What’s for dinner during a blackout
Of course we all hope it will never happen, but if you find yourself without power for any length of time, you might have to dip into your emergency preparedness kit to make healthy meals for your family after you’ve exhausted your supply of pantry items. Make sure that your kit contains a variety of nutritious, shelf-stable foods, because in an emergency you want to eat the best food possible to give you the energy you may need during a crisis.
Real Simple suggests you should consider adding the following items to your kit:
- Peanut butter
- Whole wheat crackers (which are a great substitute for bread in a pinch)
- Dried fruits
- Nuts and trail mixes purchased in vacuum-sealed containers to preserve freshness
- Granola bars and power bars
- Multigrain cereal
- Canned tuna, salmon, chicken or turkey
- Canned fruit and vegetables
- Canned beans (including premade canned bean salad is a great idea)
- Canned soup (not condensed)
- Canned chili
- A three-day supply of bottled water (one gallon per person per day)
- Sports drinks like Gatorade or PowerAde
- Powdered milk
- Sugar, salt and pepper in case you have a heat source and will be cooking
- Multivitamins to make up for the nutrients you’ll lose while eating from your preparedness kit
Check the best before dates on your preparedness kit items every 6 months and replace items as necessary, and don’t forget to make sure your kit contains a manual can opener so you can actually access all that great, healthy food you’ve stored away.
Obviously meals made from the preparedness kit are going to be basic and most likely cold, but it doesn’t mean they have to be unpleasant. You know what your family likes to eat, so customize your kit based on their favorites. You might even add things like small, unopened jars of jam, mayonnaise and salad dressing to liven up your meals. Without refrigeration these would have to be eaten right away or tossed, but it might make that tuna on crackers extra special and more palatable to picky eaters. Instant coffee or tea bags are another luxury item you might want to include if you have a way to boil water during a power outage.
About Food has some surprisingly tasty and inventive “disaster meals” that only use items commonly found in preparedness kits or pantries. Most of the meals don’t require cooking, but since some people may have heat source, there are a few recipes that can be cooked.
It’s a good idea to do a little preparation in advance and actually base your kit contents on meals you’ve planned beforehand. Print out the recipes and tuck them into the kit so you don’t have to do any extra thinking if the lights go out.
For more great information on food storage and nutritional needs during an emergency, visit The National Terror Alert.