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.

 

RESOURCES

Food and Water in an Emergency, FEMA

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

 

 

REFERENCES

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

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