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Our top 10 picks for your low GI emergency pantry

Queensland floods

The take-home message of the last few months, with the catastrophic earthquake and aftershocks in Christchurch (NZ), the big freeze in Europe, blizzards in the US and disastrous floods in Australia, Brazil and Sri Lanka, is that preparing for an emergency is the smart thing to do. Bush fires, cyclones, tornadoes, tsunamis, floods, earthquakes and blizzards could leave you trapped without electricity or gas. It’s vital to have ready-to-eat food on hand to keep you and your family fighting fit until the disaster has passed. And this is where processed foods shine, enabling you to whip up a variety of healthy, tasty low GI meals in minutes. Opt for low(er) salt/sodium products when there is a choice and check use-by dates. Drain canned foods and rinse if you have clean water. Here are our 10 top pantry picks.

Tip: Because you can’t depend on refrigeration after cans or jars have been opened, buy sizes that you and your family can consume at one sitting.

  1. Canned beans, chickpeas and lentils (GI range 31–52) and bean dishes such as chilli beans, refried beans, lentil and pea and ham soups – OK cold but quickly heated on a camp stove
  2. Canned fish –such as tuna, salmon, sardines, crabmeat, prawns, mackerel, herrings
  3. Canned meats and meat dishes such as chilli beef and beans, ravioli, spaghetti Bolognese and broths (OK cold but quickly heated on a camp stove)
  4. Cans and jars of fruit in natural juice (GI range 42–54); dried fruit such as apple (GI29), apricots (GI31), dates (GI39–45), fruit and nut mix (GI15), fruit straps (Sunripe School Straps GI35–40 ), peach (GI35), pear (GI43), prunes (GI41), sultanas (GI54), tropical fruit and nut mix (GI49)
  5. Cans and jars of vegetables such as artichoke hearts, asparagus, bamboo shoots, beetroot (GI64), cabbage/sauerkraut, capsicum, carrots, corn kernels (GI46–48), mushrooms, peas, tomatoes
  6. Nuts (not salted), seeds and mixes
  7. Dry cereals such as fruit and nut muesli (Morning Sun GI49–55 ), muesli bars (Uncle Toby’s GI 48–54)
  8. Grainy crackers such as Ryvita crispbreads (GI46-48), oatmeal biscuits (GI55) and shelf stable flat breads such as white corn tortillas and reduced-carb wraps (Diego’s and Woolworths brands GI51–53)
  9. Powdered milk, small containers UHT milk, Milo powder (GI36–39 mixed with milk)
  10. And if you have a heating source such as a camp stove or gas bottle barbecue, you can expand your options to include foods that don’t need much water to cook such as instant noodles (GI52) and ready to eat basmati brown rice

What to drink? Bottled water, single-serving-sized juice that doesn’t need to be refrigerated, diet soft drinks. There are some good tips on drinking water for campers, which also applies in emergency situations HERE.

For more information, go to or Google ‘emergency pantry’.