Hurricane season is here and as my family prepares for the potential threat of Hurricane Irma, I’m reminded of the additional preparation that needs to take place when you’re on a gluten free diet. The National Hurricane Center has comprehensive emergency preparedness resources and lists you can find here, so today I’m going to focus on gluten free hurricane preparedness supplies to stock up on before a storm or any natural disaster.
Following a hurricane, there may be power outages that could last for several days. It’s important to be prepared with enough non-perishable food and water to last at least three days, which is the recommended time frame from The National Hurricane Center. As it relates to water, you want to have one gallon per person in the household per day, so if there are three of you then you’ll need to have at least nine gallons available.
For food, it’s best to have food that does not require refrigeration, water, cooking (unless you have an outdoor grill that you can use after the storm), or special preparation. We also purchased paper plates, cups and plastic utensils so that if there is a boil water ordinance with no access to electricity we won’t have to worry about washing dishes.
Here is a list of foods that we have been stocking up on. As always, make sure to choose your family’s favorites and always read the label to make sure it’s gluten free.
Sample Hurricane Shopping List of Gluten Free Foods:
- Fruit and vegetables that do well without refrigeration, such as apples, avocado, and bananas. If you’re buying bananas, buy some that are ripe and some that are green too so that they’ll ripen over the next few days.
- Ready-to-eat canned meats, beans, soups, fruits, vegetables and a manual can opener.
- Protein, granola or fruit bars
- Dry cereal or granola
- Almond or peanut butter
- Dried fruit
- Canned juice or juice boxes
- Chips, crackers, puffs – try to choose some that have higher protein like chickpea flours or lentils.
- Apple sauce
- Beef jerky
- Sandwich bread
- Infant formula
- Toothpaste (not a food technically, but it can be hard to find gluten free toothpaste in stores so make sure you have enough)
Things you can do in your kitchen before the storm:
- Bake muffins in advance. Muffins are one of those foods that store really well in the freezer, so consider storing some in the freezer and leaving others on the counter in air tight containers. This will give you extra time if you lose power and your frozen foods melt.
- Pre-wash your fruit and vegetables, slice and store them in air tight containers or plastic bags. That way you’ll have easy, worry-free snacking if you have a boil-water ordinance and no electricity.
Managing Food Without Power
If you lose power, remember these tips from the National Hurricane Center:
- Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
- The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened.
- Refrigerated or frozen foods should be kept at 40° F or below for proper food storage.
- Use a refrigerator thermometer to check temperature.
- Refrigerated food should be safe as long as the power was out for no more than 4 hours.
- Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40° F for two hours or more.
Keeping the Kids Entertained
Ok, so this is not exactly about being gluten free during a hurricane but for your sanity and theirs, it’s important to be prepared to keep your kids entertained. Here are the ways we prepare:
- Stock up on art supplies like coloring books, crayons, markers, modeling clay, poster board, or whatever else your kids like to make art with that doesn’t require much clean up.
- Get a new book and board game to add to your collection so that you can take them out when they seem bored.
- Charge cell phone and back up battery, Ipads/laptop or other electronic devices so that if the power goes out you hopefully have hours of entertainment.
- When you stock up on batteries for flashlights, remember to get some for your child’s favorite toys.
- Get the push button lights that are battery powered for night lights.
Do you have more hurricane or emergency preparedness tips? If so, please share them in the comments. Thanks so much!