Emergency food preparedness

Lately the news of bad weather throughout the United States has all of us wondering what we would do if a super storm like the Oklahoma tornadoes affected our area.

Even if you aren’t directly in the path of a tornado or hurricane, there’s a real possibility that these events may cause massive power outages that could affect your home. So what should you do to be prepared to feed your family in the face of disaster? Here are some tips from Michigan State University Extension to get you started on your emergency food plan:

Start by planning three to five simple meals with non-perishable foods that you can store in your pantry or a closet. Think about MyPlate and choose foods from each of these food groups:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Grains
  • Protein
  • Dairy

Include foods that you can purchase ahead of time and store.

  • Vegetables: Any canned vegetable or beans, ready to eat vegetable soups and individual servings of vegetable juice.
  • Fruits: Canned fruits, 100 percent fruit juice boxes and packages of dried fruit.
  • Grains: Whole grain ready-to-eat cereals, whole grain crackers, corn or rice cakes, whole grain based low-fat granola bars.
  • Protein: Canned meats including beef, chicken and tuna, meat and chicken spreads that can be eaten on whole grain crackers, beef jerky, canned beans, peanut butter and nuts.
  • Dairy: Canned fat-free evaporated milk, non-fat powdered milk that can be reconstituted in small amounts with bottled water, shelf stable milks including soy or rice milk beverages. *One note of warning: Once these containers have been opened the milk needs to be consumed immediately or the excess needs to be discarded. Reconstituted milk can only be safely left at room temperature for up to two hours.
  • Water: Plan on storing one to two gallons of bottled water for each person in the household.

Once you’ve started stocking your emergency food supply, consider what equipment might be needed such as can openers and disposable dinner ware such as silverware, paper plates and napkins. Avoid using drinking water for dish washing. Finish your emergency food plan by marking on your calendar twice a year to assure that emergency foods are being replaced and foods close to expiration dates are being rotated into your daily food pantry.

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