Using Emergency Food in Everyday Circumstances

If you’re like me, you grew up with a mother who always lectured everyone at the dinner table to finish their food because it’s a sin to waste it.

As a kid, her words of wisdom didn’t mean much to me. I just wanted to eat fast and get back outside to play. As an adult, I’ve realized just how right she was. Food and water are precious resources, so why waste them?

When I started prepping for disasters – well before I developed Food4Patriots – I recognized how important expiration dates were. There’s no way I was going to put that much work into survival planning, only to be faced with a crisis and a basement full of expired survival food and water.

I developed a system to manage expiration dates for emergency food and water supplies. I used a small notebook to track food, water, batteries, light sticks, first aid supplies, etc.

I didn’t keep the log with my disaster supplies where I could easily forget about it. I kept it front and center on my office desk, so I didn’t forget it. I checked the log quarterly for upcoming expirations and planned accordingly to avoid waste.

If you are like I was – a DIY person who did not yet have survival food with a long shelf life stored, or if you’re someone who just wants to store additional items that don’t last quite as long – keep an eye on expiration dates.

One idea for food that is rapidly reaching its expiration date is to donate it to your local shelter. Make sure they are aware of the expiration dates. Otherwise, find a way to use it in your daily life. Here are a few that work for me:


Water that you’ve stored is great for camping and even making coffee at home. We are all conserving water, so please try to use your water rations instead of pouring them out. If you believe your water has already been stored for a year or more, use it to water plants and flowers.


I love taking my survival food on camping trips! I think it’s important to be familiar with food preparation. You don’t want to be in a crisis and not know how to cook your survival food quickly and properly.

Recently, I threw a survival party in my backyard. It was a great teaching moment for my family. We used food that was approaching its expiration dates, and I had a chance to teach my extended family how to prep for disaster.

If you’re not able to use survival food in your daily life, please donate it to a worthy cause. My local youth homeless shelter happily takes survival food up to the date of expiration. They put the food to good use and I get a tax write-off for my donation.

Batteries and Light Sticks

Batteries are an easy item to rotate into your daily life, but if you’re unable to use them, check with local schools and libraries for donation opportunities. Light sticks are perfect for a family camping trip, or can be donated to a local kid’s or church camp.

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