Guidelines for Assembling No Cook Food Bags
No Cook Food Bags
Who might need a no cook food bag? In urban areas, it might be individuals who are living in cars, shelters, hotels, or on the streets. In rural areas, recipients might be living in tents, cars, barracks in migrant camps, or in a cabin or trailer without a stove. Wherever these people are, if they are without a stove and refrigerator and do not have space to store food, they probably need a no cook food bag.
Considerations for Choosing Foods
General considerations when choosing appropriate foods for a no cook food bag are:
Because some people will not have can opener or clean water, provide can openers and bottled water for emergencies.
Food Safety for No Cook Food Bags
If the label says "refrigerate after opening," the food is not a good choice for a no cook food bag. For example, pasteurized-processed American cheese and jars of Cheese Whiz do not require refrigeration until opened, but it is unlikely someone could eat the whole package or jar in one sitting. Many preserved meats, such as salami, fall into this category too. Read labels carefully!
Some dairy products, like yogurt and hard cheese, will keep without refrigeration for 1-2 days, depending on the storage temperature. However, only distribute small quantities that you know will be eaten within two days.
Shelf-stable microwave meals can be safely stored without refrigeration so they are suitable for no cook food bags. However, make sure the recipient has access to a microwave oven. Include canned foods. Canned food is less likely to be crushed or punctured. Also, the labels on cans can removed so that the can may be heated on a stove or over a fire as a cooking pot.
Ideas for No Cook Food Bags
Here is a list of foods to consider when you are putting together a no cook food bag. Pick and choose depending on what is available at the food bank. All items listed will keep indefinitely without refrigeration. Some items require hot water for reconstitution.
Bread, Cereal, Rice and Pasta Food Group
Meat, Poultry, Dry Beans and Nuts Food Group
SOURCE: Adapted by Angela Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Education Specialist, Clemson University from guidelines developed by: