What to Know When Buying “Just Add Water” Meals

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We used to consider storing Just-add-Water meals to be “cheating”. However, over the years we have come to realize that there is a time and place for this type of food storage. If you go through a short term disaster or need to grab some food and go, having a bucket or two of this kind of food will be invaluable to you. We learned this in our 7 Day Challenges over the years. Also, for people who will not rotate traditional food storage (for whatever reason), or do not know how (or want) to cook with traditional foods, these type of meals can be a great option.

If you choose to store “Just Add Water” meals there are several things to consider as you determine what you need to store.

  • First, decide how many servings your family will need to store. The servings are typically 200-300 calories so we would recommend planning for 2 servings per meal per adult and one per child.
  • Second, decide if you want to supplement with other foods. Throwing in some meat or having some fruits and vegetables to add can make your food storage a lot more well-rounded (view our previous post for more on those items).
  • Third, plan for the appropriate fuel and water. If your whole storage plan revolves around adding water to your food, you better have a good water storage plan in place! You also will need to be able to boil the water or heat the meals so you need to plan a cooking source that will work for that. Check out our Emergency Fuel Series and our Water Storage Series for more on these two topics.

Where to Buy “Just Add Water” Meals

Here are a few of the companies that we have had experience with and offer good selections at good prices. (View the “Did you know” section below to see why the prices may vary)

Meals in Pouches

MOUNTAIN HOUSE (available at Emergency Essentials)
Packages sizes vary from 1-person to 4-person. Wide variety of meal options. Add boiling water to the pouch and let stand 5-10 minutes. Most meals contain real meat.

Two 10-ounce servings per pouch. Just add hot water to the pouch and wait 12 minutes. 6 different flavors to choose from. These meals do not contain meat.

Meals in Mylar Bags Inside Buckets or Boxes

19 different meals in each bucket. Packages based on 2000 calorie per day diets. Most meals must be cooked for several minutes. (Also available as “Entree Only” meal buckets)

3-4 servings per pouch. These meals contain real meat. Available in a 12 item variety pack or in 5-packs of single varieties. Meals must be cooked for several minutes.


Meals in #10 Cans

MOUNTAIN HOUSE (available at Emergency Essentials)
Lots and lots of varieties to choose from. Purchase in individual #10 cans to see what you like, then buy more later. Shipping capped at $12 per order.

Augason Farms has their own entree line that comes in individual #10 cans or bundled into kits. There are a lot of options with them as well. Shipping is capped at $14.99.

Did You Know?

  • Whether or not the meals contain real freeze-dried meat can make a huge difference. Some companies include TVP rather than meat, but most often they just use meat flavorings rather than any meat or meat substitute.
  • A “1-year supply” can mean different things between different companies. If they are going by servings versus calories it can appear to be a lot cheaper when really you are getting less servings for that year.
  • Products that don’t need to be cooked tend to be more expensive than ones that need to be cooked. This is because of the processing required to cook them and then dehydrate them for storage versus storing dried uncooked foods. Meals may be cheaper but you’ll have to store more fuel to cook them. It’s a balance you’ll need to consider.

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