When hurricane Matthew was approaching last year, were you part of the craziness that erupted when it seemed like everyone in town was stocking up on supplies? I remember going to the grocery store and seeing shopping carts stuffed full of bags of chips, boxes of crackers and cereals and all sorts of packaged and canned foods. These quick grab, instant foods are great during power outages associated with hurricanes.
I did my share of stocking up as well, but I was in pursuit of wholesome, fresh foods that haven’t been processed. My shopping list for healthy eating included fresh fruits, vegetables, tubers, winter squashes, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. Here are some tips on how to continue to make healthy food choices, even during hurricane preparation.
Here are some tips for stocking your kitchen and planning your meals:
1. Get a little camping stove that runs on propane gas. I recommend also having some basic kitchen items available such as a cutting board, knife, veggie peeler, 2 pots with lids and an ample supply of clean drinking water for consumption and cooking.
2. Select dry grains and beans that can easily be boiled and turned into a soup or main dish that is high in fiber, protein and unprocessed, complex carbohydrates.
3. Stock up on items such as nuts and seeds that are nutritious and don’t need any refrigeration.
4. Select produce in varying degrees of ripeness, and then let it ripen at room temperature. When selecting your fresh fruits and veggies, keep in mind that some things will only last a short time at room temperature, and other things may not be quite ripe when you buy them. For example, when selecting bananas, choose some that are green, some that are almost ripe, and some that are ready to eat. That way, you will have fresh fruit available over the course of several days as the bananas ripen, even if the power does go out. I suggest the same for tomatoes, avocados and other produce items.
Healthy Hurricane Shopping List:
Potatoes, sweet potatoes and winter squash
These can be peeled, sliced and boiled. These can stay fresh at room temperature, provide a nice starchy meal or side dish and are quite filling. The cooking water from these items tastes delicious and can be consumed as a nutritious broth. For a sweet treat, try boiling a sweet potato, then strain the cooking water, add a dash of cinnamon and use it as a tea. The sweet potato can be mashed and garnished with cinnamon and dried coconut flakes.
Garlic and onions
In addition to making great seasonings to spruce up a bland power outage meal, these also stay fresh at room temperature for a long time and have antibacterial properties.
It is best to buy these in several stages of ripeness, so they don’t all ripen at once and can be eaten continuously over the course of a week. These can be mashed and eaten as a guacamole style dip made with other items from your hurricane shopping list.
Hurricane Guacamole Recipe
1 avocado, mashed
Juice of 1 lime
Pinch of salt
1 small tomato, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 slice of onion, chopped
Mix all ingredients in a bowl, break out your hurricane crackers and chips and enjoy!
All varieties of apples have a great shelf life without refrigeration. These make a satisfying snack by themselves and are quite tasty when combined with almond butter.
Bananas, pears, nectarines, peaches and mangoes
It is best to buy these in several stages of ripeness, so they can be enjoyed over the course of several days.
Oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes and melons
These store well at room temperature until they are opened, so they should be consumed within one sitting if the power is out and you can’t refrigerate them.
Some tomatoes can be purchased green and will ripen over time on your countertop. Tomatoes actually lose their flavor when they are refrigerated, so I recommend keeping them at room temperature until they are ready to be eaten anyway, regardless of the time of year.
Whole coconuts, nuts, seeds, nut butters and dried coconut flakes
All nuts and seeds are excellent sources of protein and healthy fats. Whole brown or green coconuts can stay at room temperature for several weeks. Learning how to select and open them is a whole other story, though. Definitely try to familiarize yourself with selecting, opening and eating coconuts before your next mad dash to the store during hurricane preparation. If you are successful, and manage to find some fresh ones, the coconut water and coconut meat can be refreshing and very satisfying. Other nuts, seeds and nut butters make great snack foods.
Beans and whole grains
These are great sources of protein, and they are simple to prepare with boiling water on a camping stove. Beans and whole grains are by far the least expensive and most filling foods to have on hand during a power outage.
We are all wishing for an uneventful hurricane season this year. I hope you are inspired to eat fresh foods that nourish your body and keep you and your family healthy, regardless of what this hurricane season brings!
If you’d like more health tips, check out my book, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Healthy You.
This article was written by Samadhi Artemisa, A.P. and was originally published in
“A Better You” of the Orlando Sentinel newspaper June 18, 2017 and is reprinted with permission.
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