls

6. Ready-to-Eat Meals

Ready-to-Eat Meals are probably recognizable to anybody who has served in the military. Civilians may acquire these pre-packaged meals in quantity.

Foods that are prepared and ready to eat are easy to store, have a long shelf life, and need no preparation, making them excellent meals in your car.

MRE Meal (on Amazon) varies in macronutrient content from meal to meal, but they are usually satisfying and healthy — even if they aren’t the best-tasting food on the planet.

7. Electrolyte Powders

If you have powdered electrolytes in your car, you’ll have an excellent substitute for bottled water. 

Electrolyte powders (on Amazon) are also packed with energy-boosting sweets to get you through the day, and if left unopened, it has a two-year shelf life. It contains 7.9 calories per ounce and 1.6 grams of sugar per ounce when added to water.

8. Bottled Water

Although bottled water isn’t a food item, it is one of the most critical items in your car if you’re planning a bugout. 

The human body can endure several days without food but only a few days without water before succumbing to dehydration.

In addition, many of the additional food products you could keep in your car need water to prepare. Ensure a big bottle of water is on your shopping list, regardless of your chosen foods.

9. Multivitamins

Although multivitamins aren’t food considerably, they are good alongside other food products in your car. That’s to ensure you receive the nutrients you need. 

Getting all of your essential nutrients while not being able to consume fresh meat and veggies would be difficult in a bugout situation.

A decent multivitamin (on Amazon) may help you acquire the necessary nutrients to be strong, active, and healthy even if you eat a restricted diet.

10. Pinto Beans

Pinto beans are a must-have for preppers since they are filling, simple to cook, and long shelf life. 

These kinds of beans are also abundant in calories and protein, making them one of the healthiest foods you can keep in a vehicle for a long time.

Water, a container, and the ability to create fire are all required to cook pinto beans (on Amazon). There are 89 calories in one ounce and 6.1 grams of protein per ounce.

protein bars piled up like jenga

11. Protein Bars

As their name implies, protein bars are one of the most acceptable methods to get a lot of protein in a short period. Protein bars are satisfying, calorie-dense, and delicious.

Protein bars (on Amazon) are an excellent choice if you’re looking for a quick snack that packs a punch in protein and calories.

12. SPAM

SPAM is not the healthiest or best-tasting meat product, but it is one of the few you can keep without rotting for five years outside the refrigerator. 

It has an excellent nutritional value if you look for calories and protein.

The high sodium content of SPAM (on Amazon), like Ramen noodles, may help you replenish the sodium lost through sweat during the difficult bugging out. 

Also, there are 87 calories per ounce, 3.5 grams of protein per ounce, and 544 mg sodium per ounce.

13. Macaroni and Cheese

If your favorite meals aren’t on our list, you’ll be happy to know that macaroni and cheese are also great food to have in your vehicle. Mac and cheese is a tasty and easy-to-make recipe.

It’s also a long-lasting snack that’s quite filling and calorie-dense. But it’s another meal that needs boiling water to prepare. The calorie count per ounce is 108.

14. Instant Coffee

Given the amount of energy required in a bugout situation, you’ll need all the energy boosters you can acquire. 

Unlike ground coffee, which has a short shelf life, you can keep an instant coffee for twenty years without going bad.

Most importantly, instant coffee (on Amazon) is significantly simpler to make. Instant coffee is an obvious option for storage in your car because of these two characteristics. There are 1.5 calories per ounce when added to water.

15. Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds take a bit more work to consume than other meals, so they’re not the most efficient method to become whole. 

On the other hand, Sunflower seeds have a variety of additional advantages that make them an excellent meal to have in your car.

For example, sunflower seeds (on Amazon) are a healthful but high-sodium snack. This type of seed is very delicious to eat and might help you relax on lengthy vehicle drives, and there are 162 calories per ounce.

Last Words

Let me share some additional essential tips with you.

First, you can consider alternating your emergency food at daylight savings time. Many individuals rotate their car foods this way. It’s simpler to recall using this approach. During this time, you may also double-check your other preparations.

Also, dry goods, such as cereals and crackers, collect moisture from the air and must be protected. They may start to mold if you stay in a high-humidity environment. If you have a lot of food in your vehicle, it’s tempting to consume it as a snack.

As a result, your family may choose things they don’t really like as emergency food. Think of these foods as your potential third choice. In this way, you’ll only consume them if you have no other option.

Alternatively, select emergency meals you like and eat daily like granola bars, dried fruit, nuts, or something similar. A portion of emergency food will always be fresh as long as you remember to re-stock it.

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