Selecting the best foods to store for a hurricane
As we enter the month of July, we are now well into hurricane season. While most of us are already aware of the proactive steps to take when preparing for a hurricane – (such as stocking up on water and shelf-stable foods) – we may not give much thought as to what kinds of foods would be best to store for our families.
Considering Medical Conditions and Other Dietary Needs
When searching for these food items, keep in mind any special dietary needs you and your family members might have. If you have infants in your home, be sure to stock up on baby formula and clean water. If there is anyone who is diabetic, look for foods that are low in sugar (less than 6 grams) and high in fiber (5 grams or more) per serving, and avoid buying a lot of sugar-laden snacks and beverages. Whole grain cereals – like oat bran – would be a good choice. Other items to include would be high protein foods such as nuts, seeds, nut butters, and canned meats like tuna fish and chicken. You may also want to purchase dry or powdered milk, evaporated milk, and fruits packaged in their own juices with no added sugars. Also pick up some glucose tablets in the event that the diabetic’s blood sugar gets too low. Buy enough of these items so that the diabetic can continue to eat meals on a schedule that resembles their normal daily eating patterns as closely as possible.
Other food issues to take into consideration are those for any family members who may be hypertensive. Many shelf-stable foods can be high in sodium so check the labels before making your purchases. Low-sodium foods will contain 140 mg of sodium or less per serving. Some good choices may include low-sodium crackers or dehydrated veggie chips, unsalted nuts and seeds, as well as the items mentioned above. Reading labels on all of your shelf-stable purchases will also help you to see if there are any potential food allergens that may be lurking in the event that someone in your family has a condition, like celiac disease, where they must avoid gluten or other allergens.
Other Foods to Select
Remember that some fresh fruits and vegetables can also last for a couple of days without refrigeration. While these items may not be as useful in the event of a prolonged period without power, they can still serve as a source of nutrition for the first few days. These include apples, oranges, and bananas to name a few. Dried fruits can also be a nutritious source of energy and are shelf-stable. Look for those that do not have added sugar in them.
Keep in mind that during times of disaster survival is the key, so look for high energy, nutritious foods to stock up on and don’t just go for the chips and cookies. Remember to keep a manual can opener on hand, as well as plastic flatware and plates that can be thrown away. Plan to shop for shelf-stable foods and water as soon as a hurricane threat is upon you to prevent waiting until the last minute and then having to scurry across town in search of what’s left.