When you are feeling a cold coming on or are just having one of those days, do you find yourself longing for a certain food? For many of us, it is a familiar dish from our childhood — maybe a homemade soup or a casserole. For others, it could be a grilled cheese sandwich, a warm brownie or a hot biscuit.
By definition, comfort foods are foods prepared in a traditional way that remind you of somewhere you feel safe, and, well, comfortable. If you have a survival pantry or are planning to start one, yes, you need to focus on storing rice, beans, powdered milk, wheat, oatmeal and other bulk foods. And, yes, you need to have a garden for your fresh fruits and vegetables. However, as you plan those basics, don’t forget the comfort foods.
In the midst of a disruptive natural or made-made disaster, you and your family will experience a high level of stress. You will be able to bring some much-needed smiles to the table if you have some favorite foods stored amidst all the other staples.
A study published in the journal of Psychological Science in 2011 showed that consuming foods that are associated with good memories improves our sense of well-being and can decrease loneliness.
At a 2012 meeting of the American Chemical Society, researcher Karina Martinez-Mayorga, Ph.D., presented her research on the effect of certain food flavors on mood. She reported that molecules in chocolate, a variety of dark berries and foods containing omega-3 fatty acids positively affect mood. Interestingly, these chemical components are structurally similar to Valproic acid, the primary ingredient in several pharmaceutical mood stabilizers, such as Depakene and Depakote.
Most comfort foods have less to do with health and nutrition than they have to do with feeling good. Certainly, you want to concentrate as much as you can on natural foods, preferably fresh, organic foods, for your family. Comfort foods will serve as a break from your regular diet, with their aim of bringing a sense of normalcy during a highly stressful time.
What comfort foods will fit your long-term storage needs? Well, every family has their different favorites, but here is our list of 10 comfort foods you should consider for your survival pantry. Please note that many of these choices have a shelf life of only about a year or two, so rotation is important.
1. Macaroni and Cheese. Maybe you can’t do without your fix of Kraft Mac and Cheese, but you can also consider Annie’s organic products. Unfortunately, the Annie’s shelf life is not quite as long as the good ol’ blue box kind.
2. Popcorn. When stored properly, popcorn can last indefinitely. Plus, it’s whole grain, low in fat, and high in fiber.