*Every Friday is all about food on Red Cross Talks – everything from Red Cross inspired recipes to emergency food tips and solutions

This time of year is a chocolate lover's dream with store shelves overflowing with chocolate of all types, shapes and sizes.

If you are picking up some chocolate this week for an upcoming family gathering, you should also consider buying a little extra to add to your emergency preparedness kit.

Here are some reasons why:

  1. It’s a high energy food: there are many reasons why chocolate is included in food rations for military personnel, polar explorers and other adventurers. It contains the three essential components of food – protein, carbohydrates and fat – as well as some vitamins and minerals. It also is energy dense, which means it is high in calories for a small portion size. So, a little can keep you going for a long time.
  2. It’s easily transportable: chocolate is lightweight and easy to eat on-the-go, so it won’t weigh your kit or you down.
  3. It’s a mood booster: how many times have you reached for a chocolate bar when you are having a bad day? (Be honest.) Now imagine being in an aftermath of a disaster. You would probably appreciate that chocolate bar even more. Emergency situations can be quite stressful, and having comfort foods in your kit – such as chocolate – can help reduce stress.

What sort of chocolate to buy? Unsweetened or semi-sweet chocolate have the longest shelf-life. Chocolate syrup (unopened) and cocoa powder can also last a long time in your kit. Remember to check all the food items in your kit twice-a-year and replace if necessary.

Red Cross recommends that families have enough items on-hand to be self-sufficient for 72-hours in the event of a disaster. You can find tips at www.redcross.ca/ready.