Ideas for “No-Cook” Food Bags

— Written By N.C. Cooperative Extension
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NC State Extension Disaster Preparedness Publications

If you need to put together “no-cook” bags of food, consider the following items. If people lack refrigeration, consider container size when choosing foods like soups and juices. Make sure the foods can be eaten in one sitting. If people don’t have access to hot water, don’t choose foods that require hot water, like instant hot cereal.

Bread, Cereal, Rice, and Pasta Food Group

  • Bread
  • Crackers
  • Granola bars
  • Breakfast bars and pastries
  • Cold cereal
  • Canned noodle soups
  • Instant noodle soups

Vegetable Food Group

  • Vegetable soup
  • Tomato soup
  • Cans of tomato, carrot, or vegetable juices

Fruit Food Group

  • Cans of fruit
  • Boxed fruit juices
  • Cans of fruit juice

Meat, Poultry, Dry Beans, and Nuts Food Group

  • Canned goods – tuna, salmon, clams, shrimp, sardines, pork and beans, chili, stew, ravioli, spaghetti, meat spreads and chicken
  • Peanut butter
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Jerky
  • Dried meat sticks (that don’t need to be refrigerated after opening)

Calcium-Rich Foods

  • Powdered milk
  • Cocoa mix
  • Canned evaporated milk
  • Shelf-stable boxes of milk
  • Snack puddings
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Snack packages of cheese and crackers

Other Foods

Although the following have little nutritional value, they may be important to families.

  • Instant coffee
  • Tea bags
  • Bouillon
  • Candy
  • Potato chips
  • Snack-size containers of flavored gelatin
  • Sugar

Perishable Foods

The following perishable foods may be available. They are suitable as long as they will be used promptly.

Vegetable Food Group

  • Fresh carrots
  • Fresh bell peppers
  • Cucumbers

Fruit Food Group

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Other firm, fresh fruit

For More Information

For more information on disaster preparedness and recovery visit the NC Disaster Information Center.

Adapted by NC State Extension specialists from material developed by Washington State University Cooperative Extension’s Food Bank Special Dietary Needs Project.

Publication date: June 4, 2014

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