by Heather A. Goesch, MPH, RDN, LDN
Building an Emergency Nutrition Kit
In addition to a family emergency plan and stocking flashlights, medical supplies, a hand-crank radio and extra batteries, remember nutritional needs for the members of your family, including pets.
Include the following in your basic emergency nutrition kit:
· At least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food per person and pet
o Food for infants
o Fresh fruits and vegetables that do not require refrigeration, such as apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, stone fruits and tomatoes
o Dried fruit (preferably low-sugar or no-sugar-added to prevent excess thirst)
o Nuts and seeds, and/or nut and seed butters that do not require refrigeration
o Protein bars or fruit and nut/seed bars
o Ready-to-eat low-sugar granola or low-sugar dry cereals
o Whole grain crackers, pitas, tortillas, breads or rice cakes
o Ready-to-eat canned vegetables (low-sodium or no-salt-added if possible, to avoid excess thirst), fruit (packed in water or fruit juice), beans, lentils, meats and seafood
– Never eat foods from cans that are swollen, dented or corroded.
– Don’t forget to have a manual can opener handy!
· At least 1 gallon of water per person and pet per day for a minimum of 3 days or both drinking and sanitation (i.e., washing hands, dishes, brushing teeth, etc.)
o If you need to prepare infant formula, use bottled water. Water that has been boiled and cooled to the correct temperature should be used only if necessary.
o Additional beverage options could include: instant coffee, tea and cocoa; packets of sugar-free flavoring; powdered milk; pre-made protein or meal-replacement drinks that do not require refrigeration; or drinks with added electrolytes
Other emergency nutrition preparedness considerations:
· Choose foods you and your family like and will want to eat.
· Avoid foods that cause excess thirst (as indicated above).
· Keep special dietary needs for both human and pet members of your family in mind.
· Consider storing items in airtight plastic bags or containers that are then placed in a portable plastic bin or waterproof bag for extra protection.
· If evacuation may be an option, depending on the type of storms in your area, consider preparing a second portable kit to keep in your car or near the exit to grab on short notice.
· If bunkering down at home, fill your bathtub with extra water for cleaning or flushing toilets should access to water be lost or become unsafe.
· If you lose power before, during or after a storm, these steps can help save money and keep your family and your foods safe.
Food Safety in the Home After a Hurricane and Flooding, Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics
How to Safely Feed Your Family During a Severe Storm, Food & Nutrition’s Student Scoop blog
18 Crucial Foods and Health Supplies You Need Before a Big Storm, Health Magazine
Best Foods to Stockpile for an Emergency, Real Simple Magazine
1. Laseter, E. Hurricane Preparedness: Healthy Eating Tips to Ride out the Storm: https://www.cookinglight.com/cooking-101/healthy-hurricane-food-tips. Cooking Light Magazine. Published 8 September 2017. Accessed 22 July 2018