How to Safely Feed Your Family During a Severe Storm

Emergency supplies ready for use (water, flashlights, etc.)
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What is the first thing most people do when they hear a severe hurricane, snow storm or other adverse weather is going to impact their area? They make a trip to the grocery store.

Before or during a major storm warning you can walk into a grocery store and see entire aisles vacant because of the mad rush of people who buy milk, bread and eggs in preparation for being confined to their houses. However, eggs and milk are not the best food choices during a storm because they are perishable. If there is a power outage and electricity is lost, the milk won’t stay safe for long in the refrigerator and harmful bacteria can grow. There also likely will be no way to cook eggs if the stove won’t turn on. Eating perishable foods held at unsafe temperatures can lead to food borne illnesses for you and your family.

Can MyPlate be Shelf Stable?

During a storm or power outage, shelf-stable foods should be purchased to safely feed you and your family. When choosing non-perishable foods, keep MyPlate in mind to incorporate all food groups into meals if possible. 

Protein items you can buy include canned tuna or chicken, nuts and peanut butter. Grain items to buy include bread, crackers, cereals and granola bars. When choosing fruits and vegetables, canned items and dried fruits are a good option, and some fruits like bananas, apples and oranges can stay edible for weeks. Dairy products that are shelf-stable include non-perishable pasteurized milk. These items are shelf-stable but still high in calories and nutrients to keep your family well nourished. Don’t forget about shelf-stable plant-based beverages including fortified soy milk.

Finally, to avoid running out of fresh water, keep water bottles and/or empty gallon containers on hand that can be filled up at home before the storm hits.

You can never be too prepared, so always keeping these items in your home will help ease the stress of preparing for a storm.

Jessica Martin
Jessica Martin, from Pennsylvania, graduated from West Chester University of Pennsylvania and is a 2017-2018 dietetic intern at Geisinger Health System in Danville, PA.