When we know a hurricane is a strong possibility it is important to have a plan to feed yourself and your family for a few days. Aim for 3 meals and 2-3 snacks daily for each person in your household. Most importantly make sure you have enough clean drinking water to last everyone in the household for a few days. Approximately 1 gallon per person, per day is a sensible target.
If you have a special dietary need, rely on nutritional supplements or require tube feeds (or medications) then make sure you are stocked up with sufficient amounts of these to see you through at least 2 weeks in case of supply disruptions. This is equally important if someone suffers from food allergies and intolerances and infants who require formula feed (don’t forget the bottled water, or buy some pre-made formula if you can afford it).
In the weeks heading up to peak hurricane season, try to use up some of the more perishable foods in your freezer so that they are not wasted if the power does go out for a prolonged period.
Healthy food choices to keep in cupboards for hurricanes and other natural disasters include canned tuna, chicken or salmon (in water), nut butters, canned beans (in water), Granola bars, air popped popcorn, wholewheat crackers, dry cereals e.g. shredded wheat, Weetabix, and cous cous. Freeze a carton or 2 of your milk of choice and this will be good to use as it defrosts if the power goes out.
Certain fresh fruits and vegetables will keep outside of the fridge for a few days such as apples, pears, oranges, bananas, carrots, celery, cauliflower and brussel sprouts. Canned fruit in juice or canned veggies in water are also good choices but choose small/single serving containers so the leftovers don’t spoil.
If you have access to a BBQ/grill then you can buy some foods that are grillable such as chicken sausages, meats, fish, corn, potatoes, zucchini, peppers and mushrooms. Remember do not attempt to use your grill inside of the house!
Make sure you have the cooking and eating supplies to manage without power (and running water) for a few days such as a manual can opener, aluminum foil, matches, paper towels, paper/bamboo plates and cutlery and hand sanitizer.
Food safety: If the power goes out, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. Plan to put items you may need in a well-chilled ice chest so that you do not need to open the refrigerator door. A refrigerator will keep food cold for up to 4 hours, if it is unopened. A full freezer will keep the temperature for up to 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed. You will need to discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40°F for two hours or more.
If you are concerned about your or your child’s nutritional health and feel you would benefit from support from a Registered Dietitian please contact us at Island Nutrition on 295-4082
or at email@example.com.